Why does your brain need (and deserve) a vacation?

(CNN) –  María Kole loves her job, but lately she feels she has lost the line between ‘work’ and ‘not work’.

As a literary agent for children’s books in New York, Kole works from home and talks with his clients electronically all day. Sometimes writers even call her in the middle of the night with an idea. Leaving home is not exactly relaxing either. “In New York there is only subway, offices, people, voices, screams, and car horns, all the time,” he said.

Kole finally turned away from business calls and conferences to take a vacation that didn’t take place in his home office. In early May, she left alone and spent five days locked in a rented house in Oregon, rereading some of her favorite books, cooking and listening to the rain fall.

“Today I believe more than ever that in order to be good at what I do, I have to be good to myself and recharge my own creativity before I end up being a zombie with a dead brain,” said Kole, 26.

This experience shows the power of vacations to help have new ideas, appreciate the present moment and return to ‘real life’ with a renewed feeling of emotion.

Get away from everyday life

Separating yourself from a family environment can help you gain new insights into everyday life, says Adam Galinsky, a professor at the Kellogg School of Administration at Northwestern University.

Consider that when you ask a friend for advice, their suggestions are often more creative than what you would have decided for yourself … scientific studies have confirmed this. The explanation is that your friend is psychologically distanced from the current situation. When you are in the middle of a problem, it is sometimes difficult to think clearly.

Similarly, many people have revelations when they travel, because they can see their daily lives from a more separate and external point of view.

“It’s not just about taking time off from work, but about getting away from where you live. It’s very important, because that’s the only way you can achieve that perspective, ”said Galinsky.

Kole agreed. Disconnected from work and sitting on a porch, enjoying nature, she realized that it was time to look for a more natural environment, whether in New York or elsewhere.

Travel abroad

Helsinki: 1,659 hours per year, and is entitled to 29 days of paid vacation.

If you are lucky enough to leave the country, there is scientific evidence that could help you think creatively.

Immersing yourself in a different culture has this effect, Galinsky said. Maybe you think there is only one way to do things, but in an unknown place, there are a whole range of different social norms and customs.

An investigation by Galinsky with William Maddux, a professor at the INSEAD business school, has concluded that traveling abroad makes people have a wider understanding of themselves a better sense of who they are. Even seemingly ordinary experiences, such as eating in a restaurant, can shake your thinking.

You may wonder how much time you need abroad to take advantage of these advantages. Regarding creativity, Galinsky’s research has found stronger effects among people living abroad than among those traveling for short periods. The most likely reason is that expatriates are more likely to adapt to local environments and try to understand the perspective of the locals.

“If you want to get the benefits of living abroad while on vacation, the key is to try to understand the world through the perspective of local people,” he said.

Holidays with awareness

It is not necessary to leave the country to get a new mentality that you can apply to everyday life.

Ellen Langer, a professor of psychology at Harvard University, considers the benefits of vacations as part of awareness. The fullness of consciousness is a concept derived from Buddhism that is central to meditation in that tradition, and consists in being present and attentive but not judging. Langer and other groups have found great benefits in health and well-being by practicing full consciousness.

People prepare to see new things on their vacations, which makes the trip exciting. But the ideal would be to have that frame of reference all the time: taking note of the new people, objects and events around it.

“Being bored,” he says, is a state of mind. And once you have achieved a “everything is different and interesting” mentality, that becomes a valuable memory to take home after the holidays.

“What people should do is that when they go on vacation and experience the feeling of compromise, the feeling of being consciously involved in their own lives, they must find a way to apply that to their workday,” he said.

Until next time

Kole tries to practice the techniques of full consciousness since December. Every morning he wakes up very early and challenges himself to write five pages in his diary about what he is grateful for, and he pays more attention to his thoughts and feelings: “Otherwise, you get stuck in all the little things,” he said.

When she returned from her vacation, she felt ready to dive into work and was enthusiastic about it. After a few days, he started taking cooking classes.

“I love what I do, but sometimes, after burning your eyelashes, it can be difficult to be there and in the present. I was very happy to start reading books for children and much less impatient, more excited, ”she said. “I will take another vacation in July.”

Editor’s Note: This note was originally published in 2011 on CNN.com and was written by Elizabeth Landau, a former CNN reporter. CNN . com and was written by Elizabeth Landau, former CNN reporter. 


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