How to Train Your Brain to Be Your Best At Work

How to Train Your Brain to Be Your Best At Work

The article is about how your brain works in different situation in your work place and how your brain reacts in these situations. This article helpful to control brain emotions and actions to achieve highest achievement in your career. Article also helps to take right decision in your work place and also in career.

How to train your brain to be your best at work

24rs to save her son

Control your emotions

Have you ever ‘lost it’ at work, and then deeply regretted your actions or words later? Have you felt so deeply insulted or hurt that it hampered your performance at work? Both cases reflect that you were out-of-control and were being dictated by either your reptilian or emotional brain while your logical brain was imprisoned.

Paul MacLean, the neuroscientist, introduced the triune model of evolution. It states that our brain has three independent regions— 1.the reptilian, 2.the limbic/emotional brain and the 3.neo-cortex/cognitive brain and they control our thoughts, behavior or action.

How the brain works

Your reptilian brain evolved and matured over 200 million years ago. It deals with survival and reproduction and triggers anger, stress fight or flight response. It also has no sense of language or time. Your limbic system or the paleo-mammalian brain evolved with the first mammals and it deals with sensory information and assigns emotions to events, thus controlling your emotions.

It operates in the present and is motivated only by pleasure and pain, like experiencing negative feelings when colleagues criticize you. The neo-cortex or the task-oriented region of your brain evolved from higher mammals and gives you language, perception, planning and abstraction. It also gets you ahead in your career by helping you stay in control.

Are you being controlled?

The three regions of your brain work independently on three tasks—survive, enjoy and thrive. When you are thinking about survival or are only enjoying the present and avoiding the pain, you cannot thrive or succeed in your career.

Your crocodile or dinosaur brain has triggers ranging from fear and survival including financial security. At work, irrational fears about your boss or losing your job can trigger your survival response causing you fight or run away. 

Your emotional brain also has triggers, so when you avoid the pain of tough learning assignments at work and choose the immediate pleasure of browsing the Internet instead of finishing your project, your emotional brain is in control.

Train your brain 

When at work, if you find yourself tilting towards irrational anger or violence in a charged situation, practice slowing down. Observe what is happening in your body— tightness of breath and muscle or an accelerated pulse rate.

Instead of reacting, focus on consciously slowing down your breathing. If that doesn’t give immediate results, go for a brisk walk to work off the stress.   

Let your cognitive brain take control. In case your colleague is seized by his reptilian brain and has starts abusing, choose to walk away and return when the situation has calmed down.

Use your emotions right

Your automatic emotional impulses are your internal guidance system that enables strong emotional memories from the past to help you take quick decisions based on intuition, hunches and feelings.

This is terrible when trying to solve a complex cognitive problem at work but immensely useful when there is little data or time to work on. When you experience constant anxiety, guilt or inexplicable depression at work, your limbic brain is working overtime, relying on past experiences and feelings to irrationally guide your current actions. Another check is—are you acting with little planning or being regularly impulsive? 

To change your emotions, first notice what is happening and identify your emotion. Notice momentary thoughts crossing your mind and consciously replace them with positive thoughts. Surround yourself with colleagues who trigger positive bonding or emotions, write a journal of your career achievements and call upon your library of positive memories. 

Exercise and meditation are two other tools that hand over emotional control to you.However, don’t ignore the benefits of your intuition. When there are lots of data points or a good decision depends on multiple parameters, use your intuitive judgment rather than being stuck in “analysis paralysis” where you wait for more data to come your way.

Win with your logical brain

Your cognitive brain is what guides your career by taking a long-term perspective of decisions and their impact. That is how you complete your extended education and training, avoid switching jobs or careers too often, work for promotions or incentives and avoid illegal activities. Use your power to take long term career decisions only after careful consideration and having gathered observable relevant data.
In short-term projects, ask if you have considered both positives and negatives of different courses of actions, what is the most important decision criterion for success and how do the different options stack up with respect to the key metric. Unless it is a life-threatening situation, question your impulsive responses and old rituals that get in the way of career success.

Get your decisions right

1. Examine inconsistency: Are you taking the right decisions at work? A good technique to examine the quality of your decision is to invite criticism and opposing points of view. Use active listening to figure out whether there are any factual inconsistencies in your beliefs. Focus on the cognitive dissonance to improve your thinking and your decisions.
2. Label feelings: Put a descriptive label to what you are feeling right now. Is your current emotion pushing you towards action or towards communication? There is nothing wrong in emotions, but you can harm your career by inappropriately reacting to your emotions. Talk to yourself about your feelings, triggers and impact of proposed decisions or communication.

3. Get a coachInvest in a relationship where you can discuss your situation, internal state and decision making process. This could be a mentor, a professional sponsor or a trusted colleague. Getting the space to communicate, hearing yourself think through and gentle nudges from your coach can often point you in the right direction.

4. Decide later: If you are not sure of your decisions, are feeling emotionally overwhelmed or uncomfortable with your thoughts, simply postpone the decision. When all else fails, delaying your reaction or choosing long term gain over short term pleasure, helps in better decision making by engaging with the best of your cognitive and intuitive brains.

5. Your choices: Finally, notice when you exercised your choice of reactions from those triggered by your reptilian, emotional and logical brains. Choosing between instinctive and considered decisions means that you are in control and are not governed by your survival or pleasure centers. Remembering your choices can reinforce and strengthen your decision muscle.

Courtesy: ET Wealth date-24 Sept 2018(Devashish Chakravarty)

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