21 Mar How can you efficiently re-energize yourself at the office? By simply leaving it…!
Be aware that the idea, here, is not merely to leave your workstation, but to create a bit of distance. No need to go to the other end of the world either. A few meters (yards) will suffice most of the time. The point is pretty simple: staying seated at your desk like a good little kid for too long does not help your brain work well. Quite the opposite! To re-energize yourself, one of the simplest things you can, therefore, do is stand up regularly.
Indeed, this simple postural change – from the seated position to standing – modifies the blood pressure in your brain and its oxygenation levels. In short, sedentary workers: get off your behinds and you’ll find your mind reinvigorated by it.
And, not only your mind, but your back, your shoulders, and your neck will also thank you. Along the same lines, who hasn’t felt eye strain after sitting in front of the screen for too long?
To avoid such inconveniences, get moving!
Tell yourself that all the mental resources you use to deal with the discomfort associated with an overly sedentary work life are resources you will not be able to allocate to your current intellectual activities, and, therefore, to your efficiency at work. Thus, when you do not move, you run the risk of not only creating pain for yourself (after a while), but you will also spend, overall, more time on each of your tasks – all while being less efficient.
So, stand up and take a few steps!
When you walk – to get a drink of water or to go to the photocopier – the blood that has amassed in your feet while you were working in a seated position will be compressed under the pressure of your steps, which causes, at the under end of your body, a modification in blood flow to the brain, which thereby optimizes different cognitive abilities, such as focus or attention.
One study showed that walking for 60 minutes twice a week improves our memory, our comprehension, and our creativity. This is the equivalent of 20 minutes a day.
We submitted one of the exercises from the My Mental Energy Pro application to testing undertaken by an independent laboratory (Laboratoire Epsylon, at the University of Montpellier). In this exercise, you are asked to stand, then to balance yourself on your left foot and then your right foot, with your knee bent, one after the other, like a pink flamingo (that’s the name of the exercise!). Then, the activity is to be repeated with your eyes closed. This exercise is harder than it might seem. Try it and you’ll see! But the most important aspect of this short moment of being off-balance, posturally – which you can try with your colleagues, by the way (you’ll see, it’s funny!) – will allow you to increase the capacity of your working memory by 15%.
If you have been diligent, you should now know what working memory is (see last month’s newsletter 😉).
For those of you who do not recall, allow us to remind you. Working memory corresponds to the power of our processors. This is what allows us to simultaneously handle multiple bits of information. However, it can only deal with a small number of details at a time (4 or 5), which regularly causes problems in our daily activities.
So, stop complaining that the printer is a little too far away, and let your brain take advantage of the walk to re-energize itself… your efficiency and intellectual comfort depend on that too!