No doubt about it, our brains are pretty magnificent. Talk about multitasking! We all do it – watch television, read a magazine, realize how great the evening meal smells in the kitchen, listen to the person in the room with us, and be excited about plans for the weekend – all at the same time. We can do this because of our brain’s ability to make all kinds of connections. Our Brains and How They Work is our topic for discussion this week.
Our Brains and How They Work
Our brains have developed over thousands of years. For additional facts on the brain, you can read this informative article located here The Brain.
The basic construction of the brain is divided into three parts:
- Primitive brain – this brain region is about the size of an apricot. It controls our essential functions like blood circulation, reading, and indigestion. It also contains our “fight or flight” response to danger and decides whether we will stay and fight or run away. It’s also believed that when we are in stressful situations, the other parts of our brain shut down. It leaves everything up to the primitive brain, which is why we might find it more challenging to think clearly when stressed.
- Cerebellum – this part of the brain is called the mammalian brain. It surrounds the primitive brain and processes our emotions and long-term memories. It also processes information learned through our senses.
- The cerebral cortex – covers the primitive brain and the cerebellum and makes up about 80% of our brain area. It determines language, thought, reasoning, complex movement patterns, and other things like appreciation of poetry and music.
In addition to these three parts of the brain, we all have millions of brain cells called neurons. Each neuron has its unique function. Neurons use electrical impulses and chemical reactions to and from the central nervous system and within the brain.
Neurons store information and work together in groups to generate actions and reactions and control specific thoughts. Each neuron has the potential for one million billion connections with other neurons. So, even though we only use 5% of our brain capacity, you can see that there is still an enormous amount of activity in our brains.
Left and Right Brain Hemispheres
You may have heard the terms left brain and right brain. It wasn’t until the 1960s that a scientist named Roger Sperry discovered that different activities are associated with different sides of the brain; thus, the term left brain, and right brain thinking was coined.
The left side of our brain is the logical side, the mathematical side. It deals with details and organization and controls our speech and our language. The right side of our brain operates in a less organized way. It handles creativity, interpretation, emotions, imagination, intuition, and spatial awareness.
At one time, scientists thought these two halves of the brain operated independently. Still, more recent thinking believes there is flexibility so that different brain parts can learn new functions.
The Senses and Our Awareness
We all have five senses. Recent evidence shows that the more you can use your senses, the better your memory and thinking ability. The five senses are sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste. Our brain interprets the information from the senses to help us act, react, and stay out of danger.
It’s interesting that, although we all have the same five senses, we often don’t agree on what our minds are telling us because of our perceptions. For instance, how often have you been in a room where it’s too hot for you but too cold for someone else? Or vice versa?
How often have you and someone standing next to you disagreed about what you saw while looking at the same thing? How often have you liked the taste of new food, but your partner has the opposite reaction? This is all due to our perceptions of sensual information. Our brains and how they work are very interesting, don’t you think?
The Control Process
The brain controls every area of our body. It starts as an electrical burst of activity in the cerebral cortex and moves to the motor cortex, which sends nerve signals to specific body parts. The signals then move down the spinal cord, along the motor nerves, to the muscles. The calls go to every aspect of our body and control every action. More complex activities that need body parts with more refined control, such as fingers or lips, have more extensive motor cortex areas. And our awareness of this information is essential.
So, what does this have to do with business? It’s important to note that I don’t think you will have a business or anything if you don’t have a brain. Your brain is your Central Intelligence System. It’s critical to your business to be able to use your brainpower for the good of your business’s success. So, it would help if you did everything in your power to ensure that your brain is functioning at a top-notch level to provide you with the lifestyle you want. Otherwise, why be in business?
I’m just a phone call away if you are looking for help, need assistance, or need a business mentor. Book a complimentary call with me, and let’s chat.
