How Your Brain Can Wreck Your Holiday

Article excerpt

Byline: David Derbyshire

NO matter how beautiful the beach or stunning the slopes, millions of holidaymakers seem incapable of winding down while away from the office.

Now scientists have shed light on why so many of us spend our precious time away worrying about emails, sending texts to workmates and stressing about office politics.

According to a study, trying to block out a thought actually burns energy and trying to clear your mind and think of nothing is akin to 'stopping a truck on a downhill slope'. Dr Daniela Calvetti, a mathematician and co-author of the brain study at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, said: 'Maybe this explains why it is so tiring to relax and think about nothing.' Rather than opening up someone's brain to study how thinking - and avoiding thinking about certain things - burns up energy, the researchers developed a computer model to mimic how the brain converts energy into thoughts. The software replicates the pathways that link 'excitatory neurons', or brain cells that transmit thoughts, and 'inhibitory neurons', those that put on the brakes. …