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VIEWPOINT: NEUROSCIENCE AND YOU

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I am a neuroscience-trained coach. Only now business is utilising neuroscience to improve human capital, performance and profits.

But what is neuroscience?

Wikipedia states it as the scientific study of the nervous system. Neuroscience dates back to ancient Egypt where it was used to treat medical conditions by manipulating the brain or neuron head office.

Advances in research have allowed neuroscientists to understand how the brain is structured, how it works and develops, how it malfunctions, and how it can be changed. Neuroscientists at the universities of Harvard, Columbia, California and Kellogg have discovered at least 14 neural and sub-networks in the brain.

The core seems to be the default network. Your autopilot is the part of your brain that fires up when you are not focused on a specific task. Here, existing knowledge is processed (memories, reflections etc) and you are able to find more creative answers to ongoing problems.

Physical changes attend the processing. These might be an increased heart rate, changes in blood pleasure and body temperature, beads of sweat forming, the production of hormones, flushing of the skin, gooseflesh, pupil dilation, or MRI movements. (Next time any of these happen, maybe even now, seize the moment and make more connections.)

Your genes and your environment determine your brain’s structure and function. It’s all about ‘nature and nurture’, and this remains real throughout your life. Development therefore happens continuously, not only during infancy as thought before. Your brain is changing in response to environmental changes literally until the day you die.

Your brain’s rewiring is changing the paths along which the information is travelling, not the actual motherboard. And your brain’s main purpose is the generation of your behaviours. If you want great behaviours, you need to understand what the brain needs to function (the science stuff above) optimally.

Neuroscience has found that your brain needs physical exercise above all, then a healthy diet and then social interaction to operate supremely. The brain determines how you understand your world. The more you understand it, the better you can be.

Now go group-exercise and share a healthy meal afterwards … and let your brain do the rest.

Author: Stanford Payne CA(SA) is an ICF-accredited executive and business coach