4 Brain Balancing Activities for High Performance

You are not stuck with the brain you have, you can make it better and I can prove it! — Dr. Daniel Amen

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At High Performance Strategy Europe, we have been delving more into the field of Neuro-based High Performance than ever before. The term ‘Neuroleadership’ was first coined by Dr. David Rock in 2006 and refers to the application of neuroscience to the field of leadership.

Why are we focusing on Neuro-based High Performance?

A simple answer:

In our mission to help leaders and their teams’ perform optimally in this volatile era of Covid-19, we decided to sail upstream.

On this journey, we unearthed the meta-competencies required for high performance in the 21st century — and we kept sailing. We wanted to get to the source of high performance and not settle on the expected outcomes.

That meant focusing less on what is being created and more on what is creating.

Or to put it another way — to focus less on results and more on what is responsible for creating quality results.

Here’s what we now know for sure:

Without a well balanced, high-functioning brain, high performance is simply not sustainable.

The demand being placed on the leader of today is more substantial than ever before. One need only look at the stifling rate of global change to feel a sense of how ahead of the curve leaders need to be in order to deal with this VUCA [Volatile, Uncertain, Complex & Ambiguous] world we live in.

More than simply leading by example, research is telling us that the 21st century leader must embody the culture and performance they want replicated by their departments’ and teams’.

What’s the best way to do that?

By focusing on a personal leadership approach with the source of high performance [the brain] in mind.

From the development of brain imaging technology and Dr. Amen’s research on more than 83,000 brain scans — we are now able to see in real time how our brains work and what is required for optimal and sustained performance.

On top of this, Scandinavian research on world class leadership shows that those people that are ‘admired and respected’ the most, have high levels of what is termed brain integration.

Brain integration can be translated into observable leadership qualities such as:

  • Being able to accomplish more with less action,
  • Restful awareness: A state of being both calm and alert,
  • Intense inner happiness &
  • High levels of trust and a reliance on intuition.

Here are 4 simple activities that you can experiment with that can lead to a more balanced, high performing brain:

1. Self Reflection:

Research shows that taking just 5 minutes per night to reflect on the day and revise attitudes, behaviours and emotions, is a powerful tool that can be used to develop compassionate leadership, self awareness and higher brain function.

2. Unfocused Time:

Drawing on the latest brain research, Harvard trained Psychiatrist, Dr. Srini Pillay, teaches that the lasting, positive benefits of adding deliberate and regular unfocus time to your repertoire, has a wonderful impact on the brain. Yes you read that right. Scheduling a period of unfocus, where you give your mind permission to do nothing, has been shown to stimulate cognitive calmness, jumpstart productivity, enhance innovation, inspire creativity and improve long-term memory. So how about blocking out 30 mins this week to simply doodle or stargaze?⁠ You may be surprised with the productivity that follows.

3. Playful Creation:

Here, the benefit has been well documented. Simply put, the power of play has been shown to help keep our brain balanced and youthful. It has also been shown to enhance creativity and is associated with brainwave states that keep us more relaxed and happy. Worth remembering the next time we take ourselves a bit too seriously :)

4. Socialising:

Research by Dan Buettner on the Blue Zones, yielded nine powerful lessons to achieve a longer, better life from the most long lived people on the planet. Cheif among them, was the correlation between a strong social network and longevity. The brain is a social organ and what’s clear is our need to engage with others beyond the execution of mundane professional tasks. It’s good for the brain to simply have a chat and can even be seen as an investment!

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HPSE helps forward-thinking leaders, businesses across all industries, entrepreneurs and policy-makers leverage their impact via our Neuro-based High Performance Trainings and our I² Executive Impact Coaching Model.

Written by

CEO | High Performance Strategy Europe (HPSE) — passionate about delivering high impact, transformative results for leaders, teams and companies.

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