How do you disable a brain implant

Compulsion to brood - Just switch off - but how?

After work could be so nice - just do nothing and relax. But then the thoughts wander again. For an appointment with the boss, for anger about the botched lecture or the uncomfortable feeling that you still haven't spoken to your best friend. "About half of our waking time we think elsewhere," says Ilona Bürgel, psychologist and author of the guidebook "Why always more is not always right". She knows: just wandering around makes you unhappy. And: "80 percent of the time we think negatively."

The reason for this is a survival mechanism built into us, which experts call the “catastrophic brain”. It helps people to concentrate on essential dangers and not only to admire the landscape in amazement while driving, but also to pay attention to the traffic and to keep an eye on the approaching cyclist from the right. “Unfortunately, this mechanism has become independent,” Bürgel regrets.

A culture of complaining

And so it is seldom the positive experiences that preoccupy the brain. Instead, thoughts revolve around annoying situations in everyday life, mistakes at work or even just knowing that the sport did not work out again this week. “Our culture is a culture of complaint,” said Bürgel. "We live in the greatest prosperity and still seem to have problems."

In addition, the more often we do something or think about something, the more often the neurons interconnect. “Our brain starts to think negatively on its own.” In addition, stress leads to tunnel vision, thoughts can no longer be controlled and revolve around the same problem from morning to night. “That's the difficult thing,” says Bürgel, “the emotions take over, and that means that we no longer think logically - even though we need good solutions right now.”

Break the negative cycle of thought

It is necessary to break this negative cycle of thought. "A first step is to be aware of what is going on in your head and to realize: I determine my thoughts, not the other way around." Ilona Bürgel relies on distraction: "Crossword puzzles, Sudoku - everything you have to think." You could just as easily start planning your next vacation or think about how to redesign your living room, read a good book or pursue a hobby. Singing and dancing are often difficult to overcome, but reduce stress all the more and change the mood: "This allows the brain and thus the body to recover."

Tim Hagemann, health and work psychologist at the Diakonie University of Applied Sciences in Bielefeld, finds it very important first and foremost to clearly separate professional and private matters. “In the past, the private landline connection was not used. Nowadays, the boss can also make quick calls on the go, so the inhibition threshold is lower. ”That is why he recommends equipping the cell phone with two SIM cards and switching off the service number in the evening. Those who continue to work at home should also set fixed times and stick to them.

Children are a distraction

According to the 2016 stress study by Techniker Krankenkasse, four out of ten employees state that they often fail to switch off in the evenings or on weekends. Three out of ten don't even get their heads clear on vacation. Obviously, it is an advantage if the children demand full attention: 30 percent of working parents are still buzzing with work at home, compared with 42 percent of the childless.

Scientists from the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health come to the conclusion in a recently published meta-analysis that switching off from work not only helps the mind, but also promotes physical health. Accordingly, respondents who were able to switch off from work mentally complained of fewer symptoms such as exhaustion or disinterest, they slept better and longer and were more productive at work.

Put circular thoughts on paper

According to Hagemann, it is therefore helpful to practice rituals in order to create a balance in the evening. “You have to discover something for yourself that you really enjoy doing,” says the psychologist. Go for a walk, ride a bike, meditate, make conscious appointments with other people and go out again. "You can also water the balcony flowers or have an ice cream after work."

If you can't find rest in bed in the evening, you can also find relaxation through very mundane exercises: "It actually helps to count down from 100," says Bürgel. “The point is that the brain tires because it is bored.” It works just as well to solve puzzles or to paint mandalas. According to Hagemann, it is also effective: turn on a radio play or let yourself be showered by a light radio program. Often it also helps to simply put circular thoughts on paper. If you write down what things are due the next day, you no longer need to think about them.

Tricks against the compulsion to brood

Leave work in the office: Anyone who deliberately pushes the chair to the desk at the end of the working day creates a sign for themselves that their work is now finished and something else is pending.

Put your smartphone away: Hardly anything brings your thoughts back to your job as quickly as a quick glance at your business email. So better: switch off your smartphone completely.

Writing down beautiful things: What am I thankful for in my life? What good things did I experience today? If you stop regularly and answer these questions honestly, you will notice that there are a lot of positives to be happy about.

Be loving with yourself: Are your thoughts elsewhere again? Instead of getting angry about it, you can just accept it and be lenient with yourself. After all, it is positive to consciously notice where your thoughts are drifting.

Do something good for yourself: Be it a cup of tea in the evening or a daily text message to yourself with sayings of strength and encouraging words - anything that makes you smile is a break for the brain to relax.

By Alena Hecker / RND