When the body experiences pleasure, the blood freely circulates through the brain feeding creativity and clearing the way to focus on the task at hand. The chemicals and hormones released with joy activate the greatest level of mental activity.
RESULT: We learn best when we are having fun. We act and think more productively when seeking to repeat those circumstances that make us feel happy.
All other emotions – fear, anger, frustration, stress, disappointment, resentment, even contentment – constrict or slow circulation, either diverting blood to the large muscle groups or slowing the metabolism, shrinking the capacity to think.
OUTCOME: When we are not happy, we see fewer options, if any at all. We can only focus on one thing at a time.
The brain is not limitless. In particular, short-term memory is finite. The container can only hold and process a certain amount of input at any particular time. In addition to overloading our circuits with the onslought of information being thrown at us in today’s world, the mental noise created from worries, upsets, disappointments and anxiety crowds out learning and cognition.
We then can’t remember and we can’t think straight. Neurons misfire, misalign and fail to activate. We literally do not see objects and events that happen and do not hear words that are said. In short, our brains run out of space and out of gas.
BRAIN TIP: Train your brain to seek happiness. The choice that most relates to creativity and peak performance is to feel good. Increase humor in your work environment. Make time to reflect on what you are grateful for. Set boundaries for yourself. Renegotiate your relationship with others so that they focus on respect and well-being.
Happiness clears the mind of internal noise, freeing up space to think. More connections fire into the logical and rational centers. We gain attention and consciousness. We can better evaluate options and consequences. We have a better sense of who we are, where we are and what we are doing in the moment. We act in the Optimal Productive State.
Self-awareness is the first step to outsmarting your brain. Know what your brain is doing.
Then choose to act in your highest good.