Hit the Reset Button in Your Brain

Hit the Reset Button in Your Brain
The New York Times
By Daniel J. Levitin, Aug 9, 2014

This article describes the brain’s attentional system, breaking it down into 2 parts; the focused mode (which he calls the “central executive”) and “daydreaming mode.” The attentional filter is a third component determines when we need to be using the central executive or when it is safe to ignore what’s going on around us and daydream.

They indicate summer vacations, and taking breaks in general, are an important way to hit the reset button on the brain and allow the daydreaming system to take over. The daydreaming system is important because:
“This brain state, marked by the flow of connections among disparate ideas and thoughts, is responsible for our moments of greatest creativity and insight, when we’re able to solve problems that previously seemed unsolvable. You might be going for a walk or grocery shopping or doing something that doesn’t require sustained attention and suddenly — boom — the answer to a problem that had been vexing you suddenly appears.”

They go on to say that multitasking fatigues the attentional filter. While not an article about ADHD, the recommendations echo those given for adults with ADHD to help cope with distractibility. In particular, focus on a single task for relatively short block of time instead of jumping from email, to Facebook, to a report, to whatever. The author recommends 30-50 minutes, but people with ADHD may find shorter periods more effective. The harder the task is to start or focus on, the shorter the block.

To read the full article, use the following link:
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/10/opinion/sunday/hit-the-reset-button-in-your-brain.html

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