So the Wall Street Journal tells us that the best way to recharge your brain is to take a walk in a park, or on a quiet street. News you can use if your office happens to be in Greenwich, CT, right?
I think what I enjoy most about this is the fact that mood is not only not the focus here, but explicitly excluded from the researchers’ calculus:
“You don’t necessarily have to enjoy the walk to get the benefit,” says Dr. Berman. “What you like is not necessarily going to be good for you.”
So, the Red Bull theory of mental alertness. (I’m still not convinced that anybody actually likes the flavor of Red Bull; it’s like Brussels sprouts, except full of chemicals and actually does taste terrible.) No advice here of how to enjoy what you’re doing when you get back to your desk; maybe the Journal is saving that for next week.
I find this kind of research interesting, but it does remind me of what Michael Pollan calls “nutritionism.” That is, the idea that we can break everything down into its component parts, distill out the parts we like, and lose nothing in the transaction. Decision fatigue is a real problem, and coping mechanisms are helpful, but one wonders whether, if you find yourself in this situation too often, you shouldn’t be looking at some of the larger scale stuff if you can.