The benefits of relaxation in problem solving.
Problem solving is something we all do everyday. It only seems to become difficult once we label it “problem solving.” For example, if there is a lot of traffic on your way home from work you might decide to take a different route than normal. You solved the problem of “how to avoid heavy traffic” when you made that decision, but you probably didn’t think of it as problem solving. This is because your brain is constantly working, allowing you to do something without much thought. A brain is able to multitask in a way that we only dream of being able to do physically. This is great for everyday problems, like traffic, but it can actually be a hindrance when it comes to solving complex problems. Your brain can get in the way of your thinking.
If you are having trouble solving a difficult problem it could be that your brain is overactive. Too much of your brain power is subconsciously being devoted to a million different thoughts that lie just under the surface of what you are consciously trying to think about. One way to avoid this is meditation. Meditation may help you focus at work because it relaxes and clears your mind, freeing up room in your brain for a solution to your complex problem to present itself.
Meditation as a problem solving method is very much like concentrating on a Magic Eye picture, which is a fun addition to post to a cork board in your break room. The image is nothing more than a colorful pattern at first, but if you shut out everything else, the 3D picture comes into focus. Relaxing your mind and taking a few minutes to empty out the clutter that is being processed in your subconscious can help you focus on your problem, and help you find a simple solution. Learning to fully relax to the point of meditation takes time and practice, but it is well worth the effort if it saves you many hours agonizing over a problem that seems unsolvable. Do you meditate on a regular basis? If so, please share your tips and techniques.
~Kathleen Sales, Quartet Blog Editor & Author