Science Talks: The benefits of Microbreaks
Do you know what is a microbreak?
It is a short break you take from work (or anything that calls for your unhindered attention) in order to help your mind refresh, hence perform better.
Working for many hours straight, without any break or at least some stretching doesn’t signal a hard-working professional. On the contrary, there is academic proof now that our brain ceases to focus after a while, so we stop being productive or creative.
Do you know what the Troxler effect is? Try to pay continual attention to a non-moving object. In about 20 seconds you will be surprised to realize that the object has “disappeared” from your view. This is how our brain responds to intense focus- and how it can filter reality by the way. The work of University of Illinois psychology professor Alejandro Lleras supported though that the Troxler effect can occur when we focus on any cognitive item. In other words, if you pay many hours thinking about a problem or a project you mind starts losing focus and after a while you stop being intuitive or critical. After some point, you brain just stops being productive. But, if you take a short break and you allow your mind to let go of the project and engage to anything else, then when you return your interest and focus ability are refreshed and restarted.
We used to believe that these microbreaks could be a quick lunch, a short work, any other type of cognitive process, or whatever works for each one. But another research tested the effect of different types of microbreaks- lunch, relaxation, cognitive tasks, social activities- on the relationship between work demands and negative affect. What they found is that performance actually increases only after microbreaks including relaxation or social activities- nutrition intakes, with the exception of caffeinated products or cognitive tasks actually aggravate the negative effect. Additionally, a Stanford University research stresses the importance of letting our eyes wander for a while during the microbreaks.
When we put all these scientific findings together, we build a strong case for the benefits of the Solas VR meditations as micro-break activities. The VR experience triggers the mind to react like we really are in nature, while the eyes wander among trees and rivers, while at the office. The guided meditation allows the brain to relax and let any thought go, so when you take your VR headset off, you find yourself refreshed, with a new interest and viewpoint in the task you have been working at.