All Your Brain Wants For Christmas Are 12 Tools For Career Success

All Your Brain Wants For Christmas Are 12 Tools For Career Success

You have the most scientific and innovative tools yet to rewire your brain for success in 2024. What are you giving your brain for Christmas and the New Year? That might sound like a silly question, and you could be rolling your eyes, but I haven’t been sampling the Christmas cheer. Neuroscientists tell us that the brain needs certain things to perform at its best. After all, your brain is your best friend. It’s with you 24/7, and never leaves your side (or I should say your head). The truth of the matter is that you can’t have optimal career success if you ignore your sidekick. The good news is that as we approach the new year, modern neuroscience has developed imaging techniques to advance our understanding of how to nurture our brain for optimal success. So don’t be a Christmas Scrooge. Take advantage of the latest science-backed tools and give your brain the twelve best gifts of the holiday season. What Your Brain Wants Under The Tree

If your brain could speak, it would tell you that it likes and requires certain things to perform at its best. You can’t be successful without it, so it only makes sense to nourish it with the things it likes. Consider the following actions as tools that will give it what it needs for optimal performance.

-1. Green time to offset screen time. Brain scans of people who spend time outdoors have more gray matter in the prefrontal cortex and a stronger ability to think clearly and to self-regulate their emotions.

-2. Blood flow . Movement and physical exercise feeds your brain the excess blood flow it needs to slow the onset of memory loss and dementia.

-3. Safety. Your brain requires psychological safety to focus on work tasks. Under fear—such as an overbearing boss—your brain focuses on how to avoid the threat, distracting you from engaging and producing work tasks.

-4. Music. The brain loves music. Repeated listening to meaningful music cultivates beneficial brain plasticity improving memory and performance. Wearing earpods and listening to your favorite music while working enhances engagement and productivity.

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-5. Ample sleep. Your brain gets annoyed when it doesn’t get the rest it needs. But ample sleep restores clarity and performance by actively refining cortical plasticity to help you manage job stress.

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-6. Novelty. Your brain likes the creative mojo that comes from trying new things. Novelty promotes adaptive learning by resetting key brain circuits and enhances your ability to update new ideas and consolidate them into existing neurological frameworks.

-7. Social connections. People who volunteer, attend classes or get together with friends at least once a week have healthier brains in the form of more robust gray matter and less cognitive decline.

-8. Broad perspective. A broad perspective allows your brain to build on the positive aspects of your career and see future possibilities, so it wants you to keep the big picture in mind.

-9. Microbreaks. Short breaks of five minutes—when you meditate, deep breathe, stretch or gaze out the window—throughout your workday mitigate decision fatigue, enhance energy and reset your brain.

-10. Brain foods. Proteins—such as meats, poultry, dairy, cheese and eggs—give your brain the amino acids it needs to create neurotransmitter pathways. Omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines put your brain in a good mood. It likes vitamin B in eggs, whole grains, fish, avocados and citrus fruits.

-11. Brain fitness. Keeping the brain fit—with challenges such as puzzles, reading or learning a new skill—slows cognitive decline and prevents degenerative disorders.

-12. Resolved arguments. Scientists discovered that when you resolve an argument by day’s end, it significantly reduces brain stress. Your Brain Wants Order, Not Chaos, During The Holiday

The best gift you can give your brain this holiday season is order instead of chaos. You can find tips on how to mitigate holiday stress here . But at some point, you probably will have to perform several activities at once. If multitasking becomes a pattern, it can backfire. When you bounce between several job tasks at once, you’re forcing your brain to keep refocusing with each rebound and reducing productivity by up to 40%. Multitasking undermines productivity and neutralizes efficiency, overwhelming your brain and causing fractured thinking, lack of concentration and decision fatigue.

According to Ben Ahrens, neuroscience researcher and CEO of the neuroplasticity program re-origin , the research is clear that multitasking and context-switching come at a cognitive cost. He says it not only takes its toll on neurotransmitters such as dopamine, our “feel good” hormone that keeps us motivated and focused so we can close the tab on a challenging project, but our brains are not wired to adapt to long-term stress positively.

In neuroscience, Ahrens states, the most important thing we can do to reduce stress is to give the brain order. When we’re overwhelmed with decision-making, the brain moves back and forth between the central executive network and the default mode network, he explains. Rather than let our brains activate the default mode network— which is when we’re operating on autopilot and mulling over everything we have to do rather than doing it—there are tools we can use to activate the central executive network and bring order to the brain.

> Use 3 x 3 to simplify your goals: The brain likes to think in threes, so aim to have no more than three goals per week and three smaller goals each day to set realistic expectations.

Focus on the one thing to get the ball rolling. If you need help figuring out where to start, focus on the one thing that, once completed, will make […]


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