29 Temmuz 2012 Pazar

Relaxing After High Concentration - 2

To Forget – To Empty the Mental Energy

What does ‘mentally relaxing’ mean? It is to forget the thing you have focused your attention on together with its semantical relations. Namely, to forget what you pay attention to and its relations.

To concentrate is focusing your attention to a certain subject and remember related things , thus forget the unrelated things. Hence you erase things unrelated to the subject from your working memory. You remember and bring relavent things into your working memory instead.

In fact the working memory of the mind should not be viewed like a computer addressed page. It should be viewed as a network and even networks of networks of which connection weights can be adjusted and reduced to null.

When focusing the weights of connections between some specific neurons increase. These neurons have to be related to the subject and may be located at various parts distributed in our brain.

High concentration occurs when the application duration ofdedicated attention and the character of focusing is augmented. Long duration high concentration occurs when concentration on a subject continuously for three or six months. The mind accumulates a large amount of information on a specific subject and tries to find a solution (for example in large software projects).

In the case of long duration high concentration, the brain adds buffers related to perception to the working memory and the short term memory layer(episodic and other). The slowness in the body movements of large systems engineers or the behaviour of surgeons after operations, for ex. Both group has the tendency to put their personal belongings always to the same locations... are the result of extreme mental load. This difficulty is the result of the working memory expanding over average size and short term memory getting overloaded with too many relations. Episodic memory and buffer memories related with basic senses get added to the working memory. The situation gets to the stage that you begin to forget simple things such as you have stopped at the previous red light. Smell and taste senses get weaker.

Under heavy load, the brain does not only lncrease the relations of the elements in the subject matter but also takes meaures to increase the relational mechanisms and elavating precautions. It changes the neuraş networks’ propogational properties by making the body secrete hormones. Hence, thresholds for making decisions change and it gets easier to resolve a decision regardless of whether it is right or wrong. The hormones that affect this, affects the person’s affections also. It is not a coincidence that engineers get increasingly more sensitive at the end of difficult projects or calm people get belligerent...  Strangely, things get calmed down by the end of the project.

The commands that the brain sends to the body under heavy mental load affects not only the affective behaviour and decision thresholds of the person. The affective changes affect the thinking speed also. The new propogation conditions created by the hormones does not only affect the macro level decision making but also affects the micro events of relational connection establishing and determination of connection weights. For ex. The abrupt and mostly correct reactions shown under emergency conditions depend on the adjustment of the thinking speed as well as automatic processes.

A global result of high and long duration concentration is that the mental control ability of the person increases over normal levels. An indication of this is the increase in the speaking native and foreign languages ability, also an increase in the perception sensitivity. You begin to notice things on your computer screen that you normally did not see before. You begin to remember the relational details of past events that you have not noticed before.

An even more increase of the thinking speed causes serious problems. You begin to see halucinations or hear sounds. Difficulties in using the language begin. You begin to hear other languages when speaking your native tongue. The same problems recur in your mind continuously.

A person under stress has difficulty to forget(interalia). The inability to put aside everything and to look at problems with a fresh mind stops the chance of finding solutions as well as deepening of the mental disturbance. It may not be a good solution to go to a long nice vacation in this situation. When you open the house door on your return, you will find the same problems exactly as you have left them behind.

If paid attention the stages that the problem occurs most seriously give strong clues to its solution. Forgetting is one of these.   If we can forget even some details of the things that happened after a mentally loaded day, if they do not come back to your mind this means everything is OK.The key to relaxing, to stay away from the bad effects of high concentration is forgetting.

Forgetting destroys the semantic relations network formed by the high concentration, erases the connection weights created for this network. The destroying-reduction of the connection weights reduces the cognitive ability and slows down the thinking speed. Although speed is a chemical or hormonal phenomenon logical structure may have a slowing effect on the speed.

Forgetting, specifically forgetting the context, reduces the load on the memory hence reduces the enforcement of the perception buffer memories to act as the working memory. The speed of the forgetting process may cause negative effects after heavy concentration periods. The person begins to get interested with many cmopletely unrelated subjects using the mental capacity he/she has created. Such as pushing self to remember details of things in the past, thinking extremely abstract subjects. He tries to continue to push self mentally with other activities.

When stopping long duration high concentration or even stopping the daily working process,mental activities with increasingly lower densities may help. One should leave some time to the brain to adjust. For example, listening English news first, then Turkish news, and then an art program and then an entertainment program... Close the TV and sip some tea on your favorite armchair...

By the way, what does normal people do when they use high concentration sometimes? They do not do anything intentional. Their physique and the personality that they have developed protects them. The problem occurs on people who work on large systems with critical responsibilities, concentrating highly for long durations or jobs requiring to carry a subject in one’s mind for long durations. These people break down the resistence their brains show to high concentration by material or immaterial motivations. If these people are not trained to take precautions against these problems they become prone to serious mental risks.

When your mind gets tired your attention drops and you begin to think different subjects. As an example to your mind taking autonomous precautions is seeing halucinations when the thinking speed increases too much. Infact halucination is a way of getting rid of excessive mental energy.

Your behavioural patterns may have a protective effect. For example, a person under heavy load tries to act using more plans.  Programming and planning, designing require a high amount of mental effort hence, help to empty the brain from mental energy. These not only organize the tasks to do but also helps to spend the excessive mental energy.

The problem is the excessive increase in the mental energy and the thinking speed because of the excessive concntration. They remain at these high levels for durations as long as 3 – 6 months and they do not drop down to normal levels during this long period of time. This unreducing mental energy and thinking speed causes permanent changes in the brains of the related employees. The employees must be trained against the bad side effects of long duration high concentration and they must be screened psychologically in a systematic way.

My next article will propose a method to relax for large systems employees who have critical duties. The most important problem with a tired mind is being unable to forget that day and its difficulties. There must be some memory mechanisms in order to forget easily. If we can analize these mechanisms carefully may be we can develop some useful techniques.