While driving back home last evening, I was mentally going over the events of the day. Work was demanding and it was one of those days where too many people asked for everything at the same time. After a particularly exhausting day, I was in no mood to even listen to music while I drove back. I wanted to enjoy driving in silence without trying to think about anything. I could sense myself inching towards inner peace!

Many are nonplussed when I (the talkative one) tell them I enjoy being in a silent environment when I want to unwind. When you’re a Content Strategist, you need to collaborate with a hundred different people. There’s a lot of activity involved every day. As much as I love doing this, every now and then I prefer to be silent and away from the madness.  That’s  my way of recharging after spending all my energy talking with others. What intended to serve as a break helped me look at situations from a different perspective. An accidental discovery. I would’ve been breaking my head over something for hours. Once I stop thinking about it, hours later the answer would find me. I realized that the more I dwell on an idea, the less successful it would turn out to be. The more breaks I (and my mind) took, everything would fall in place in minutes.

Now you know why you get your best ideas when in the shower. I’ll leave you to Google the detailed science behind this. When you’re doing a monotonous activity, you switch to an ‘autopilot’ mode. Your mind is pre-programmed to handle the activity and it works on your half-baked ideas and brings you clarity. This is why psychologists tell us not to be occupied every minute. Turns out, it’s actually good for you to get bored and give your mind some rest.

Our brains work hard to keep us smart or at least to help us appear smart. Even when we aren’t working per se, we tend to keep the brain engaged. From mindlessly scrolling the timeline or watching some crap on TV because you’ve nothing better to do, I doubt if the mind gets some breathing space. We can’t expect a machine to give top notch output when we hardly give it rest. We can’t expect our brains to come up with amazing ideas or do justice to its job if it doesn’t get some rest. If you have a muddy water in a bucket, the more you agitate it, the more it would remain muddy. When you allow it to settle for a while, the mud settles at the bottom. The quality of water improves compared to how it was earlier.

This is the reason I enjoy driving. It’s not boring, but kind of monotonous. Yes, I know I should be alert while driving. Since I’m used to driving every day, I can sense when I need to be alert and when I can relax. Once I switch to ‘drive’ mode, my system takes over. Remember how Remy controls the crazy aspiring chef in Ratatouille, yes that’s how it is. That leaves my mind to bring all those thoughts and threads hanging in some corner of my brain to a logical closure. Suddenly, you understand the true intent of the joke you read. What happened 6 months ago makes sense. You realize you’ve been mouthing the wrong lyrics of your favorite song. You end up finding solutions for questions you did not even think about in the first place. It’s like losing the last piece of your jigsaw puzzle and after months of searching you finally get hold of the last piece that completes the puzzle. Startling revelations when you’re least expecting!

So, as much as I like to keep myself occupied, I’m diligent about how I spend time. I do monotonous stuff like waiting in queues without talking to someone. I’m learning to enjoy my coffee without reading on my smartphone. I try not to expect social media to keep me company while traveling and look out of the window. It isn’t as bad as how I thought it would be. I like not having something to think about once in a while. And know what, our minds are desperate for that break. Treat them well and you even solve puzzles from your previous birth.

Growing up, I figured that the best way to nurture a relationship is to ensure you find something interesting to do. I’m working towards building a solid relationship with myself. I felt I’ve to make an effort to enjoy my company without looking for someone else to come and brighten my life. I hold the key to my happiness and so it is befitting that drive myself to find what works for me. And I think I’m on the right track!

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