Break Habits for Brain Boost: Incorporating Intentional Pauses in the Workday

Team IIBP Business Psychology, Development Centers, Issue 40, Volume 4

Organizational research of the 21st century show how the fast-paced intensity of work, new technological advancements, and competitiveness have resulted workers to often get stuck inside the bubble of constantly performing due to pressure. This leads to blurring of the boundaries between one’s private and professional life, exhaustion, health issues, dissatisfaction with job, executive dysfunction, etc. Workers frequently work late into the night, which takes time away from relaxation and family time. This mindset of being available at all times makes it unable to escape their work, which has a detrimental effect on their ability to recover. According to Marr (2015), the physical evolution of the brains we employ to understand and use digital technology has progressed much more quickly. Our brains aren’t designed to handle the rising amounts of information we try to jam into them, and this is causing stress, which damages the brain. As we move more into a tech-saturated environment, workers feel information overload even during working hours.

According to a study by Levey and Levey (2013), when confronted with stressful situations, our brains’ higher order “executive functions” essentially shut down, shifting responsibility for making important decisions to more primitive and emotionally reactive brain centers that increase our propensity for panic and mental paralysis—reactions that only make already dire situations worse. Such circumstances put workers under pressure to process the influx of information, maintain their level of productivity, and foster their ability for invention and creativity. Past evidence show that one can frequently resolve these issues by incorporating intentional pauses throughout their workday.

Pause can be described as, “the natural capability to step back in order to move forward with greater clarity, momentum, and impact, holds the creative power to reframe and refresh how we see ourselves and our relationships, our challenges, our capacities, our organizations and missions within a larger context” (Cashman, 2012). Expanding Horizons through Diverse Perspectives One of the most remarkable aspects of social media’s impact on lifelong learning is its ability to expose users to diverse perspectives from around the world. Engaging with individuals from different cultures, backgrounds, and viewpoints challenges one’s preconceived notions and fosters a deeper understanding of complex issues.

When we take breaks, we intentionally give ourselves the chance to relax and recharge our brain. These pauses or brain breaks could vary from person to person. Pause, according to Dutra (2012), also generates high-quality energy, boosting our leadership resilience and capacity to handle increasingly difficult problems. Pauses can be made in a variety of ways— physically, intellectually, and emotionally. A pause can be made by taking a stroll around the block, engaging in 20 minutes of meditation, working out, engaging in a pastime, or simply taking a break with a good cup of coffee. The key is to carve out time and space for mental clearing, after which you should think and prioritize your concerns.

In a research, comparing patients who had a hospital room with a view of nature to those who had a view of an urban window, Ulrich (1984) discovered that those with a view of nature had shorter postoperative stays, better interactions with hospital staff, less anxiety, and more pleasant feelings. According to research, even a little period of stillness can lead to the formation of new brain cells in the hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in memory and the senses (Gross, 2016). Thus, the importance of taking deliberate breaks has increased in order to maintain one’s progress in their work and a healthy lifestyle. In order to conclude, I’d want to extend an invitation for you to incorporate breaks into your daily schedule.


–> Cashman, K. (2012). The Pause Principle. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler
–> Dutra, A. (2012). The Power of Pause. Harvard Business Review
–> Gross, D. A. (2016). This is Your Brain on Silence. Nautilus, 38
–> Levey, J., & Levey, M. (2013). Thriving in Complex Times. American Management Association,12(2), 34 37
–> Marr, B. (2015). Why too much Data is stressing us out. Forbes
–> Ulrich, R. S. (1984). View through a Window may Influence Recovery from Surgery. Science, 224, 420-

About the Author