We’ve probably all been there – you see an actor in a film and just can’t remember his or name, and realising you’re missing the film while trying to think of it you just give up and get back to watching. Then later – hours, even days, afterwards - the answer pops into your head? Usually whilst doing a routine task such as having a shower or driving a familiar route.
It’s a good example of how our subconscious mind carries on working away at a problem, even when we’ve stopped thinking consciously about the subject. It’s as if, once asked a question, the processing part of the mind continues with it until it comes up with the answer. This is a really useful thing to be aware of. Often, when we have a problem to solve, we keep on thinking about it consciously. We might even think that if we take a break from thinking about it we’re slacking off in some way, being lazy or giving up. Yet it’s in the break from conscious thinking about a problem that the subconscious processing can occur – and the answer can be found.
There have been studies that show that, especially if a problem is complex, those who take a break before giving an answer come up with better answers than those who keep working away at it for the same length of time. Giving the time for your subconscious to join all the information together is a really important part of the problem-solving process. The same is the case for coming up with creative ideas too.
Taking a break is important for many reasons – including managing stress levels, preventing mental fatigue and for preventing muscle problems. Now you can take your breaks knowing that you’re actually more likely to come up with that answer or idea you were wracking your brain for – and that can’t be bad!
If you want help with changing the way you think, feel or behave so that you can become a clearer thinker whilst reducing your stress levels then contact me to discuss how I can help. I work face-to-face and via Skype, so we can work together wherever you are in the world.