Inhale the Good Stuff

Inhale - EmilyMarko.com

My family has been a little addicted to a new game show Race to Escape, which challenges teams to solve puzzles and find hidden clues before the other team so they can win a huge amount of money. The most interesting part to me is when the host explains the psychological process a contestant is going through when making decisions and working to find the solution. The brain is so fascinating to me!

As I started my research on decision-making, I came across this video and article that discussed the same psychological processes the game show explains. If we are able to understand our cognitive bias it may help in making better decisions.

Another resource I found was Jonathan Fields’ book, Uncertainty, where he writes about “refueling your brain between bursts”. Apparently, the prefrontal cortex of our brain becomes fatigued very easily and we lose creativity, cognitive function, productivity and willpower. Interestingly, if we take the time to do something that helps refuel, we can keep our brain in tip-top shape and make better (more mindful) decisions.

The idea of refueling the brain is something I have tried to practice with meditation. Unfortunately, a regular schedule for meditation just hasn’t stuck yet. I do believe in the benefits though and recognize when I need to infuse it into my day. When I feel the stress head ache coming on or just a bunch of negative thoughts swirling through my mind or feel really stuck – I know it is time to take a break. Sometimes a 20-minute meditation seems way too long to pull myself a way. Instead of ignoring the need to reset, I just shorten the practice.

For a super quick way to regain focus, I pause and breathe. Close your eyes, focus all your attention on your breath, imagine inhaling good energy and exhaling bad energy. I visually assign a color (blue like an ocean) and descriptors (happy, healthy, safe) to the good energy and imagine my whole body being filled with the good. As I exhale, I imagine the bad (super toxic) energy being pushed out with my breath.

This has worked so well for me, that I have taught my 6-year old son to practice this exercise when he is having trouble keeping calm. All I need to say is “breath in the good stuff, buddy”.

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How do you refuel your brain?

Try out even more exercises that may help you refuel and make better decisions.

Leave a comment below on which exercises work for you.

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