Saturday, March 5, 2016

March Goals

My husband was watching that show "Brain Games" the other day. The episode was focusing on decision making. It really is a neat show, it has a way of drawing you in. One of the "games" they showed involved two groups of people. A red team and a green team. There was a balloon placed on a box hooked up to a pump. The players were told that they would get something like $10 each pump for the first 5 pumps, $20 each pump for the next 5 pumps, $50 each pump for the next 5 pumps and so on. But if the balloon popped at anytime then they would get nothing. Then they made each team watch a short video clip before having a chance to pump up the balloon(s). None of the players watched each other take turns.

All of the players on the green team pumped very cautiously and stopped fairly soon earning a pretty small amount of money each. I'm pretty sure that none them popped the balloon. But all of the players on the red team pumped vigorously and just kept going and going and going until the balloon popped. After the game was over they showed the clip that each team watched before they went to pump up the balloon(s).

The green team watched a calming clip of waves in the ocean, fields of wild flowers, ect; The red team watched a very fast paced clip: cars racing, wild animals fighting, ect; The Brain Games host then went on to explain that when our brains have high stimulant we make rash, rushed decisions. But when our brains are in a calm, relaxed environment we make well reasoned decisions.

I've seen a similar study done concerning the brains of children. The test took a group of elementary school children (I believe they were in fourth grade) and had half of them watch Sponge Bob Square pants before a test. The other half watched a very slow pace preschool age show, Caillou. All of the children who watched Sponge Bob did very poorly on the test. The children who watched Caillou did considerably better. The results were proving the same as this Brain Games episode, that high brain stimulation causes us to lose focus and think rashly.

This particular Brain Games episode really stuck out to me, and I've thought about it a lot since watching. For the past few years I've often felt a call to "silence." Whenever my brain gets crazy, or I get overwhelmed, or I just can't seem to focus I feel this call to "silence." What that looks like to me is the TV, radio (news radio for me), and computer being turned off (I don't have a cell phone or tablet but those would DEFINITELY be in that category). A break from facebook (or twitter if you tweet). It doesn't mean locking myself in my room or moving out doors it just means turning off a bunch of fast paced distractions for a little while; a few hours or a few days or a few weeks. I don't often heed the call. It's much easier to just keep the noise in the picture. I mean habit after all is called habit for a reason.

Watching that episode helped me to realize that silence is incredibly important and when I feel that call I really need to follow it. The Bible does encourage after all listening to that still small voice, and to be still and know... It's much more difficult to hear during the storm of distraction. Our brains are very interesting. Knowing that watching a fast paced clip or a slow video before a simple decision, like how much to pump up a balloon will completely effect how you react is pretty intense. Imagine how many times in our lives daily we answer a question or speak to a loved one or co-worker and our tone or answer to them is based off of the state our brain in that moment. There really is so much that could be expounded upon here. We live such fast paced lives now a days with SO many outside stimulants to our brains. Okay, I'm choosing to stop there.

I need to set down goals for this month. A good list of goals really helps me step outside of robotic, going through the motions, existing mode. I find that goals are an encouragement for me to live life not just go through it. As of right now I'm starting out with one goal and I'll try to use it as a guide for making all the other ones:

1. Silence


  1. Replies
    1. This has really been on my mind a lot lately. I think I'm due for some serious silence.

  2. True silence is hard to come by. I understand the calm having the silence can bring.

    1. I agree, which is why I don't seek shutting down all noise, and escaping from life but rather trying to eliminate the fast paced brain stimulation. I feel that calming my mind is a sort of silence and shutting off as many distractions as possible really helps.

  3. I've absolutely noticed this myself. I particularly make poor eating decisions after rushed & crazy & stressful work days. I try not to make purchases on work days, which has at least eliminated the financial damage I can do.

    Thanks for posting - definite food for thought!

    1. I don't think I've done a very good job making that connection myself, with the poor eating choices after rushed work days but I completely do that too. Its interesting to think about it that way though, not that I'm just eating poorly because I'm tired but that I'm literally making poor eating choices because my brain has been sapped. There's just another aspect of this. Wow