• Dr. Thom

The Power of the Reset


Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash

“It’s not working,” my son is distraught because his phone is sluggish and unresponsive.


“What have you tried?” I responded.


“Everything!” he lamented.


He’s becoming frustrated. This marvel of technology is not supposed to be acting like this. Stress, anger, confusion, and indeed most of the problems people experience in their daily lives stems from unmet expectations.


I take the phone and hold down buttons on both sides until the screen goes black. And then we wait. The device needs time to settle. And then when we’re ready, we start it back up again.


Problem solved.


Do you know why high tech devices like your phone need to be powered down every now and then? It’s because multiple apps, each providing instructions for the device are running in the background, slowing outpacing the short-term memory of the device.


RAM, or Random-Access Memory, is the resource your device calls upon to multi-task. It allows you to have multiple apps running and windows updating all at the same time. Eventually, it just gets to be too much. When we restart the device, the RAM usage gets reset and reprioritized, making it more efficient and faster, and processes that are no longer needed are eliminated.


People are like this too. Often we have multiple priorities taxing our brains and a reset followed by elimination and reprioritization becomes necessary.


Shutting down is vital to our emotional health and that of your student. If your family is like ours and is approaching a fall break, this is a perfect opportunity to unplug your overworked mind. Psychological researchers have long noted that true emotional respite comes from genuine detachment from all of the daily tasks that fill your mind.


This goes for your student as well. Please allow them space to detach as well, especially if they are in their senior year. And whatever you do, please do not have them work on college applications while on family vacation.


We hope you and your family have a wonderful opportunity to take time to power down over whatever break you are able to take.


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