Everybody knows about the two halves of our brain. One half deals with logical thought, facts etc. while the other deals with feelings, imagination and other things. They are linked at the base of the brain by the corpus collosum which is the sole place that they communicate with each other. The two halves work together as they take in information from the world through all of your senses, painting a "complete" picture of what is going on around you. For example the left side of your brain deals with the names of objects, whereas the right side deals with the objects function, so that when presented with a computer you are able to name it and describe what it does.
Artists and programmers are probably at two extremes of the spectrum when it comes down to which parts of our brain we use for our work. Artists almost certainly use much of their right brain, whereas I imagine that programmers use a lot of their left brains.
Whatever parts of our brain we use get exercised and will be become more adept at what they do. So for programmers their logic should improve; for artists their artistic skills should improve also. But what happens to those parts of the brain that we don't use? Are they getting worse? Better? Staying the same? What would life be like if we made more of an effort to spread the work load over our whole brain?
I don't know what you do to relax, but usually I find that doing something completely different to my every day activities leads to me feeling very relaxed, even if that something involves physical activity. I guess purposefully not using the part of your brain that gets the most daily use, means that it gets to relax while another function of the brain is being used.
As a programmer I find that walking in the country side, enjoying the beauty of nature, gardening, creating something artistic are incredibly relaxing for me. I imagine conversely that if I was doing gardening or art for my job I would really enjoy programming as a relaxing thing to do.
All of this is just speculatory as I only have my personal experience to go on and haven't researched into any scientific evidence.
So my question is then, do you find the same thing? Do you need to relax by doing something completely different, whether by gardening, or doing something arty? If you do need to, but you find that you don't have the time, do you experience any negative consequences from not relaxing?
I know that I tend to start treating my family like programs, and expecting everything to be logical if I don't relax. This feeling of logicalness then becomes slightly detrimental when dealing with the emotions of a stressed wife or a frustrated toddler.
So do you relax from a days programming? And if so how?