We are constantly bombarded by information!

Fast technology and the advances in global connectedness have required us to use our thinking processes differently than ever before. We are now more apt to use our imagination, rather than being tied to conventional assumptions or just using repetitive logic when we make decisions. We are more tolerant to failure and more “ok” with experimenting and trying new things. It’s almost like we have developed this strong need for more information and change.

We actually LIKE change now. Or so it seems.

I remember the best work I did while working for a Fortune 500 company years ago. It was when I was on an airplane flying. Even now I remember how much clarity I had, new ideas and creativity. Back then, I thought it must have just been because the air was thin. But now I think neurobiology has provided the answer. Who knew?

When our minds are “at rest,” our brain is not actively directing analytical processes. We have a peace. We have space to use more of, and different parts of our brain. So while flying, I had nothing else to do but let my mind be at rest and focus on only a few things. No phones ringing, texts, or emails. No one dictating what I needed to do or what meeting was next. No kids, house, etc. The clock stopped so to speak. I could just think.

Leonard Mlodinow, a theoretical physicist, says that “Elastic Thinking” lets us not only solve regular problems but overcome barriers that keep us from looking past our conventional capacities.” “Quiet brains are not idle,” and when we have mental peace, our unconscious is flourishing with activity. Computers use analytical, top to bottom approaches. The brain does too, but in addition, uses “bottom-up” processes. This is nonlinear processing and produces more imaginative and far-reaching assumptions.

When our mind is free to be on automatic, we create more ideas

So what does this mean for our relationships? Good question.

When we slow down our interactions and responses, a quiet brain means we:

  • Think less analytically and are more interested and curious. (Movie Theater Attitude)
  • Respond with more creativity and depth of thought.
  • Consider and communicate more intentionally, less defensively.
  • Understand at a more meaningful level.
  • Connect in more intimate ways.
  • Feel more refreshed and have more freedom from stress.

A badge of honor today is often how much we are doing; our busy-ness! But it is obvious our brains think in creative and imaginative ways when they are at peace, or when they are able to be idle. Our lives and relationships could use some downtime! It might mean we are more energetic and spontaneous. It may mean we enjoy some fun and new things together. Try giving it a rest.