7 Habits of Highly Effective Brains

The United States Senate has engaged me to deliver a professional development workshop to the Senate staff later this month. This article is a brief overview of that planned presentation.

Recent research of the human brain has surprised the neuroscience community by revealing that our brains can change, and be improved, at any age in our life cycle. By developing simple habits, you can help ensure that your brain remains healthy and operating with improved efficiency for the rest of your life. People of any age can benefit from developing these 7 simple habits – listed in order of importance with the 7th habit being the most valuable:

  1. Have a Nutritious Diet. Eat a low glycemic diet with lots of nutrients. Omega-3 essential fatty acids have been shown to support brain health in countless studies. By the way, surprisingly blueberries are also an excellent food for your brain.
  2. Focus Sequentially – Don’t Multitask. John Medina, author of Brain Rules, calculates that a person attempting to multitask takes up to 50% longer and makes up to 50% more mistakes that the person performing tasks sequentially!

Be Physically Active. You don’t need to be overly athletic for your brain to benefit. Studies show that 20 to 30 minutes of moderate exercise, like walking, three times a week is all you need to confer a wealth of benefits to your brain. In addition, such simple changes in lifestyle as taking the stairs at work, instead of the elevator, can help your brain stay healthy.

  1. Participate Socially. People who are active socially tend to experience far less mental decline than people who are socially isolated. So look up an old friend, or get together with that aunt or uncle you haven’t spoken to in some time.

Sleep Well – And Long Enough. If you’ve been awake for 17 hours straight your performance is equivalent to having a blood alcohol-level of 0.05%! A sleep-deprived brain works harder, but accomplishes much less than a rested brain.

Challenge Yourself Mentally. When you learn new things, or even think new thoughts, your brain restructures itself. The more you exercise your brain, the better it performs. To really super charge your brain, take a class in a new language, or in computer programming, or practice learning a musical instrument.

  1. Have a Positive Attitude – And Laugh Often. Attitude changes everything, including your brain. Research shows people who maintain a positive outlook on life are better equipped to cope with even serious brain disorders. Accept what you have, let go of anger and resentment, and move towards joy.

By making these 7 habits part of your daily routine, you’re taking steps to ensure that your brain stays healthy and efficient for a lifetime.

About the author: Jonathan Jordan, a member of the prestigious Society for Neuroscience, is an entrepreneur, Certified Business & Executive Coach and international speaker.  You can contact him through International Computer Negotiations, Inc at 407-740-0700 or via e-mail at Jonathan@MindfullyChange.com or via phone at (321) 214-5824. For more information visit http://www.MindfullyChange.com

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How to Calm Your Brain During Any Storm

How to Calm Your Brain During Any Storm

There is a major storm in our economy currently. Understandably, this situation adds stress to negotiations. When you’re overly stressed the chemistry in your brain changes. Your problem solving abilities are reduced and your judgment is greatly diminished. In fact, it is a very similar state as being drunk! This is no state to be in when making important decisions during negotiations.

Here are some simple steps to take to begin to relax and reduce the effects of stress on your brain:

  • Take at least 3 deep, slow, regular breaths – this will start to slow your heart rate, lower your blood pressure and restore cognitive clarity.
  • As you breathe, let your shoulders relax and loosen your jaw – you may be surprised at how much tension you hold in your jaw.
  • Focus your mind on the present moment – to help with this maybe focus your attention on your breath passing through your nostrils as you breathe, or pick a spot on the wall and focus your eyes gently on that spot. When focusing on the present moment you prevent yourself from regretting the past and fearing the future – both of which increase stress. (For a deeper understanding of this concept, read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.)
  • When uncomfortable feelings arise, don’t try to ignore them but acknowledge and label them – recent research at UCLA proves this allows you to detach from negative emotions so they do not hijack your calmness.

Once you begin to relax your mental clarity will begin to be restored in your brain. Will this calm the outer storm in our economy? No. But it will calm the storm within you and make you less likely to do something irrational during negotiations that you will later regret.

About the author: Jonathan Jordan, a member of the prestigious Society for Neuroscience, is an entrepreneur, Certified Business & Executive Coach, international speaker and ocassionally speaks at ICN conferences.  You can contact him via e-mail at Jonathan@MindfullyChange.com.