Why a change in activity can help restore your mind

Colin Chambersbalance, mind, shorts, steps Leave a Comment

How often do you feel exhausted and lack energy despite having spent a long time sat down not really doing anything physical?

I bet it is quite often as it happens to us all.

How often do you wish you were able to get your energy back?

For years I was looking for the answer to this question and as is so often the answer turns out to be nicely encapsulated this nice old quote

“A change is as good as a rest”


In this short article I want to share with you why changing what you do can restore your mind and give you back energy that you thought you had lost.

The story begins on day 1 of our holiday in Weymouth back in 2015. I felt exhausted after spending the morning packing and driving for 3 hours, so when we arrived in Weymouth I did not feel I had the energy to go and explore. I just wanted to relax because for the last few days I had been focused on preparing for the holiday and finishing up tasks at work.

So I just wanted to relax.

What I did was to get up and take my little one on a little adventure to explore our new home and as a result we found our first beach right outside the camp and I now had a place to just sit and recover in a place that signified the holiday had started.

It is always surprising how quickly your energy can come back but it so often does just by doing something different and changing what your mind is focusing on. This simple action changed how I felt and gave me a reason to just relax. Within 5 minutes I could feel the holiday spirit coming on and half an hour later I was revving again.

How does it work?

I am sure you are wondering why could such a simple activity as going for a walk restore your energy? So let me explain.

Relaxation time allows your mind to adjust its efforts. For the morning much of the blood will have been required in various parts of my brain that are used during the commute to focus on the road and plan the journey and so on because those parts of the brain are the most active they will require the most blood and will not get a rest. When the requirements change the parts of the brain in use will change allowing the tired parts of the brain to rest and recover their balance while other parts take on the load.

Those areas that were in use will have become tired due to prolonged activity and are likely to be depleted of nutrients along with a high level of waste products. So the areas of my brain that I have been using in the morning for packing and driving will be tired and now they can spend some time recovering and replenishing their stores.

On the other hand, other areas of the brain which were underused and well-recovered have now become the centre of attention and use. So they are increasing the rate of energy and nutrient use and beginning to accumulate waste products while being supported by increased blood and energy supply. That means the areas involved with keeping an eye on the little one and learning our new environment will now be getting used.

This connection with how the brain is used and its potential for recovery from use is something I discovered after many years. Unfortunately, this pattern of use in the brain is not common knowledge and not openly taught so I simply stumbled across the explanation in a study I reviewed. This explanation connected with me and it changed the way I thought about how I use and support my brain and my mind and I set about putting the newfound knowledge to use.

Once I gained practical experience in applying this knowledge to my daily life I have learnt repeatedly that finding activities to restore my brain so that my mind can recover are as beneficial, if not more so, than finding activities that restore my body. With this discovery, I learnt the truth behind the common saying that “a change is as good as a rest”

If you liked this summary and want to learn more then visit Day 1 of our holiday in Weymouth to read the full details

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