Time to “zone out” brings inspiration and creativity… how do you zone out like you’re switching off? | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Time to “zone out” brings inspiration and creativity… how do you zone out like you’re switching off?

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LINE

It’s actually hard tothink about nothing.”…

The state of being in a daze is said to be a necessary time for the brain. Brain science has shown that this state of inactivity can bring about such benefits as unexpected flashes of inspiration, a more coherent thought process, and increased creativity.

However, it is not easy to do so even when you are in a daze. We spoke with neurosurgeon Michihito Sugawara, director of the Sugawara Neurosurgery Clinic, to find out if there is an effective way to do so in daily life.

Falling asleep in a daze or taking a 10- to 15-minute nap is said to improve afternoon work performance (PHOTO: AFLO).

What goes on inside the brain when you are in a “daze”?

–What happens inside the brain when we are in a “daze”?

Recently, it has been discovered that our brains are not only working when we are moving our hands or thinking about something, but that our brains are actually working at a dizzying pace even during the time when we are in a “daze”. It is a neural circuit called the default mode network.

This default mode network is a neural system that is hidden when we are conscious or doing something, but is activated when we are in a daze,” says Sugawara.

–(Mr. Sugawara, same as below) “Why is the default mode network active when we are in a daze?

When we are in a daze, or even when we are sleeping, our brain must be working, otherwise we would not be able to react when we are attacked by someone, right?

In order to respond to something on the spur of the moment, we don’t shut everything down even when we are sleeping, we stay in motion all the time, like a car idling. I have come to realize that when I do this, I am not just standing by, but I am actually organizing information.

The activity of the default mode network helps us to organize information, to integrate information such as what we have seen and heard, and to organize our memories, which can lead to new ideas, or to the formation of thoughts. It also has the effect of relaxing us.

In order for the default mode network to become active, we need time to be in a daze and not think about anything.

Therefore, in this age of information technology, actively creating time to be idle is a new way to use the brain.

I try to “empty my head,” but on the contrary, I end up thinking about a lot of things…

–I think it’s actually quite difficult to be absentminded.

When you are in a daze, you may think about things that have happened, or you may think about things you need to prepare for tomorrow, or you may think about things you don’t need to think about, or you may cancel them out, and in fact many thoughts come to mind.

So there are some disadvantages. The default mode network actually consumes a lot of energy. That’s why the brain gets tired.”

–When does the brain become fatigued?

For example, we all have times when negative emotions go round and round. For example, we all have negative feelings, such as the bad thing that happened yesterday, or that boss pisses me off. Especially when negative thoughts like these go round and round, they cause stress and make the brain tired easily.

When the default mode network gets out of control, it is easy to loop negative feelings such as past bad experiences and anxiety, which has the disadvantage of leading to brain fatigue.

It is said that it is difficult for lay people to become “Mu” (nothingness), but it is worth trying the zazen experience to see what it feels like. You can experience it at many temples.

–When you do zazen, you are often told to “empty your head,” but what is the point of doing zazen if you are not an experienced practitioner?

But this is difficult to do unless you are an experienced practitioner. Monks have a lot of training. It’s not something we can do right away.

The so-called meditative state is a state in which you are erasing and clearing your mind of all thoughts, and mindfulness is a hot topic nowadays. That would be a situation where you are in good control of your default mode network.”

–What is the best way to avoid thinking negatively?

What is the best way to avoid thinking negatively? It’s about you, but you look at it from a bird’s eye view, as if you are not a party to it. This is called “meta-cognition. I think it is good to practice looking at yourself with this kind of awareness. Some teachers say that just concentrating on your breathing or doing that alone is good.

Sparing time” is not the answer…actively “make time to zoned out.”

–The disadvantage of brain fatigue when the default mode network is working too hard is a bit difficult to incorporate.

I think it is a good idea to actively make time to zone out, rather than just not doing it because it is difficult. Mindfulness is popular, and there are people who meditate. Even if you don’t go that far, I suggest that you soak in the bathtub and cherish the time you spend zoning out and not thinking about anything.

It is also a good idea to take time away from information devices for 30 minutes to an hour at home in order to create time to be absent-minded. This is often referred to as a “digital detox,” and I think it is valuable to spend time actively letting go of your smartphone and other devices.

Even if you don’t want to go as far as meditation, just spending more time with your eyes closed is a good idea. This means blocking out information from the visual. Sit in a chair, close your eyes, and, well, go to sleep.”

Simply closing your eyes and blocking out information from the visual sense has the same effect as zoning out, he says. If you get a loop of negative emotions, you can start working on something, such as starting to read a book, to suppress the default mode network

–What is the difference between “in a daze” and “asleep”?

I think there is no difference.” So, I think it is good to take a nap. There is some data that shows that it improves performance. However, napping for 10 to 15 minutes is recommended, because sleeping too much is a problem and sleeping for one or two hours is not good.

–How does insomnia affect the functioning of the default mode network?

I think it is difficult to benefit from the consolidation of memory and new ideas. It’s a situation where the brain is too tired. The body is also fatigued.

Recently, it has been suggested that malfunctions in the default mode network may lead to early detection of depression and dementia.

Again, people who are busy and exposed to a lot of information spend more time in the shadows of their default mode network.

–What specific actions can we take to start?

What specific activities can we start with? “Instead of reading during your bath time, I recommend that you just sit in the warmth of the water and relax. I think it is more meaningful to use the time to organize information rather than to input information.

If you start an apple diet, eat only apples, or if you start a digital detox, don’t look at your phone at all today, but start by making a little time to do so.

Everyone is fiddling with their phones on the train, watching the news and so on, but I think it would be good to just stop doing that. Or just take a moment to look out the window. I usually take the express train, but when I have time, I think it would be nice to take the local train and look out the window at the scenery.

Dr. Michihito Sugawara is a neurosurgeon. Director of Sugawara Neurosurgical Clinic. Chairman of the Akasaka Park Building Neurosurgery Foundation. His medical practice focuses on treatment of headaches, dizziness, memory loss, and prevention of brain diseases. Author of many books, including “How to Rest the ‘Brain’ of People Who Never Get Tired” (Jisshu Kyoiku Shuppan), “Successfully People are Worried” (Kanki Shuppan), and “100 Scientific Ways to Get Rid of ‘Mendozai'” (Yamato Shobo).

  • Interview and text Kayo Fujioka PHOTO Afro

Photo Gallery3 total

Photo Selection

Check out the best photos for you.

Related Articles