Sometimes the best thing you can do when you can’t solve a problem is to stop trying.
The brain needs time to rest, regroup, and to put everything you have been feeding into it together in meaningful ways. The perfect solution may pop into your head when you are focused on something completely different, or you may find the solution easily when you come back to your problem after a break.
So, if you or your students are stuck, try…
- Doing something different – going outside, playing a quick game, getting a snack.
- Physical activity. Seems to clear the head. Sweat a little.
- Talking to others. Sometimes something someone else says or does (completely unrelated to your problem) triggers an idea that can help you with your problem.
- Watching the fire, or tabletop fountain, or lava lamp, or screen saver. When you are looking at one of those mesmerizing things, the brain sometimes wanders into interesting places.
- Listening to music…better yet, dance!
- Doing an activity that only takes part of your brain, like folding laundry, knitting, or weeding.
- Taking a nap (okay, maybe not in the classroom!). Sometimes ideas come in dreams or when you are in that half-awake-half-asleep phase.
- Taking a long break. I find this especially helpful with writing projects. Things that just won’t fit together or flow suddenly do when I come back to a writing project after a few days away.
Have a story to tell about how taking a break worked for you or an idea to add? Comments always welcome.
*MindBlossom: an idea