Why Taking A Break Is Important for Your Brain

by | Jul 25, 2022 | Emotional Pillar, Structural Pillar

With everyone on summer break, did you know your brain needs a vacation too?

Your brain has two main survival modes; a stress state and a rest state. Your stress (or stimulated) state will naturally come from waking up in the morning or going to the gym, it is also stimulated through phones, constant information, T.V., stress, accidents, food, and emotions, and then the rest state is brought upon by sleep or relaxation. What research is currently showing is that your brain can become addicted to that stress state brought on by constant unnatural stimulation in the brain.

Im going to concentrate on food for a bit. Food can be addicting through food coloring, flavorings, and sugar. Food scientists are hired to create an addiction within the brain to their companies food. This is done purposefully to increase sales and continue popularity with their product. But these additives come at a cost, they also stimulate the brain’s stress response as well.

Smart phone companies now have the same abilities, with their alerts, notifications and constant contact ability. Research is showing that even having the phone in the room increases the person’s stress levels due to the “thoughts” of needing to check it.

Both the foods and the phone creates a constant release of the stress hormone cortisol, which increases the glucose (sugar) in your brain. Sugar is now considered more addictive than cocaine and researchers are showing how phone addiction has behavioral similarities to hard drug use. What is similar in all of these cases is the release of dopamine, the reward-and-pleasure neurotransmitter.

Now we add in childhood trauma. This absolutely changes the chemistry of the brain. And research is showing a very few of us are getting out of childhood without some form of trauma and the majority of us have major childhood trauma.

The combination of these three items can create an addiction to chaos that seems normal to our brains. In fact we crave it if not there.

But here is the huge issue with this! We are not made to function without resting our brain and taking in that downtime! Constant overstimulation will lead to anger issues, anxiety, and / or depression.

So, how can we fix this? Here are my two easy steps to giving your brain its vacation:
  1. Turn off all of the notifications! Nowadays, you can specify exactly what time your “Do Not Disturb” goes on and off, who is allowed to call you (for example: your parents, your children, your partner, etc.) so that during the specific turn off times, nothing else comes through. That means no Instagram notifications, no emails from work, no Facebook likes, no texts from your friends.
  2. Walk away times! Hold true to certain times of the day, your phone does not need to be in your hand. This means completely leave it in a different room for dinner time or the bathroom or your bedroom. Set times in your home that everyone steps away to be present in time. Pick an entire day to be cellular free.
  3. Evaluate your foods! Begin by eliminating wheat, colors, flavors and keeping sugars under 40g a day. Here is a great guide to reading ingredients and what to avoid. 
These can be very difficult in the beginning. Think how hard it would be coming off a hardcore drug. Your brain and body wants you to return. Since this stimulates the same pathways, your withdrawals could be similar. Be aware that these could get worse during the short term, only due to the detox from this addiction.
  • Depression
  • Problems sleeping
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Fatigue
  • Cravings
  • Anxiety
Our brains so quickly get attached to the constant buzzing and communication that the idea of not checking your phone for an hour seems unfeasible… But that is okay and you can push through this! That separation anxiety is you actually breaking through the addiction of the device.
Need help? I have lots of experience in assisting patients with all types of addiction. Let’s set up a time to talk.

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