BRAIN REBOOT - Chapter 2
Here it is explained why your conscious brain is always last to arrive at the 'brain-party'.
All of our opinions come to us through the hardware of our brains. This means that what you think is very much influenced by the brain’s architecture.
Here’s a useful metaphor. If your brain is the hardware, then your mind is the software. If something makes you fearful, your brain pumps out stress hormones and you literally can’t think straight. Your brain is too busy being an emotional machine.
As emotional surge gets us ready to take action and to respond to the environment, our brains are rigged to be emotional before self-awareness kicks in.
Your brain has only one emotional trigger, but many feelings follow. We (may) become aware and notice the change of our physical state. If we don’t, we are likely to do something uncontrolled. If we notice, we call this a felt experience or a feeling. This is the prefrontal cortex doing its job of becoming consciously aware of what the limbic system is up to with our emotional triggers.
Stress-related pathology are now leading reasons for visits to the doctor. The body’s response to stress generates wear and tear. Changes in diet and levels of exercise are not enough, even if we do have the willpower to affect our behavior change.
Worse still, if your heart is already exhausted and your body is getting poor nutrition, bursts at the gym could easily over stress your heart.
As I am sure you know, Olympic and other athletes spend most of their time preparing for their event. The event occupies less than 1 percent of the time compared to the preparation. Physical performance will not be at peak following a family funeral or a late night with excessive eating or drinking. This is as true for those in business as it is for athletes to perform at their best—to have a brain sharp enough to solve problems intelligently, requires a cognitive fitness. For our cave-dwelling ancestors, the stress response was a productive mechanism to deal with danger, such as hunger or a predator.
Today’s dangers are deadlines and targets, or more accurately our perceptions of them. At work, we need to learn how to control anxiety and gain influence over how we show up emotionally. Physiologically this means helping our brain not to generate stress hormones but remain calmer under pressure.