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Mental rest

I once had a teacher who gave me a great metaphor to explain why mental rest is important. 

Imagine taking your car to the petrol station to fill it up.  Oblivious to the consequences you continue beyond your tank’s capacity.  The fuel keeps pouring out of the nozzle but with nowhere safe to go.  You then become aware of the pool of liquid around your car. Standing in it you are shocked to realise how hazardous a situation you’re in.  It would only take one spark to send you and the whole place up in flames. 

Now no sane person would do that at a petrol station.  And it would be very difficult because petrol pumps are fitted with automatic switch off mechanisms to prevent useres from overfilling their tanks.

However, I regularly see people behaving like this where their minds are concerned.  How much information do we keep on pouring in, trying to capture the last detail of what we think is important?  Apart from the every day rag-bag of worries, tasks that need to be done at work, snippets of conversations that bother us, we also fill our minds with countless distractions to help us forget the situations we find painful. 

What if we were to reduce our mental input a little?  We might appreciate what we already have, such as relationships, possessions and experiences that have helped us grow.  Building in a mental break, perhaps we’d find it easier to focus on what has meaning for us and brings us joy. Then would this constant search for the next big thing ease up?

There is an ad on television at the moment that would have me buy a bottle of face cream that comes with a 15% dose of oxygen. It seems I'm so distracted that I don't even breathe properly anymore. What if I just stopped and filled my lungs with free and simple air? By giving myself a mental break perhaps I could learn to enjoy what I already have.

If you want a proper mental break, then perhaps when you go on holiday you can for once leave the mobile phone or Blackberry behind. 

More importantly, kick out all unnecessary distractions for at least one day a month and allow your mind a rest.  Then see what you’re capable of achieving after that.  It could be the most creative tool you’ve adopted in your life. 

The Healthy in Mind viewpoint: build in rest time for your mind, as well as your body, and reap the rewards. 


Article Date: Fri, 17 Aug 2007


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