Better Brain Health – Vivid

As part of the Vivid Sydney program, I attended an event on the 9th June 2016, called ‘The Social Brain: Better Brain Health at Work‘. brain-neuronI went along for both the Neural Knitwork as well as for the panel discussion which included Pat Pillai (community artist), Professor Gordon Parker (former Black Dog Institute director), Dr Sarah McKay (neuroscientist), Dr Muireann Irish (psychology researcher), and Dr Amy Reichelt (psychology researcher). We created neurons by knitting, crocheting and wrapping with joyful abandon. Once I had worked out what I was meant to do in order to create my masterpiece (!!), it ended up being quite a fun and creative way to socialise!

The panel gave informing talks on neuroscience and how stress impacts our well-being. ‘Well-being’ because happiness is something different. They spoke of how stress activates the brain – which is healthy when in small amounts – though chronic stress has a detrimental effect on both your brain and your body, affecting us in more ways than we know. What we should be doing is making sure we’re putting aside time to have a quiet mind and ensure we’re also getting enough sleep. Even at those times where we may feel we’re just sitting about and doing nothing, as well as sleeping, our brain is still very active creating links and pathways which makes for a healthier brain. It’s why we come up with ideas or suddenly remember something while we’re doing the mundane. So indulge in your periods of rest and random creativity and give your brain that break from the hard work you put it through, because some of the most important work happens when you’re not trying at all!