I returned to TealHaus a few weeks ago after my maternity leave, when I (obviously) spent a great deal of time away from the computer. While much of it was a fog of newborn sleep deprivation, there were also plenty of moments for reflection in those small hours of the morning when it is quiet and still. I love a full night of sleep as much as anyone, but there is something about being awake when no one else is and letting my brain wander.
In the past several months, I have come across books, podcasts, and sermons on the importance of quieting your brain so it can be creative. It seemed like the universe was telling me something … that we are so overstimulated that the lack of something to do or watch strikes anxiety instead of curiosity.
Last week, I was reading an article in the Wall Street Journal about how creative minds find what the author referred to as a “reset” in our internet age.
“Humans have built the perfect machine for keeping our brains busy…The internet, with social networks, endless games and media, fills the moments we once spent sitting silently with our thoughts, leafing through our books–or just staring into space…The constant feed of information has eaten into our breathing room.”
This hit me hard. Sometimes I feel like a sponge that has absorbed so much by the end of the day that I have to wring myself out just to wind down to go to sleep. How can I expect my creativity to flourish living this way?
When I started writing again after returning to work, the words came to me dramatically faster than they had eight weeks before … which was quite a shock given my level of tiredness. My creativity felt like the rust was off and the magic was right at my fingertips. Like all the time spent usually glued to a screen of some kind and instead caring for a newborn allowed my creative brain to rest.
The article went on to suggest our best ideas tend to come to us in the shower or on a walk and this premise is backed by scientific evidence. When our brains are not focused on any one thing, we can relax and allow creative thoughts to emerge.
This concept doesn’t just apply to creatives, of course. We all would likely benefit from a media diet, screen time limits, and time spent away from the things that take our attention all day.
So, my challenge to you is this: how can you build blank space into your life to allow your brain to rest? What could be awaiting you in those moments of quiet stillness and idle thought? Give it a try and let us know.