Monthly Archives: February 2019

GIVING YOUR BRAIN A REST

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With restful sleep, the brain also requires restful downtime. To ensure that the brain has stamina when it is most needed, a person must experience awake rest during the day. Awake rest may include:

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* Sitting quietly.

* Playing a game for five minutes.

* Laughing.

* Listening to music.

* Meditating.

Ten-minute breaks can help refresh and rest the brain while at work, but longer stretches of awake rest are also required during the day. Individuals can try working for 50 minutes at a time, and then taking 10-minute pauses.

Downtime is critical for the adult human brain. With proper downtime, a person’s “up time” can be much more productive.

MOVE TO IMPROVE YOUR STAMINA AND YOUR BRAIN

Exercise can also improve mental stamina and mental performance. The increased intake of oxygen, combined with increased blood flow, means that physical exercise is the single best thing a person can do to keep his or her brain healthy. Mental exercise is also an important part of keeping the brain limber, of course, but being active up to 150 minutes per week can radically improve a person’s mental outlook.

SIGNIFICANCE THROUGH CONNECTEDNESS: MOTHER NATURE’S BONDING GLUE

The brain is constantly growing and changing, and people enjoy the feeling of connectedness that arises when they have meaningful, significant interactions with other humans. Humans are social creatures, and the brain therefore works at its optimum level when a person has trusting, connected relationships with others.

Building trust and bonding with colleagues changes neurochemistry for the better, and generally leads to higher quality results on collaborative projects.

People should take the time to communicate emotionally with colleagues and really get to know them. When discussing workplace matters, people should respond to questions and comments with statements that show an active interest in the speaker and his or her contributions. These bonding moments can foster an environment where people feel more confident and connected.

THE EGO: CHOOSING YOUR BEST YOU

Ego management is crucial for people who are trying to build trusting relationships. Ego plays a big role in how people approach everyday interactions, and keeping an eye on ego ensures that people communicate in a way that builds trust with others. Some people naturally have strong egos, while others have weak egos.

In some situations, being too assertive can undermine efforts to build trust.

The same is true of people who have weak egos. Individuals can take a personal inventory to determine whether the majority of daily interactions are being helped or hampered by their egos. The ego can never really go away, but being aware of the strength of one’s ego can help teams and individuals work at a higher level.

COLLABORATION: THE ULTIMATE SURVIVAL TOOL OF HUMANS

Collaboration has allowed human beings to survive and thrive since the dawn of time. Collaboration influences human neurochemistry in a positive way.

Working in a team causes feelings of joy in the brain. To maximize a team’s potential, team members should get to know the other members of the team and take note of ways they can best contribute based on their skills.

Communication is a key part of building a winning team. A team that works well together will not have to overcome as many neurochemical pitfalls, such as stress or distractions.

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GOAL ACHIEVEMENT

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Crossing items off a to-do list gives the brain a dopamine bump, and that pleasant feeling encourages people to repeat behaviors. Achieving goals page20prismstarts by first setting them. Achieving small goals can be just as pleasurable for the brain as achieving large goals. However, some people struggle with gaining the momentum to achieve big goals. To break long-term goals into short-term accomplishments, individuals can follow the guidelines of the STTARR model:

* See the goal–visualize it and write it down.

* Touch on something to do with the goal every day.

* Think about how the last step taken toward the goal went.

* Adjust the plan, if necessary.

* Reward oneself in small ways to maintain motivation.

* Repeat until the goal has been achieved.

Another trick for achieving goals is to use the “5D” system. Under this system, each item on a to-do list is placed into one of five categories:

  1. Do: Stuff that can be checked off the list today.
  2. Delegate: Stuff that needs to be done today or soon and can be passed along to a subordinate.
  3. Delay: Items that can be pushed off for now (items should not stay here for more than four days).
  4. Discard: Items that can be removed from the list.
  5. Dream: This is a big goal to achieve in one’s lifetime. This item should go on the bottom of every new to-do list going forward.

How Brain can improve your Work

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How the average person can become above average by gaining a better understanding of his or her own brain. Arguing that there is science to becoming a top performer, Halford (author from where I have got inspired) explained the basics of neurochemistry. With those preliminaries out of the way, he then shows how anyone with an understanding of neurochemistry can take control of his or her life, build confidence, and achieve goals. By offering readers an inner look at the complex workings of the mind, Halford empowers people to make healthy choices and build rapport with colleagues.

 

ACTIVATING YOUR BRAIN

By making small, easy choices, anyone can activate the brain’s potential.

These small choices can help people become more productive and feel more effective, but individuals must first attain a suitable level of self-awareness.

The average person in the business world is particularly susceptible to behaviors that can limit brain activation. The average work day for a businessperson will likely involve multiple distractions and stressful situations, which can lead to crises of well-being. Counteracting these workplace pitfalls is all about activation, the “do it again” circuitry in the brain. When the brain is activated, it works better. Activation is the first step on the long journey toward self-actualization and creating significance in one’s life.

