Brain-based · Change · Development · Growth · Resilience · Teams

Your Brain on Change

Change can be exciting AND exhausting.  Neuroscience research is giving us compelling evidence that taking care of ourselves is imperative to coping with rapid change. Our work lives often make it hard for our brains to learn and adapt.  We sometimes think people have a hard time with change, but, in reality, it’s our brains that are too stressed out and tired to make the effort. In the video “Prepare Your Brain for Change” Margaret Moore, CEO of Wellcoaches Corporation, explains helpful habits to cultivate a more resilient brain, such as:

  • Improve your habits related to exercise, sleep and nutrition
  • Change perspectives – rapidly try on new points of view
  • Take brain breaks at least ever hour
  • Think positively

These are wise words AND when I’m overwhelmed with work and facing deadlines these are hard to do!  It’s essential that we help each other.  And that we do so in meaningful ways – it reminds of the Platinum Rule “Do unto others as they would like to be done unto.”  If you are in a formal leadership role, how do you create a brain-healthy work environment?  If you are not in a formal leadership role, how do contribute to a healthy work environment for the people around you?

  • When you bring treats to the office, do you opt for donuts or fruit?  (I know the “right” answer, but I’d much rather have the other one, so maybe there’s a middle ground somewhere.)
  • A different way of thinking about cross-functional teams meetings is that they are opportunities to exercise your brain, look at the world through the eyes of a different discipline.  It might make a colleague, who formerly frustrated you, an enjoyable partner in the work game.
  • When you need a meeting with someone, could you take a walk to stimulate creativity and collaboration?  (As an introvert, this idea only works for me when the topic is somewhat “light” because I am easily distracted.)  Taking regular breaks to give brains a chance to “breathe” – what does this mean for you? And your colleagues?  What may be a mental break for one person could be a needless distraction to someone else.
  • When the going gets tough, summon a positive thought – I don’t think the idea is to imagine your happy place.  Rather, our brains get juice from moving toward a positive future, much like a flower leans toward the sun.  So keep your team’s eye on the vision, what you are trying to accomplish together.

So, pay attention to how you cope with change best and consider what habits you can improve to help your brain and your work mates be more resilient.  Please leave a comment to let us know what works for you…

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