Harley-Davidson, the oldest (and some might say the best) motorcycle manufacturer in the USA, started their business in a shed – similar to many businesses nowadays. And, from such humble beginnings their brand, culture and status has risen to legendary heights – their apparel market and logo licensing alone are worth millions a year, before we even sit on a motorbike!

However, for me, there is an even more astonishing aspect of the marque. A brain-friendly benefit that is the star of the ‘Harley’ experience. Riding the motorcycle on an open road through the countryside induces in me such a sublime feeling of being at one with nature. It’s something that I’ve never experienced in a car. I feel like I’m in a bubble looking out from my helmet and surprisingly, I find this very relaxing.

It is also incredibly grounding: with only my thoughts and what I see and hear around me. As I need to be present to everything going on, it is a mindful experience too. It never fails to bring on that satisfying physical tiredness at the end of the day. I suspect that these sentiments stem from the joy of being outside and at one with the motion of the machine (not speed!).

I call this “Helmet Time”. There are no distractions, no thoughts of the future or rumination on the past. Just a quiet, inner solitude, tempered with peace, and total absorption in the moment and the activity.

This concept of Helmet Time can be enjoyed in different activities of course. You don’t need a motorbike – I’m sure you know what works for you. Sadly, I suspect we don’t allow ourselves to experience it as often as we should. Perhaps we are too busy, too tired or there is simply too much else going on in our busy lives. However, I invite you to prioritise your Helmet Time, in whatever form it takes. It has become such a cherished part of my routine.

How about making it a goal to discover new versions too? I’m always on the lookout of new ways to create a similar experience (see forthcoming Brighter Thinking Tips for more on this project). Having a menu of experiences which you can select from, that take you away from work, other pressures and out of yourself will add value to your day and help you to solve challenges – and you’ll enjoy the good times, with increased appreciation and energy. Plus, your brain will appreciate the break and reward you with more insights and creativity. Now, where did I put my helmet?

What do you think?

Let me know what you love as your helmet time, or what you are currently experimenting with.