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We’ve all heard about the mind-body connection right? Because it’s real! What that means is that peak performance mentally requires a healthy body, emotional well-being, and a balanced lifestyle. So, what ways can you think about to get you to have better brain health?
Better Brain Health Tips
Here are a few key points to consider when it comes to making healthy decisions for a healthy brain:
1 – Drinking water – believe it or not, most of us live in a constant state of partial dehydration. This means that our brain functions at less than full capacity. Alcohol dehydrates us and reduces the flow of blood to our brains, which reduces our thinking power. Caffeine does increase our alertness in the short term but also dehydrates us.
The rule is that you should drink eight glasses of water a day and two glasses of water for every cup of coffee you drink.
2 – Eating smart – most of us already know the rules about eating healthy. Unfortunately, it is easier and tastier to eat things that are not good for us. Anyway, a healthy diet consists of the right amounts of protein, complex carbohydrates, and good fats. That means avoiding a lot of things we like, such as processed foods, fried foods, desserts full of simple sugars, and high-fat foods. Instead, concentrate on eating protein, fruits and vegetables, complex carbs, and drinking less water.
Grazing, eating small meals (about 250 to 350 calories a meal) instead of eating three big meals a day, is finding great favor with nutritionists currently because it helps to maintain level blood sugar. It also helps maintain a more constant state of mental alertness, energy, and performance throughout the day.
3 – Sleep – everyone needs to process what happened each day, and that’s done during periods of deep sleep. Exactly how many hours of sleep you need each night is an individual thing that you should determine for yourself, but over time, lack of sleep can lead to poor concentration, low energy, mood swings, and even poor mental health.
4 – Fun/enjoyment – we all need it, even workaholics. Research shows us that taking part in some activities that we enjoy reduces our stress level and improves our immune system.
5 – Brain Training – Programs like Lumosity contain brain training games and puzzles that can help you maintain a sharp and healthy mind. Be sure to actively engage in programs like this on a regular basis.
Once upon a time, creativity was thought to belong to artists and poets. It had nothing to do with the real world and certainly nothing to do with the rest of us. Creativity was something you were born with, and that was that. So how does becoming creative fit in with today’s world? Let’s check this out and see what we can find out!
That idea has taken a 180-degree turn and bitten the dust. In our fast-moving times, whether it’s in science or business or many other areas, innovation and creativity are the things that lead to success. Without them, businesses stagnate and fail.
So, What is Creativity Then?
Two French mathematicians, Hadamard and Poincare, have defined the creative process in the following four steps.
- Preparation – You discover a problem and try to solve it with established means.
- Incubation – These methods don’t work so you go off and do something else.
- Illumination – All of a sudden, the answer appears to you.
- Verification – You assess the new idea to see if it’s any good.
It used to be thought that only two types of thinking led to creativity: convergent thinking where you draw on all your resources to solve a problem, or divergent thinking when you solve the problem by seeing it in a different way.
What Do Psychologists Believe?
In the last few decades, psychologists have come to believe that there are many different ways to be creative. They think that creativity is simply a state of mind in which a person is ready and willing to entertain new ideas.
Psychologists also believe that almost all of us can learn to be more creative. Some of us may be more creative than others, but we can all be creative, especially in the areas of the 10 intelligence types, where we have our own unique strengths.
Many times we stifle our own creativity with the little voice that says,” It will never work.” Often we say that about other people’s ideas, too. The thing you need to do is challenge that anti-creativity with a counter-argument. When you do this, you give your own creativity permission to flow.
What Do YOU Think?
Ask yourself open-ended questions like…
– Is there another way to do this?
– What’s the worst that could happen if we tried this?
– Are there parts of this idea that will work?
– What’s good about this?
– How can we make it better?
– What can we do instead?
Practice non-judgmental idea gathering to enhance creativity. Do this and watch your creativity explode. I kid you not! It works, for most people, including me!
