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I remember when I first became self-employed. On my darkest days I spent a great deal of time feeling self-doubt, lacking confidence, being self-critical and asking the same unhelpful question, what is wrong with me?

Discovering the connection between the brain, body and mind was a complete game changer for me. I realised there was nothing wrong with me, it was my thinking that was wrong.

Advancement in research and technology has enabled scientist to explore more accurately the nature of human behaviour through the integration of psychology and neuroscience (study of the brain and nervous system). Technology has meant scientists are able to make links between the brain (physical organ) and the mind (human consciousness that enables you to be aware, to think, to feel and to act).

What is the relevance for you?

  1. The Brain is Plastic

It was previously thought that after you reach a certain age your brain stops developing and remains the same. This was found to be untrue. That old saying of ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ isn’t accurate. Your brain is changing based on your experiences. Donald Hebb’s landmark discovery in 1949, found that “neurons that fire together wire together,” and nerve cells that no longer fire together, no longer wire together’.

In business, it is likely that it is your habits that are getting in the way of your results. A habit is ‘the recurring, often unconscious and automatic patterns of thoughts, behaviours or feelings that are acquired through frequent repetition’.

Have you ever stopped to reflect on which of your habits serve you and which habits slow you down? The danger is you choose to take the path of least resistance, so you focus on changing your business strategies without addressing your habits. These changes will get you so far and then the same habits will reappear, and you may even end up back at square one.

Learning to become familiar with your habits means that you can wire and fire new habits that are more in alignment with your goals and vision.

  1. Understanding Your Brain

I would argue that understanding the basics of how your brain works is no different to why you need to understand the basics of how your car works. You know where to put the fuel, check tyre pressure and read the dashboard so you know that the car is operating as it should. This basic understanding allows you to get from A to B.

Understanding the basics of your brain allows you to know why you might feel stressed, overwhelmed or frustrated when things are not going your way.

You are less likely to beat yourself up,  manage your inner self talk and the stories you tell yourself as to why you can’t do something. Often unconscious triggers influence your decisions and actions which you may not even be aware of, yet they are sabotaging your progress. Triggers based on memories, beliefs and attitudes that have become embedded in your subconscious mind will bubble to the service without you even being aware of them.

Learning to spend more time planning, focusing, creating and visioning means you need to engage a different part of the brain. However, you can only do this when you shift your thinking from living in a stress state to living in a thrive state.

  1. Keeping Your Emotions in Checks

Research shows that there is link between Stress, emotions, heart function and performance. Your emotions will influence how you think, the decisions you make and your actions.

Have you ever noticed when you are stressed making simple decisions can be difficult? You can lose focus, perspective and likely to blurt something out that you later regret. When faced with stress or a threat, the executive functions of the brain shut down, leaving the limbic system to take charge of decision making. This part of the brain reacts to emotions and survival instincts.

When you live in a constant state of stress, your brain will register this activity as a familiar pattern. The danger is, this now becomes the norm. Negative emotions deplete your energy levels very quickly which further impairs your performance. Long term this will negatively impact your health and wellbeing.

There are several techniques you can use to shift your emotional states in the moment to more positive emotions such as joy, appreciation and gratitude. The more often you do this, your brain will start to adjust and recognise a new healthier pattern, creating a new baseline of what is normal.

How Can Neuroscience Help Your Business Mindset?

I truly believe neuroscience gives business leaders the scientific evidence and tools they need to understand how to optimise individual and team performance, make better business decisions and get better results.