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Swedish brain scientist says a regular challenge, break + sleep is the perfect formula for mental wellbeing

1 in 10 Brits no longer take a break during the working day

With workplaces opening up, the school-run in full flow and the pace of life gaining momentum,  YouGov research for Readly, the all-you-can-read subscription service, shows that one in 10 of us don’t take a break in the average day and half of us (46 percent) feel ‘guilty’ if they do.  Swedish Brain researcher Katarina Gospic shares her expert tips to boost well-being and help restore a positive state of mind this Autumn.

The research by Readly showed that 48 percent of Brits believe that the line between work and leisure has been blurred in the past year. One in three (29%) said that they take fewer breaks in everyday life now in comparison with before covid and when we do take breaks, 31% are scrolling through social media.

– It is important that the brain gets both the right recovery and challenge in everyday life, it is easy that under situations and a lot of home working we forget the little things we can do to give the brain a much needed dose of endorphins. There are simple tricks during short breaks in everyday life that can easily help our brain balance and well-being, says Katarina Gospic, brain researcher and author, currently with the book Digital Tsunami.

In addition to the well-established and accepted pillars of our brains: exercise, healthy food and good sleep, Katarina also emphasizes the importance of stimulating the brain, she adds:

– It can be simple exercises such as brushing your teeth with the hand you do not usually use, or peaceful activities such as solving crossword puzzles or simply reading for a short time. These activities require a little concentration but can effectively disconnect almost all other needs – which helps to both relax and to stimulate the brain by focusing on something else.

A study from the University of Sussex has shown that reading increases well-being significantly and is among the most effective ways to lower stress levels. Just 6 minutes of reading a day reduced stress relief by 68 percent, more than walking (41 percent) or listening to music (61 percent).

Katarina Gospic’s tips for mental wellbeing this Autumn include:

  1. Challenge the brain. When the brain is in balance, new brain cells are formed. When we challenge the brain by learning new things, new connections are created between the brain cells that give us increased capacity. By activating the brain, for example by challenges or social interactions, we increase the conditions for the brain to feel good.

  2. Break patterns and disconnect. When we work from home, it is more difficult to separate leisure time from work. Here it is important not to be connected all the time, to set limits and take breaks. Find your own brain balance, dare to break patterns and set up digital rules for yourself to follow. It will have a good effect on your health and well-being for the rest of the year.

  3. The brain needs fun activities. Try to use screen time for things that fill you with energy. Read about a new hobby, look for inspiring recipes or an in-depth report. Reading, even for short periods, has a proven good effect on the brain and reduces stress.

  4. Sleep and exercise. Sleeping and exercising will always be central pillars for our well-being. Under the current circumstances, it is not always easy to work out in the gym, but make sure to try to get out into nature regularly. Nature itself, daylight and physical activity benefit the well-being of the brain.

  5. Good food affects the whole body. In addition to the effect of good fatty acids that have been shown to have a good effect on the brain, there are a number of studies that have looked more closely at the intestinal flora’s effect on our well-being and the connection to our brain.

Readly offers unlimited “all-you-can-read” access to over 5,000 digital magazines and newspapers in one app for £7.99 a month with many UK and international titles available to read.   It can help stimulate the brain and replenish energy, creativity and ideas. For more information visit www.readly.com