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We Are All Addicts.

Life in the city can pretty much be summarised into two states: working and not working. As we spent the majority of our time at work, it is common for us to want to "carve" some time out for ourselves and do what we think we want to do. Yet very often by then, we tend to be too tired to decide on what would be a rejuvenating activity that we can enjoy to feel is worthwhile.


Guilty Pleasures

What is the outcome then? Instead of burdening our mind with the thousand and one possible activities (who am I kidding, we are too tired to even bother thinking of five), we rely on our instincts/routine and proceed to our brainless consumption of products (e.g. social media, video games, television programme, etc).


Honestly, we all know that at the end of these activities, we will seldom feel more satisfied than before. And the reason is surprisingly simple — these products are specially designed for engagement and retention. They give you the cliffhanger you didn't know you wanted (but do not need), the level-up that is just within reach (with just one more game), and the professionally tailored content to provide a quick dopamine fix as your well-trained fingers swipe through the feed on auto-pilot. Yes, we are all addicts of (mental) stimulants.


"Give Me a Break!" — Brain

In my line of work, creativity is very important. In fact, I would argue that in ANY line of work, creativity is one of the most important values that we can provide especially in this digital world. The ability to use our imagination and prior experiences to synthesise new ideas would be something which robots will pale in comparison to an organic mind.


As the nature of work relies more on our intellect rather than physical capacities, it is important for us to stay mentally sharp. I find the best way to do so would be deliberately freeing up "spaces" for the mind to breathe. By this, I am not referring directly to meditation (though yes, meditation is one possible activity and headspace is a meditation app). Instead, I am referring more generically to allowing ourselves to have moments that we empty our minds and NOT think.


This is surprisingly hard!

We are well-accustomed to a stimulated brain and so much so that it is so hard to get it to slow down and accept moments of peace. Every other student that I know of has some form of ADHD and to be honest, I think we might all developed some level of Attention-Deficiency with all of the stimuli we are experiencing. (If you are interested in the controversies surrounding ADHD, here is a good summary of the various discussion ongoing in the space)


When we are free, it is unlikely for us to just relax and enjoy the moment as that would be too "boring" or even, a "waste of time". This boredom is a sign of our brain's addiction to staying stimulated. We often need to have a show to accompany our meals, and music to accompany our commute. What we probably also knew was that engaging in these activities do NOT help the brain get its much-needed rest. Instead, we are feeding its cravings for dopamine — the hormone for pleasure (and addiction).


Give your Mind what it Needs. Not what it Wants.

Have you ever wondered why we get inspiration at the most random moments? Interestingly enough, many of these "random" moments occur during the shower!


Why?


Because it is one of the last sacred moments where we are forced to stay away from our devices (until waterproofing technology catches up)! This is the most private moment where we are relaxed and undistracted. Then, our mind is free to wander and finally process the core issues that have been on the backburner. When left to its own, our powerful intuition kicks in. Soon after, we are struck with the AH-HA moment.


So if you are interested in having a sharp and creative mind, the next time you have some free time, try to make space for your mind to wander. Take a casual stroll, stare out of the window or simply breathe and just do nothing! Allow your mind to think whatever it wants and let your thoughts flow. You would be surprised at how many quality ideas would descent upon you just like that.


Be free. Go offline and have some fun.


Did it work for you? Share with me in the comments down below! Thanks for popping by. 😊

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