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The more routine your life is, the more dull and repetitive your job, the more your brain needs a vacation. Neuroscientist Michael Merzenich of Posit Science and Scientific Learning, developers of brain fitness programs, gives some interesting insights into vacation time.

“You can say that taking a holiday is a little bit like going back to childhood, when the world was full of wonder and everything you saw was full of things that you hadn’t expected or seen before, you had to calibrate it in your brain.”Our brain functions best when we are alert and stimulated by new and challenging situations.”One thing that happens in your everyday life is that things can become so predictable, so controlled, and you can live a little bit of a dream-like life,” Merzenich said. “Our environments, after all, are constructed so that we are relatively rarely surprised by what’s happening in them.”So what are the healthiest vacations for your brain? You want a different and challenging environment full of surprises and wonderment. Trips to foreign locations, a canoe trip to uncharted waters, and volunteering with a humanitarian organization are a few suggestions.The latest research validates the saying “A change is better than a rest.””Part of maintaining your basic vitality is contributing in a very fundamental way to sustaining learning rates,” Merzenich said. “In a sense, the more you engage your brain in ways that stimulate it, the more you’re doing to maintain your capacity to learn and to improve. It’s actually right at the heart of maintaining yourself in a fundamental sense.”

So, revitalize your cognitive self and take that vacation!


Kirk Langford


January 5, 2017