Mental Rests and Resets
Facebook. Twitter. YouTube. Netflix. The average American in 2015 took in 34 GB of information every day. That’s 100,000 words! My mind hurts just thinking about it.
Because of the deluge of data, our brains are becoming overloaded. We spend so much time trying to focus that we can’t. Our minds can only process so much at once. Though it may sound counterintuitive, to focus better, it helps to take regular mental rests. Taking breaks from thinking frees up space so the brain can think creatively. We need to erase the junk and clear our minds so we can process what is important to dwell on.
Personally, trying to tear myself away from my desk is difficult. Putting alerts on my calendar at work to pop up and remind me to give my mind a breather has helped me refocus. I am not recommending scrolling the internet all day or streaming movies on YouTube when it’s time to work. We need to do everything to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). But when we take the time to mentally unwind, we don’t hit tunnel vision where creativity and productivity end. Instead, stand up and stretch. This can be invigorating as it gets blood (and thoughts) flowing again.
Other suggestions for mental rests include:
These breaks don’t have to be long. Five to ten minutes is fine. But the little space you give opens the door to mental renewal.
Not only do we need to rest our minds, we also need to conduct regular mental resets. Mark 12:30 says, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment” (NKJV). We are supposed to love the Lord with all of our mind. If we aren’t aware of our thoughts, how can we love God with our minds?
Every morning I recite Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer” (NKJV). When the deep thoughts inside me please God, the things that come out of my mouth will also honor God.
I’ve learned that instead of letting my thoughts stream freely, I must slow them down and inspect them. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (NKJV). The enemy inserts evil thoughts into my mind. If I am not attentive, those thoughts will take root and choke out the truth. When I examine my thoughts, I can determine if they match God’s Word. If they don’t, my job is to uproot them like a weed, and replace them with truths from the Bible.
I am growing in how I love the Lord with my mind. Through His strength, I am stepping away from the onslaught of information to clear my head, and taking my thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ. No matter how much data enters, if it doesn’t match Scriptures, I need to delete it. I pray our minds conform to the mind of Christ each and every day.
2/23/2020 06:29:42 pm
Hi, Joanna! Mental rests are just as important (at least for me) than physical ones. Celebrating Sabbath on Sundays is a good re-set for me. I hope you have a blessed week.
2/27/2020 07:04:02 pm
Yes, I am learning the importance of the Sabbath on Sunday and short mental breaks throughout the week!
2/23/2020 07:01:16 pm
Thank you for these suggestions. I rest by walking an indoor track and often either have streaming peaceful music or silence in my environment.
2/27/2020 07:04:59 pm
I think that walking and listening to music are really great ideas to help restore the mind. I like good songs myself. Thanks for sharing!
2/23/2020 11:30:47 pm
I like to watch movies, take a walk outside (when it's warm enough), or create some canvas art or greeting cards to reset my mind. Being with friends helps too.
2/27/2020 07:06:29 pm
I think that being creative like making greeting cards is definite a way to get the creative juices going to renew mental capacity. Thanks for the idea. I need to work to pace myself more. I feel like the energizer bunny too often. God gives grace, but He also gives rest. I need to apply that.
2/24/2020 09:15:16 am
All the technological tools we have can sometimes stifle us instead of advancing our work. It does boggle the mind and rest is so important. That's why God tells us to take one in seven to stop our labor and if we heed His Word we will be refreshed and have more success. Your tips are valuable to remember!
2/27/2020 07:07:44 pm
I know technology is supposed to be helpful, but in many ways it can be harmful if we aren't careful with our intake. God's example of rest is the best.
I try to be intentional about not getting on my computer on Sunday or checking email on my phone. I work for myself, so this takes discipline because I feel like I might be missing something important. But I suppose trust is part of what Sabbath rest is meant to teach us.
2/27/2020 07:08:37 pm
What great advice to actually rest from technology on a Sunday. I think I will try that myself! Thank you!
2/24/2020 08:56:28 pm
I am glad to have the affirmation that doodling is good for us! When I was in high school, I doodled in the margins of all my note taking books. Maybe it wasn't wasted! I needed your message today--I need more times of rest. I need more quiet time with God. Looking forward to warmer weather and the chance to commune with God and nature.
2/27/2020 07:09:51 pm
Glad the message was a timely blessing to you. May you find ways to enjoy the Lord even when its cold! (And keep doodling!)
2/25/2020 03:55:42 am
All great suggestions ma'am. I'm partial to taking a stroll outside. When I'm writing at home, I like to take regular breaks outside. Sometimes I'll take an oatmeal cookie to my donkeys, Magic and Elpis. Other times, I'll break out a bake of hay and put it out for the cows as I just watch them come in for a light snack and short visit. And sometimes, Bubba and I will just park underneath the pines, pray, and listen for God in the breeze. I get more inspirations during my "Mental Rests" than I do sitting at my desk for hours on end. Thanks for the reminder to give myself a break now and again.
2/27/2020 07:11:06 pm
I love that you go out and serve your farm animals when you take mental breaks for yourself. That is awesome. Yes, when we take that time for our mind to have space, God finally has a place to get in the inspiration He's been trying to tell us.
2/27/2020 11:05:30 pm
I love that you start your day with Psalm 19:14. And, this was a powerful thought: "When the deep thoughts inside me please God, the things that come out of my mouth will also honor God." Thank you for sharing your ideas!
3/3/2020 06:10:20 pm
All we do is about our inner relationship with God, because out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks!
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Joanna Eccles has led Bible studies for over ten years and completed the year-long C. S. Lewis Fellows Program. She is passionate about discipleship and helping people know God better. Joanna enjoys coffee, traveling, and reading, and currently lives in Florida.