You know that feeling when you’ve been staring at your computer screen for too long? Everything starts to blur and you can’t concentrate anymore.
This happens to everyone – students, professionals, and even that fitness freak neighbor who is on their fourth green juice of the day.
Breaks: A Tale As Old As Time
People have tried many things to help break this fog. A two-week holiday, a good night’s sleep, a walk in the park, a cup of coffee, or even staring at a video of bamboo forests swaying in the wind.
But what if you don’t have a park nearby, or a river to stroll along, or even bamboo forests to watch? You still need that break!
Enter: The 5-minute Wonder
Associate Professor Paul Ginns from the University of Sydney says all you need is a simple five-minute break from whatever you’re doing.
No walking, no nature videos, no fancy techniques. Just five minutes of doing something completely different.
Why We Need Breaks
Our brain needs to concentrate when we learn or solve problems. But our attention is like a battery – it runs out and needs to recharge.
Different things can affect how long we can focus, like how much sleep we’ve had, what time of day it is, or even if we’ve had too much coffee.
To test this, Ginns and his team conducted a study. They had 72 university students first do a hard mental math test to use up their attention. Then they split the students into three groups.
The first group continued working right after the test. The second group took a five-minute break. The third group watched a video of a walk in a forest.
Here’s the amazing part: the students who took the break performed better than the ones who didn’t. The students who watched the video also did well.
But there wasn’t much difference between the two groups who took a break.
Breaks: The Key to Learning?
Ginns says that when we’re trying to learn something new or solve a problem, we’re using our brains a lot. So it makes sense that taking a short break can help us focus better and learn more effectively.
What You Can Do
What’s the takeaway from all this? After about 20 minutes of hard mental work, take a five-minute break. This could be at school, work, or even when you’re doing something like your taxes at home.
This technique, called the “Pomodoro Technique,” involves working for 25 minutes and then taking a five-minute break.
The main point here is to take a total break from whatever you’re doing. So scrolling through your Instagram feed doesn’t count! You need to rest your brain completely.
So there you have it!
The magic recipe for maintaining focus isn’t a walk along a river or a video of bamboo forests – it’s just a five-minute break! Try it next time you’re working on something tough. Your brain will thank you for it.
If you care about brain health, please read studies about how the Mediterranean diet could protect your brain health, and Omega-3 fats and carotenoid supplements could improve memory.
For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about antioxidants that could help reduce dementia risk, and higher magnesium intake could help benefit brain health.
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