If you want to get past the brain’s auto mode, give it rest and help it stop attaching so much importance to others’ perception of you, you can try to direct your attention. If you kill a mosquito this summer, you get rid of less brain energy than when you rest. It is easy to imagine that the brain can rest when we relax, for example during the holidays. But the brain is complex and cannot always be understood from our usual ideas. Neurological research shows that sleep for the body does not mean rest for the brain. It is even the case that the brain works for high pressure when we leave it alone. the brain do when it is free.
What does the brain do when it gets free? The question is relevant when it is discovered that 60-80% of all energy that the brain uses is consumed by networks that are completely independent of what we do. This has led to the discovery of the DMN “default mode network” (also called task-negative-network, TNN) which is active when the brain does not have a specific task. The brain then engages in something that is extremely important from a survival point of view (or at least it was extremely important in the past when we were dependent on each other), it engages in analyzing what other people think and feel about us.
When we solve a task, the activity in DMN decreases and increases in TPN (task-positive-network). Both networks are expensive to operate. According research, it costs just under 5% more in energy consumption to solve a math problem compared to daydreaming.
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So it is not so strange that the brain often deals with thoughts about what others think and feel about oneself. It was extremely important in the past, when our belonging was important for our survival and we were more dependent on each other. In the individual society we have created, we often survive independently of others, but the brain retains its drives. So do not get angry at yourself if you try to find out and care about what the neighbor on the bath towel next to yours thinks about your body. It is the brain’s auto mode that works and adjusts how you are accepted by others. Quite naturally, but perhaps not so important for survival.
Of course, we need these moments of inner self-reflection and reconciliation with others. But probably this function is not as important now as then in our part of the world. Maybe it is a way to influence evolution to from time to time put us over the brain natural states and help it on the run in its established development? After all, we are programmed for a life as it looked 150,000 years ago or more.
If you want to get past the brain’s auto mode, give it rest and help it stop putting so much emphasis on others’ perception of you, you can try to direct your attention. Look at a cloud in the sky. Direct your attention there and let all thoughts of others and their thoughts of you come and go. Keep your focus on the cloud that may change shape, move across the sky, disappear…
Wish you a nice and developing brain rest this season!