Coffee Break? Walk in the Park? Why Unwinding Is Hard
Why You Can't Make a Good Decision at 5:00PM
Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue? [Free registration may be required]
Fatigue: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia
Video: Need to relax? Take a Break for Meditation
Sleep Tips: 7 Steps to Better Sleep
During high-pressure times, it may be tempting to take a break or step outside for a stroll to think things over. Is this the best idea? Should we perhaps just power through until we've completed the task at hand? The brain certainly does get fatigued after working long periods of time. Researchers are currently looking into which types of breaks and circumstances may best adequately refresh and revitalize the brain's functioning. In this Tuesday's Wall Street Journal, journalist Shirley S. Wang reports on the current research into this area of scientific inquiry. She reports that a team of researchers at the Rotman Research Institute in Toronto is currently studying whether interacting with nature can be therapeutic for people with disorders including depression and anxiety. Their work is building on findings done by another team of researchers at the University of Michigan that showed performance on memory and attention tests improved by 20% after study subjects paused for a walk through an arboretum. The same team noted that these cognitive benefits did not occur when subjects walked along a busy city street for the same amount of time. The researchers have noted that nature images engage humans' involuntary attention, which is activated when our minds are drawn to something interesting but doesn't really require intense focus. With a busy city street, humans must rely on directed attention, as there may be aggressive dogs around or intense vehicular traffic to think about. It's rather interesting work, and currently researchers at the University of Bristol are also looking into how the traditional "coffee break" may or may not help with mental fatigue.
The first link will take visitors to the previously mentioned Wall Street Journal article from August 30th. The second link will lead users along to a blog post by John M. Grohol, the founder and editor-in-chief of PsychCentral. In this post he talks about the nature of decision fatigue and why making important decisions late in the day can be very difficult. Moving along, the third link will whisk visitors away to a recent piece by John Tierney that appeared in the New York Times Sunday Magazine. In this rather interesting piece, Tierney looks into the science of decision fatigue. The fourth link leads to a most helpful set of resources on the physiological nature of fatigue and its treatment from the Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia. The final two links are from the Mayo Clinic and the first of those reveals how to take a break with a bit of meditation. The second leads users to a helpful piece with seven steps to getting better sleep.