Semi-Rad: Experience the Joy of Not Bringing the Noise
Our lives are infiltrated by noise and distractions.
We let ourselves get distracted by phone rings, notifications, email, etc., which take up most of our day.
Even when there is no distraction, the phone silently sitting next to you is a psychological distraction in itself, as you know that it can disturb you any second.
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This is important for your daily productivity. Good breaks can leave us feeling refreshed and energized. It can reduce mental fatigue, boost brain function and keep us on-task for extended periods.
The wrong sort of breaks might make us more vulnerable to boredom and make us want to take breaks more often. It can leave us depleted and drained.
The prefrontal cortex of the brain is mainly responsible for goal management. It orchestrates attention, working memory and other cognitive resources to help us get what we want.
For a challenging task, briefly taking our minds off the goal can renew and strengthen motivation. Doing activities that rely on different brain regions is best to restore focus.
Exposure to nature restores the mind. One study showed better working memory scores for people after a walk in a natural environment, but not in an urban setting.
If you are unable to go into nature, find plants, fresh air or a fish tank. Sit down, take a deep breath, and notice the details of nature. Research shows that even looking at some pictures of nature can work.
Fun is the experience of developing mastery. When we acquire new skills and recognize valuable patterns, our brains reward us with a shot of pleasurable sensations.
Games are optimal learning environments:
Boredom is what we feel when our brain decides that there's nothing worth learning. It's the brain searching for new information.
And even games become boring at some point because they eventually run out of things to teach you. That's when you stop playing.
If people's physical lives were anywhere near as cluttered as their digital lives, their kitchen sinks would be full of dishes, their closets would be jammed, and their houses would be in chaos.
But our digital lives are limited to our devices, so we don't notice how messy they are. Our news feeds are filled with updates we don't care about. We're subscribed to 100 podcasts but listen to only a few.
We can reclaim our time and our attention. Unlike a physical space, we can wipe the slate clean in our digital environment.
If you clear apps from your phone, nothing will happen. You can always reinstall the ones you use.