An active mind sounds like a good thing—and it is. An overactive brain sounds bad—it is and it isn’t. Obviously your brain is always on. In fact, you may be doing some “mindless” task keeping your main brain busy which frees your subconscious side to solve problems in the background. (This is why people get good ideas while driving, doodling, and showering.)
My concern is we spend so much time on our phones we aren’t giving our brains a chance to stretch and flex. Like any muscle, it atrophies when not used enough. Remember when people watching was a thing? Taking in the sights and sounds? Sitting and doing nothing? These were real things people did. Short of that, try this to engage your brain.
People Watching is Still a Thing. As Sherlock Holmes said, “You look, but you do not see.” By becoming a much more observant person who misses nothing, we challenge our brain. Look for clues about a person we are observing to see things most others miss.
Problems are opportunities. Throughout the day things will go wrong, annoy us, and get in our way. Instead of complaining about them or wishing them away, just for the fun of it try to think of a solution—even if it will never see the light of day. Do it for you.
“Yes, and . . . ” thinking. This technique is used in improv comedy and brainstorming to expand on an idea. We can do it when nobody is around, too. When we answer yes we can challenge ourselves to see if there is more we can do.