After years in the consistently stressful discipline of PR, I’ve learned that downtime helps maintain sanity, pure and simple. That’s certainly not a profound or new thought, but one that’s especially important to me in my life.
I’m sure the same could be said for other professions or other life scenarios. But taking time to unwind does more than maintain sanity. In a career that demands fresh ideas every single day, I’m convinced that taking time to quiet the mind brings out the best in our mental capabilities.
Have you ever had trouble remembering something – like a name? And it’s right there on the tip of your tongue. You could almost reach out and touch it. But the more you think about the answer, the more it eludes you and hides into the deep crevices of your memory. And then it happens; when you’re doing something else and not thinking about the name at all, it comes to you.
This reminds me of one of my favorite episodes of The Big Bang Theory – The Einstein Approximation. Sheldon is hitting a mental roadblock on a physics problem he’s working on. Inspired by the fact that Einstein did a great deal of his best thinking during his stint as a patent office clerk, Sheldon seeks to find a menial job to get his brain in gear.
During a volunteer (and self-described mundane) shift at The Cheesecake Factory as a busboy and waiter, Sheldon says, “Just a moment ago, I had a minor epiphany regarding polymer degradation phenomenon while scraping congealed nachos off a plate.”
Sure, Sheldon uncluttered his mind by working in a restaurant. I quiet my mind other ways. I walk on the greenbelt in my neighborhood. I get a much-needed massage every now and then. I have a cup of coffee before anyone else in my family gets out of bed. Every single time I do something like this, clarity follows. Sometimes, it’s an epiphany. Sometimes, it’s just the whisper of a good idea.
What do you do to quiet your mind?