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The Tinkered Mind

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December 24th, 2018

A muscle worked continuously has no chance to grow stronger.


The same applies to the mind.  We can be certain of this because of the phenomenon of sleep.  Rest and Relaxation is so important to the maintenance of the brain and body’s systems that everything shuts down for a full third of the day. 


Mathew Walker’s book ‘Why We Sleep’ is an excellent synthesis of the latest and long researched conclusions regarding sleep which generally come to an overarching diagnosis that none of us are getting enough of it.


Stress, ill-formed schedules, crying infants, snoring partners – the list of items that can disturb our sleep are nearly unending.


Such things extend into our day also.  Exercise promotes good sleep along with a thoughtful timing and composition of diet.  Having an espresso after dinner might seem like a very posh thing to do, but when it comes to our sleep, few things top such a practice in terms of ruining our brain’s programed R&R.


Perhaps the most under-rated and improperly regulated factor in sleep is waking R&R. 


Vacations are packed into one or two tiny weeks and weekends are generally devoted to catch up with chores and all sorts of other necessities that get pushed to the side by time-consuming bullshit jobs.


How much time do we actively devote to hobby projects?  Maybe a tired, exhausted hour at night?


One good metric to test how well we are absorbing the chances for real R&R is to examine how we spend the holidays.  Are we caught up in the ridiculous obligations that are imposed by tradition and family, or do we actively seek to use the time in a way that is most conducive to our health?  Somehow, the time of year that is promulgated as the cheeriest, happiest time of the year is for a great majority, also the most stressful time of year.  The expectation we place on ourselves is perhaps far out of the paradigm of Rest & Relaxation.


Should such things even be in the same ballpark as other victims of expectation?  Probably not. 


Holiday does come from a shortened version of Holy Day, and as discussed in a pervious episode of Tinkered Thinking, Holy simply refers to being whole and healthy.


If the holidays do not seem to rejuvenate our spirits in both body and mind, we may be overdue for an examination of what activities, circumstances and environments best promote such conditions of health and wholeness.  And instead of simply noting the discrepancy between our realization and the decisions we’ve made for next year, we are perhaps best to wonder how we can get a little slice of this ideal R&R every day.  In exactly the same way that the brain and body demands a proportionally huge amount of down time each and every day.

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