Turning Problems Into Challenges
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is the author of Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, a remarkable book in which he discusses how our thinking can enhance our quality of life. He explains how a rich, strong, powerful person is no more in control of his consciousness than someone who is sickly, poor, weak, or oppressed. The difference is in whether he sees challenges as threats or as opportunities for action. This is a very interesting topic, a discussion on how turning problems into challenges can benefit you in your business. What do you think?
There are exercises that can help you think better, faster, more clearly. I hope you find some of them in this book, and here’s a link where you can purchase a copy on Amazon Flow. Geez, that’s amazing, right?
The Autotelic Self
What he calls the autotelic self refers to someone who has the ability to translate potential threats into enjoyable challenges, and thus has an internal balance. The term autotelic self means a person who has self-contained goals.
And then there are insights that can change your life. Autoletic thinking turns problems into challenges to be met and learned from. It is an approach that will change your life if you practice it. Now there’s the challenge for you, will you practice it?
adjective: (of an entity or event) having within itself the purpose of its existence or happening.
For most people, goals are shaped by biological needs and social conventions – things that are outside the self. The difference is that the autotelic self, or the person who is capable of defining things for himself, is also capable of transforming threats into non-threatening challenges.
This can be done with a simple change of perspective, a shift in consciousness: that is, seeing a threat as a challenge that you can overcome. Isn’t that interesting?
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Once you can do that, the steps are simple:
- Be crystal clear about the goal. Once you know exactly what the goal is, you have an understanding of what is needed to meet it. Then you can decide on a series of actions necessary to accomplish the goal. You can modify these actions as needed in order to meet the goal.
- Become involved in the activity — This means commitment. This means action. Whether things are going your way or not, you consistently take action with the next best steps. This demands concentration, commitment, and follow-through.
- Pay attention to what is happening – This really means that the project becomes more important than your own feelings about what is happening. Your concentration is on the results of the project. You invest your energy in the project. You are committed, you are involved – it’s about the project, not about you.
- Enjoying the experience – the autotelic self is able to set goals, develop skills, be sensitive to feedback, get involved, and look past obstacles. The benefit of learning to be an autotelic personality is that anything that happens can be a source of joy because it is a source of learning and a step to the next goal. In other words, there are no failures, only learning experiences.
This approach to thinking can mean the difference between living life in fear or living life in joy. Developing autotelic thinking will give you the ability to transform random events into learning experiences that eventually result in success.
Life is change – by definition and for everyone. Seeing that as a challenge to be accepted, enjoyed, and built on is the “secret” to successful living.
Now you can read the book at your leisure once you’ve purchased it and if you need any help at all, please contact me for a Free Call to see if I might help you with this challenge.
There are four distinct learning styles. Most people will have a preference for one of the four, but to some extent also use the others. The better you use all four of them, the more you will learn from your experiences.
See if you can pick out the learning style that you seem to choose naturally from the four styles below.
– This person enjoys new experiences and dives right in
– So, he likes the excitement of drama or a crisis
– And he enjoys out-of-the-box ideas
– He likes using other people as sounding boards
– This person enjoys theories and concepts
– So, she enjoys intellectual exercises
– And she performs well in structured situations
– She doesn’t like shallow, unsubstantial thinking
– This person enjoys detailed research
– So, he likes just sitting back and thinking
– And he thinks before he acts
– He doesn’t respond well in crises or with time constraints
– This person works well on practical tasks
– So, she enjoys putting things into practice immediately
– And she needs guidelines
– She doesn’t enjoy learning that does not have a practical outcome
If you can see that these four learning styles are all aspects of the complete learning process? In stage 1 the activist has the experience. Stage 2, the reflector, reviews the experience. In stage 3 the theorist makes conclusions from experience. And in stage 4 the pragmatist takes action based on the first three stages.
So, whichever style is your strong suit naturally, you can benefit from practicing all four stages.
If you need help with figuring out your style and what would work best for you, schedule a FREE Call with me, and let’s discuss. Call Me Using this Link!