Emotions, language and who we choose to be

Hello and welcome to this month’s neuro blog! And I promise, no more about paying attention! I appreciate that four articles – fascinating though they were, weren’t they? – on that topic is enough. But before we move on, wasn’t it interesting to see how neuroscience – and notably understanding how our brains process stimuli, including social cues – can validate what we have empirically known for a while? That is to say 1) that our perception of reality is strictly individual, 2) that, as a result, disparity of view (and consequently disagreement and potentially conflict) is in fact the norm, 3) that cultivating self-awareness will make us less upsettable (a word invented by the renowned psychologist and caustic writer Albert Ellis), and 4) that we must therefore challenge our views and seek to broaden our horizons by a) asking open and [Read more…]

Paying attention and happiness (part 4) – active listening

Hello and welcome to this month’s neuro blog! Last month, we discussed other-awareness and landed on the notion that disagreement – about beliefs, values and behaviours – is more likely to be the norm. I advocated tolerance but also proposed that you put on a metaphorical Detective Columbo’s raincoat (no need for the cigar nor the dishevelled look) and go look for the other’s person’s inner landscape, asking open questions to give them the freedom to respond as they wish, and thereby letting a new reality emerge – theirs. [Read more…]

Paying attention and happiness (part 3) – other-awareness

Hello and welcome to this month’s neuro blog! Last month, we discussed how paying attention to yourself – self-awareness – can benefit you in terms of enhancing your emotional intelligence but also bolstering your resilience and adaptability. In addition to making emotional self-management smoother, I have noticed in folks gaining in and practicing self-awareness a quietening of the mind, a stronger sense of self, greater acceptance of life’s daily irritants and a lesser reactivity overall. A third benefit I have noticed from paying attention to oneself is that it also boosts motivation, increasing self-determination and therefore improving one’s goal achievement prospects.

Let me now invite you to look at the other side of the coin: other-awareness. [Read more…]

Paying attention and happiness (part 2) – self-awareness

Hello and welcome to this month’s neuro blog! And of course: best wishes for happy 2018!
 
In last month’s blog, we discussed the fact that voluntary attention – what we consciously focus on – is the instrument thanks to which we can shape our reality – rather than it being just the result of an interpretative process based on our unique life experiences. Really paying attention is the means through which we can expand our horizons: by consciously choosing what we attend to, we challenge our ‘newspaper syndrome’ (for a refresher, see http://coachingforinspiration.com/my-brain-the-newspaper/).

Paying better attention as well as more frequently, thereby refusing to accept the limited reality which is presented to us, is worth our while because otherwise "[w]e can’t study, listen, converse with others, work, play, or even sleep well" (see Allan Wallace’s book ‘The Attention Revolution’, 2006). Apart from the obvious discomfort which must ensue from such fundamental dysfunctions, what is really at stake is our happiness. Lacking the capacity to focus robs us of choice and leaves us vulnerable to the myriad stimuli in and out there, waiting to turn us into weathercocks.
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Paying attention: the secret to happiness (part 1)

Hello and welcome to this month’s neuro blog! Let’s see: where have we got to? Three articles in, we know about the three parts of the human brain (see: http://coachingforinspiration.com/three-brains/) and the dominance of the unconscious. We also know that one of the main purposes of the human brain is sense-making (see: http://coachingforinspiration.com/brain-is-for/).

In last month’s article, we discussed the fact that because ours is only an edited reality which is the result of an interpretative process based on our unique life experiences, it is as though we each read only our own individual newspaper and perceive reality through a filter we are mostly unaware of. Indeed, we don’t get to choose our newspaper, we cannot read any other one and everyone else reads a different one – from mine, yours and each other’s.

It is a wonder that we agree on anything!
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What your brain is for

Hello and welcome to the second article of my neuro blog. In the first one last month, I described the three parts of the human brain (see just below for a second representation of the triune brain), notably the importance of the unconscious. In future posts, I expect to delve into how the fact that our brain processes are mostly unconscious impacts our decision-making and consequently our behaviour. But today, I’d like to engage you in considering what your brain is for. Obviously, there are many possible answers.
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