THE CHOICE TO START: ACTIVATION FOR MOTIVATION

In order to start the process of brain activation, individuals need to make the conscious decision to start taking control of their choices. Choice is an important part of being human. People feel more in control when they are in a position to make choices, and they feel threatened in cases where they cannot make decisions. The need to make choices must be fed, or people can suffer from behavioral problems.

When people have decided to take control of their minds, they should start by repeating the activation mantra, “Start small, start now.” Even completing small, simple tasks like cleaning off their desks, organizing their email inboxes, or balancing their checkbooks can help people feel more energized.

That energy can fuel bigger goals and help people feel like they are gaining control over their hectic lives.

OUR THREE BRAINS

As humans evolved, their brains evolved as well. The root of the human brain is the brain stem, which is known as the reptilian brain. This part of the brain controls automatic functions like breathing and perspiration. It is the oldest part of the brain. On top of this structure is the mammalian brain, which controls emotions and helps people process anything that is deemed relevant to their survival. The third brain, the human part of the brain, is called the neocortex. This area of the brain is the seat of reason, logical thought, and innovation–all things that make humans distinct from their closest animal relatives.

All three brains play a part in the mental well-being of a person. People who have exceptional minds for logic and innovation may find themselves derailed when they cannot strike a balance between all three parts of the brain. In times of strong emotion, the mammalian brain can overpower the human brain, and a person must be aware of this tendency during times of crisis.

MAXIMIZE YOUR MOMENTS THROUGH YOUR NEUROCHEMISTRY

Neurochemistry refers to the complex balance of chemicals in the brain.

Neurochemistry affects how different parts of the brain interact, and how the brain as a whole guides individuals’ responses. Neurochemistry is often impacted by perception. If a person perceives a situation as threatening, he or she will react very differently than if the situation was seen as being beneficial to survival.

Most positive and negative feelings can be placed in one of four emotional quadrants:

  1. Quadrant I contains feelings that are highly positive and correspond to states of high arousal and high adrenaline. Feelings in this quadrant include glee and joy.
  2. Quadrant II contains feelings that are slightly less positive and correspond with lower levels of arousal and adrenal. This quadrant contains feelings such as serenity or contentment.
  3. Quadrant III contains feelings that are slightly negative and correspond to low levels of arousal and adrenaline. These feelings include apprehension and irritation.
  4. Quadrant IV feelings include terror, rage, and despair. These emotions are very negative and exist in a state of high arousal and high adrenaline.

Much of the brain’s inner workings are devoted to detecting threats.

Adrenaline is a hormone that puts people into a high state of arousal, and it is associated with the “fight, flight, or freeze” mechanism in the brain. When adrenaline is released in combination with cortisol, the stress hormone, people experience negative emotions. Being aware of negative emotions is important, as it alerts people to potential problems. However, people must avoid letting their negative emotions control them.

On the other side of the equation are three hormones associated with positive emotions. Dopamine is a hormone that releases pleasant feelings, and its release in the brain primes the mind to repeat the behaviors that brought about the release of dopamine in the first place. There is also Norepinephrine, a hormone that creates a sense of alertness and engagement. It is often released during exercise or laughter. Oxytocin is a hormone that is linked to bonding and collaboration behaviors. Engaging in behaviors that release positive hormones can help re-balance a brain that is beset by negative emotions. Self-aware people are able to better identify what quadrant of emotions they are feeling in a given moment and take steps to change their moods by engaging in behaviors that restore balance to the brain.

MOVING FROM THREAT TO THRIVE

In nearly every daily interaction, a person is either moving toward something or away from something. This is referred to as approach-avoidance behavior.

Even the simple act of going to work in the morning is imbued with meaning.

If people go to work because they love what they do, that is a positive interaction. However, if they go to work simply because they do not want to go broke, that is actually an avoidance behavior, tinged with negativity. The positive behavior capitalizes on the brain’s reward chemistry, while the negative approach to going to work does not. By putting in an effort to change one’s perspective on events, it is possible to turn a negative avoidance behavior into a positive approach behavior.

Sometimes, it can be hard to determine whether a person is engaging in approach or avoidance behaviors. Some factors to consider to help determine a person’s current state of mind are:

* Status: Higher status often translates to an approach state of mind.

* Certainty: Uncertainty brings negativity.

* Autonomy: Having the power to make decisions alone is empowering.

* Relatedness: When a person can relate to the people around him or her, it is more likely he or she will engage in approach behaviors.

* Fairness: The brain interprets fairness as a reward, so situations where a person feels that he or she is treated fairly result in approach behaviors.

TAKING CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE

Taking control of one’s life is an important step on the path to enhanced performance. Control is tied to one’s perspective, with people generally defaulting to either an internal or external locus of control. Some people gravitate toward an internal locus of control, believing that they have control of situations.

For example, an internally focused person who applies for a job and fails to secure the position might take the initiative to enhance his or her résumé to secure a similar position in the future. In contrast, an externally focused person might take the view that others generally have control of situations.

This type of person would not be proactive about improving his or her résumé because he or she would feel that the situation was beyond his or her control.

When people feel like they can take control of their lives, their confidence will increase.