Put that pen down, take your fingers off the keyboard, and stop wondering why you were writing and typing at the same time.
Take a break from writing to sit back and do bugger all.
Don’t watch television instead, or even read a book – do nothing. Try it out for a while. We’re all so obsessed about work, work, work (well, in theory), and play, play, play, we never take time to relax.
Doing nothing can do wonders for the brain. Find a quiet space and reflect. It may take a while to get used to – you’ll automatically pat yourself down every few minutes looking for your smartphone, or flap your hands about the seat searching for the remote, but eventually your brain will tune in to the absolute nothingness around you.
Obviously you won’t be in absolute nothingness, unless you’ve somehow found a way to break the laws of physics, or Superman has imprisoned you in the Phantom Zone. But you can make your surroundings as quiet and peaceful as possible. Find a quiet room away from traffic and street noise, if you can. Unplug everything in the room even if you think you can’t hear anything. Remove all readable material from your eyesight – that includes cereal boxes, shampoo bottles (in case your safe haven is the loo), even posters. Because for a short while your brain is going to resist doing nothing and try and grab data from whatever source is easiest. It’s going to reread that fourteen word inspirational poster you have, or try and figure out exactly which dog it is barking outside.
So the more stimuli you remove, the better.
This isn’t so much meditation as remediation.
You’re resetting your brain with a bit of quiet time.
After a while you’ll stop thinking about Facebook and second drafts and bills and endings and soaps and rewrites. You’ll start to remember you’re not actually designed to sit staring at a screen for fifteen hours a day. You might go Colonel Walter E. Kurtz nuts in the silence but at least you’re not drooling over your phone screen playing Candy Crush.
If you don’t go nuts then your brain will probably attempt to fill the void with actual thinking. I know, it sounds scary but go with it. Try not to concentrate on any one problem in particular, just let your synapses do what they think is best.
Once you’ve had a nice sit down and a cup of tea, this may be the perfect time to…