Author: freelance writer Lucy Wyndham
Every week, there are new studies released that expand our understanding of how the brain works. You can turn a blind eye to these advances. Or, you can learn to put them to work for you and your organisation. Here are some tricks for optimising neurological performance that are grounded in science.
1. Monitor Yourself
Gone are the days of using a mood ring to study behaviour. There are now biosensor devices that measure your mood, respiratory rate, heart rate variability, and brain waves. For instance, you can translate EEG data into something you can understand and monitor your brain activity using a wireless headset from Emotiv. From there, you can understand when and how to prime yourself for optimum performance.
2. Eat Plenty of Vegetables and Fruits
Your brain and body suffer when you eat foods that are highly processed or have too much sugar. It impairs cognition and alters blood flow to the brain. This is why cognitive dysfunction is more common in diabetics. Natural whole foods offer a more constant, slower source of glucose to help with neurological performance. This means workplace cafeterias should focus on offering plenty of fish, unsaturated fats, cereals, fruits, and vegetables.
3. Meditate and Manage Stress
Chronic stress causes memory loss, and brain cells die when cortisol levels remain chronically high. Therefore, stress management is a must. Working memory in the brain gets a boost from meditation. Meditation has been shown to lower stress, increase cerebral blood flow, and improve focus, mood, and concentration by activating specific parts of the brain.
4. Cross-train the Brain
Stepping out of your cognitive comfort zone is crucial for neurological health. For instance, you should take up hiking if you generally play chess. Learn a new language if you mainly engage in physical activities. And, in the workplace, this may mean having staff work on projects that are not necessarily their strong suit.
5. Encourage Exercise
New blood vessels and cells are generated in the brain through consistent biking, jogging, and other aerobic exercises. Also, your brain’s volume increases in the temporal and frontal areas where working memory and planning go on. A workplace fitness centre and special programs will encourage the gains that can be had from engaging in aerobic exercise at least three times per week for half an hour to an hour.
As we learn more and more about how the brain functions, there are sure to be more “hacks” for getting more out of yourself and your employees.
Workplace Trends will keep you up to date with the latest research. Consider also signing up to attend our London Workplace Trends Spring Summit on 7 March 2018 where we’ll be presenting the best in recently published research about Work and the Workplace.