Personal Brain Revitalizer Take Advantage of Your Brain Cycles
There is a biorhythm operating 24/7 in our body known as
the Basic Rest-Activity Cycle (BRAC). While some biological cycles last
for many days, the BRAC oscillates consistently at between 90 and 120 minutes.
Rest portion: During this
healing response portion of the cycle, there is more right hemispheric
electrical activity, a spatial cognitive mode, and a settling down of the
autonomic nervous system. Midway through the rest cycle is a trough of about
twenty-minutes. This is when many cells of the brain that hold critical
messenger molecules, such as adrenaline, are nearing empty. At this point,
all the cells in the body are taking time out to replenish, rejuvenate, and
rebalance. It is during this part of the cycle that people daydream, and can
be most creative.
Active portion: During this
peak performance period of the cycle, there is greater electrical activity
in the left hemisphere, a verbal cognitive mode, and the autonomic nervous
system is in a phase of sympathetic predominance. This means that it is
"open for business." Heightened physical activity, mental alertness, and
energy means that logic, rationality, and a black and white approach are
People who are continuously over-stimulated do not have the
opportunity to recharge their internal batteries. The Central Nervous System,
having to contend with the ever-constant activity, will suppress the resting
period, resulting in exhaustion in the short-term, and burnout in the long-term.
To better equip a person in dealing with stress, techniques
exist to maximize the resources of each side of the brain. An interesting
indicator of which side is dominant at any given time, is to simply breathe in
through the nostrils. The nostril that draws in the greater amount of air is a
contra-lateral indicator of the dominant side. In other words, if the right
nostril draws more air, then the left hemisphere is dominant, indicating that
the person is presently in the active part of the cycle. One technique to alter
the dominance is uni-nostril forced breathing. In this case, to switch dominance
to the right, the person would block the right nostril, and force breathing in
and out of the left nostril. This would be appropriate if someone wanted the
right brain active for a brainstorming exercise or any other creative endeavor.
In the long-term, encourage whole-brain activity through
specific kinesthetic activities. Examples are cross-lateral physical exercises,
and eye pattern movements. You can also enrich inter-hemispheric communication
by using your non-dominant hand to hold a cup, or brush your teeth. Drive a new
route to and from work. Experiment with your eyes closed, while dressing, or
navigating around your home. Do a blind taste-testing of a beverage.
OK. What about writing a letter or email? Here's a great
technique to use if you have no one else to proof-read what you've written. Just
wait about 30-45 minutes. Let's say that you wrote it during your active
(logical) cycle. By reading it just a bit later, you may be in your rest cycle,
when you are naturally more creative. This means you could scan for readability,
flow, and sensitivity. Of course, if you wrote it in a creative mind, you would
want your logical side checking the details for exactness. How great is that?