Your brain is a slick organ. It’s a master of doing things on the low. In the video below, I’m sharing a short story on how my brain worked out a problem, without bothering to clue me in on it until the end.
Why your brain does things without you
Despite how much we’d love to believe that we’re the masters of our own selves, sometimes we’re not. Sometimes, our brains are just so fed up with how we’re rationing our focus and energy that it just waits until we go to sleep and takes things into its own metaphorical hands.
This isn’t the most optimal and stress-free way to live, especially if you spend a week or more searching for a checkbook (or credit card, keys, your spouse, and so on).
Fun story: I’d been frantically searching for my once-in-a-blue-moon-used checkbook since I lost it during a trip to Atlanta the weekend previous. When I came home, I went to pay the cat sitter, and I couldn’t find it anywhere.
We tore this apartment apart, then the car, then my desk drawers at work — even though I hadn’t been to work since using it. We even had my mom searching her house in Atlanta.
I was thisclose to canceling the checks, but I am cheap and didn’t want to pay the $50, so I decided to give it a few more days.
My self-imposed time limit was nearly up when I dreamed that I opened my purse, pulled out my wallet, and slid my checkbook from within. I woke up, groggily called for Fiancé, who was making breakfast smoothies, to bring me my purse, and then repeated that request twice more because who wakes up and immediately demands their purse?
I understood his confusion.
When I finally had the purse in hand, I opened it up, pulled out my wallet, and… therein lay my checkbook. Y’all, this made my day.
I’m not prophetic. At least I hope not, given some of the dinosaur-related nightmares I’ve had, but sometimes our brains just do magnificent things like that. Why? So glad you asked.
— Holly O. 🎃 (@GirlAlchemy) October 20, 2016
How to get your brain to stop stealing your focus, ffs
So you’d like to stop ignoring your brain and have it, in turn, clue you in occasionally. I don’t blame you. It’s a good thing to do. Here are some quick tips to do just that:
1. | Clear your mind.
One of the best ways to do this is meditation.
You don’t have to get all intense with it; just take a few minutes every day to turn off your phone, the tv, the computer, and all the other things you use your mental energy on, and breathe. Don’t think about anything, but if thoughts come, let them come.
Don’t think you can meditate?
You can, and if you think you can’t, then you’re the person who needs it the most. Meditation is an excellent way to train your brain to work with you when you need it to (always), not wait until you’re not paying attention.
You know who meditates? Oprah, Arianna Huffington, Kobe Bryant, and about a thousand other super successful people.
2. | Buy yourself some energy.
If you’re exhausted, your mind’s ability to process information is going to reflect that.
Your brain, in turn, is not going to further exhaust you by clueing you in on all the important tasks it’s working on. If you want to be part of the conversation with your pragmatic brain, then you need to be well-rested.
I’m a convert to the world of naps, and I recommend that everyone (yes, even you) take one every day.
Other ways to buy yourself some extra energy are to go outside, especially in the sunshine, drink some cold water, and walk around.
All of these will perk you up a little bit. Of course, you should strive to sleep as well as you can every night, too.
3. | Remove distractions.
Minimalism has become an aesthetic trend, but it’s more than that, and I don’t want you to brush it off because “It looks sterile,” or “It’s not me,” or “It’s too hard.”
When you have too much clutter, you can’t concentrate on what’s in front of you. This goes for digital clutter, too. Remove distractions, and you’ll be able to better coax your brain into talking to you.
If you need some help, you’re in luck! The 7 Day Refresh is a free email course to help you start knocking out some of the crap that’s stealing your focus.
Click the banner to get started (psst, still free)!
Have you got a time that your brain solved a problem without your help? Or one where it caused a stupid problem? Tell me about it!