Let me sleep on that…

Our minds are pretty amazing. We can “find flow” and function on autopilot~ as when typing, keyboarding or playing the piano without having to think about it, (once you’ve mastered the fundamentals).

But life does not always go smoothly. Sometimes we have days when we’re “at loose ends,” feeling “off,” or just hit a block. I do jumbles and sudoku puzzles nearly every day. Sometimes I get stuck and need to switch gears between the two puzzles~ or just stand up and walk around a bit. When I get back to my puzzle, more often than not the answer is right before me. I needed a break from what I was doing to clear my head so I could find the answer.

This is one of the reasons that vacations are so important. In addition providing a wonderful opportunity to spend time somewhere different or to do something out of the ordinary, it allows for a break from what normally consumes you, a chance to reset with a fresh perspective when you return.

Then there are major decisions that can monopolize your thoughts. You may have felt a need to “sleep on it” before determining what to do. What is happening in our minds to help with problem solving as we sleep? Sara Mednick and Denise Cal of the University of California, San Diego explored the different stages of sleep in creative problem solving. They found that the passage of time is sufficient for resolving problems you’ve already worked on, but for new issues, dream-rich REM sleep can stimulate another level of creative problem solving via priming~ stimulating connections to unrelated ideas within the mind. They hypothesize that this happens through changes in levels of norepinephrine and acetylcholine in various parts of the brain during REM sleep. The end result of these changes is the ability to make new connections that would otherwise be inhibited, expanding networks within our minds to solve problems creatively. “Sleeping on it” really can bring in a new way of thinking.

In this world of high emotion, Ai Chi promotes centering and relaxation~ a break from the norm, allowing a new perspective. The deep, diaphragmatic breaths we take during each Ai Chi movement trigger the parasympathetic nervous system to release of acetylcholine, bringing calm within. It is a calm that you can carry with you, even after you leave the water.

Are you in the Ft Myers, FL area?

Join me doing Ai Chi at AMAVIDA Living, 7650 Gladiolus Dr.

April 2019 classes are on Wednesdays at 10:45 am through April 17.

Cost is $10 per class for non-AMAVIDA residents. 

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Writen by mpierce

MS PT, Northwestern University; BS PT, St Louis University; CEEAA; ATRIC; Ai Chi Trainer since 2015; De-Mystifying Mindfulness by Universiteit Leiden on Coursera, Certificate earned on November 4, 2017;

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