Changing behaviour is difficult. It can provoke both anxiety, anger and stress. But why? What exactly happens in your brain when you try to make a change? I have asked neuroscientist, Gabija Toleikyte, to help us understand change from a neurological perspective – how your brain works, and what you can do to help it change.
Fons will talk about
- Some of the biggest breakthroughs in recent time in neuroscience.
- How to ‘trick’ your Mammal brain into liking a change.
- Why we need the Prefrontal Cortex to change and how to activate it.
- How leadership style can affect the brain’s willingness to change.
- The Amygdala: A small part of the Mammal brain that can hijack your rational behaviour and cause anxiety, anger etc.
Are you too busy? Here are the key points
We can learn a lot from neuroscience when we want to make a change. Here are my three key takeaways.
#1 We underestimate what it takes to make a change. The oldest parts of our brain – the reptilian and Mammalian regions – don’t like change. In fact, they want to preserve the status quo. Luckily, the more recently evolved parts – such as the Prefrontal Cortex – embrace change. We must use our new brain to educate our old brain. Only then will we be successful.
#2 We need energy and mental health to activate the Prefrontal Cortex. If your brain is in survival mode – e.g., being overly busy, emotionally vulnerable or simply too tired – the Mammalian brain takes control of your actions, immediately going back to old habits. So, sleep well, eat well and avoid being in a stressful state when going through a change. That will help the Prefrontal Cortex maintain control.
#3 Be careful about the Amygdala Hijack. David Goleman described an Amygdala Hijack as a personal and emotional response that is overwhelming and out of measure. If we feel threatened, the Amygdala can ‘hijack’ your rational behaviour and cause anxiety, anger etc. Use mindfulness to control your Amygdala.
Curious for more? Here are the links I promised
If you want to know more about nudging or my guest, Gabija Toleikyte, you can follow the links below.
- Gabija on LinkedIn
- Gabija on Twitter
- Her new book: Why the F*ck Can’t I Change
- TEDx on Neuroscience of Empowering Leadership
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