Take a Brain Break

Woman gardening

Naturally, I came across two articles in the New York Times discussing the effects of computers, technology and PDA’s on our lives, just as I was preparing to head out on a solitary 3-week artist retreat in Colorado. The need to get away from the whirlwind of daily life in order to find time and space for reflection was not a new concept for me.

The articles focused specifically on the brain, and its need to recharge (ironic digi-analogy, yes). The first, “Outdoors and Out of Reach, Studying the Brain” follows neuroscientists on a journey off the grid to study the affects of digital devices on our brains. The second, “Digital Devices Deprive Brain of Needed Downtime,” takes a look at people’s extreme multitasking using technology while exercising, and references personal accounts of gym users who simultaneously watch TV and surf the Internet, while jogging or aerobicizing on a workout machine.

Personally, I’ve never much liked gyms or treadmills, and instead have always preferred to run outside. Even then I find myself bringing along my iPhone so that I can listen to music along the way. (Oh, and then I won’t miss any calls or texts that way, did I mention that?)

It occurred to me that this is one reason why I’ve always loved gardening. It’s an opportunity to step outside, get outdoors and commune with plants and living energy while taking a break from the technology lurking indoors. A moment of quiet meditation, watering, weeding or simply inspecting one’s plants’ progress gives the brain a chance to take a break.

So, head out to the garden and take a moment. Let your thoughts wander, feel wonder at the amazing changes in natural life, and allow your mind to rest.

Image: quinn.anya