Getting Our Brains to Slow Down and Relax Can Be Exhausting

RoseTracker| Not thinking is hard work. Instead of assuming that intense thinkers are maladjusted type As who can’t relax on vacation, consider that brains operating at warp speed require a lot more energy to stop the wheels of thought motion.

“Maybe this explains why it is so tiring to relax and think about nothing,” said Daniela Calvetti, professor of mathematics, and one of the authors of a new brain study. It seems that even when we’re trying to go to sleep at night, there’s a battle going on in our brains and especially if we’re engaged with a topic or issue.

Stopping a thought, the brain uses inhibitory neurons to prevent excitatory neurons from feeding information into the chain of thought processing. 

“The inhibitory neurons are like a priest saying, ‘Don’t do it,’” Calvetti said. The “priest neurons” block information by releasing gamma aminobutyric acid, commonly called GABA, which counteracts the effect of the neurotransmitter glutamate by excitatory neurons. via Science Daily

Glutamate opens the synaptic gates. GABA holds the gates closed. To learn more about the go|stop battle in your brain, read this fascinating article Why thinking of nothing can be so tiring: Brain wolf’s energy to stop thinking.