What Prices the Brain

The brain is probably the least talked about subject or organ.  Maybe it conjures up complexities that most people want to avoid due to lack of knowledge, understanding and interest are probably the contributing reasons.  (After all for many it is not an exciting topic.)  Who could blame them?  It was not until fairly recent, as far as science is concerned, that astounding research findings are available about how the brain works.  Even then, there leaves much to be discovered. Continue reading


Coaching Conversations in the School Room

In spite of the increasing awareness of Emotional Intelligence and talks of introducing it into schools to develop interpersonal and intrapersonal skills in children, the actual implementation is slow in actualizing.  It is a mammoth task as a stream of people are involved in making it happen; especially the teachers who must recognise  their need to change first before such adoption in schools can be made possible.  Perhaps learning to use coaching conversations is a good start.

So what is coaching conversations and their connection to Emotional Intelligence? Continue reading

Heard of Psychoneurology?

Hmm…until recently I have not heard of psychoneurology and I have since found that it is fairly NEW so much so that you would not find in any dictionary nor in Wikipedia.

I met a lady while offering my service to crew at one of T.Harv Eker’s “Train the Trainer” 5-day seminars last week.  I was totally amazed by her enthusiasm in attending the seminar.  She told us how she made an on-the-spot decision to come once she learned of the seminar – she dropped all activities, rushed home, grabbed her luggage, bought a ticket, jumped into the plane and off she went all in under 2 days.  She could not wait for the training to come to her in a few months in the UK.  I love her energy.

We exchanged cards and on her card, it says that she is a Coaching Psychoneurologist.  What’s that, I asked but I didn’t get to hear her reply.  It was a rather rush meeting so I decided to do a little digging.

If you have been following some of my articles you would know I am very interested in neuroscience, spirituality, happiness  and such.  This new terminology really pricks my curosity and until I found out what that is, it would bother me.  What I found is, it is akin to a fusion of science and spirituality.

Psychoneurology is the study of the interactions between the brain and the nervous system and by applying this understanding as a new approach to wellness it is said that it is possible to do it without using drugs.  It is a drug-free alternative to traditional psychiatric and psychological approaches.

The study may be new and yet it is not as it combines the latest technology in science with ancient wisdom.  It is about working on your inner self, deciding and making choices of the changes you want.  It is about integrating the power of the mind, body and soul – at least that is what I understand it to be.

The study of psychoneurology is offered by Barron University, founded by Dr. Colbey Forman.

It would involve an entire paradigm shift in thinking and to healing.  To learn more about this, you can visit these sites: http://www.gobu.org/quantumleap.shtml, http://www.bethelivingbridge.com/

This is very much like what a coach does – helping people understand where they are coming from, recognizing the unconscious actions we carry out are based on effects of past experiences that may no longer hold true, and that we could consciously choose our actions to reflect what we want here and now to become what we want to be tomorrow.

Aligning coaching with psychoneurology creates a powerful combination in filling the gaps of a counsellor and psychologist or even psychiatrist.

We all have the ability to heal ourselves if we only know how.  Coaching Psychoneurology may just be the thing to help us enter the journey into healing of mind, body and soul more effectively.

I hope to have a chat with my new found friend to learn more of what she does.  So look out for the post.

Velcro vs Teflon

I was totally captivated by this phrase Velcro vs Teflon” coined by Dr. Rick Hanson in the book “Happy for No Reason” by Marci Shimoff.  What is all that about?

Since it appears in a book about happiness, you could probably guess how this is related.  Apparently we are naturally drawn to negativity like Velcro and oblivious to positivity as it slides off easily like on Teflon.

When you give this some thought, you would find that it is not difficult at all to drag up tons of examples to prove that this is all too true.  Some of these might resonate:

  • Everyone tells you how great a job you have done but your boss thinks you have missed out one important point.  You take this as criticism and could not sleep for days; it eats you in the gut.
  • You think you are a good mother but when your neighbour complains about your son’s misbehaviour, you take a dive in self-esteem.
  • You take a test which you have no problem answering all the questions but one.  You think you have done badly and could fail the test.

All it takes is just one small “wrong” to throw you into depression, destroying all the good simply because we are designed to focus on negativity.

Everyone seems to be seeking happiness but finding it elusive.  Now you have a little better idea why this is so.  Negativity being a natural reaction (due to the flight-or-fight phenomenon of our fore-fathers in early life form) makes it comfortable for us to remain unhappy.  To become happy requires more effort; we need to learn new ways of thinking and responding.  Any wonder why there are so many unhappy people?

Thomas Leonard said “People spend more time WORRYING about what might happen than DEALING with things that do happen“.

Concentrating on worrying leaves you no energy nor brain power to appreciate the beauty of the NOW and you miss the opportunity to be happy.

To avoid this natural tendency, we need to practise appreciation and gratefulness daily to ensure negativity is kept at bay.  We should practise having good thoughts: notice the freshness of the morning air, the peacefulness in taking a stroll in the gardens, smile at the happiness of children at play, appreciate the thoughtfulness of your neighbours, and so forth.   Concentrate on these things and you will find the warm in the heart grows.

Marci Shimoff suggests in her book to keep a count on the number of times you blame, complain or feel ashame a day and you would know how easily negative thoughts creep into your everyday life.

In order to train our brain to be more positive, each time you record these negative thoughts, replace it with a positive one.  Eventually, slowly but surely, you will become happier.

Let’s make a commitment NOW to change this to:


Continuous Learning Into Our Old Age

If you have been following some of my articles, you will know that I have a little bit of an obsession with neuroscience and therefore brain plasticity.  I came across this video clip on a talk by Dr. Merzenich, on “Think faster, focus better and remember more – Rewiring our brain to stay younger”.  

Click this link to watch from Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyPrL0cmJRs&feature=player_embedded#  (Note:  This video is 1.5 hour long.)

With new discoveries that brain plasticity stretches past our adolescence until we die (if we choose to exercise the brain), then it is possible over time with more research and better  understanding on how our brains work would help us to maintain tip-top mental condition throughout our lives.
There is no stopping us from learning and the myth that we cannot learn too well in our old age is therefore not true.  What happens is that we are limiting ourselves in the ability to learn by telling ourselves we are too old to learn, often propagated by our fore fathers – you can’t teach old dogs new tricks.  Take the examples of many past and current world leaders, who, in their 70s and beyond, are still contributing to the world, learning to use the Internet, blogging, etc. – something which were not available decades ago – and leading lives in perfectly healthy faculty of minds.  I have often held these people up as examples to incentivize myself into doing more.
Obviously not all of us want to be world leaders but we could be leaders in our own fields and passions.  Our brains may be different and we may be good in doing different things but that does not mean we can no longer learn.  Life-long learning is good for everyone wanting to have a healthier life, both mentally and physically as learning put us in a positive frame of mind.
With new developments in neuroscience in brain plasticity, scientists are gearing to help not only those who have impaired brain functions but also normal people like you and I to do better in any area we desire to improve, prolonging and maintaining a better quality of life throughout our lives.
I am very encouraged by the stories I hear and read of people who continue to persevere in attaining their goals regardless of their current dismal conditions, perceived or otherwise.  By being continually in touch with such motivating stories, I remind myself in keeping up the resolve to pursue my own positive thinking as, like all normal human beings, we do from time to time fall off the wagon of our good intentions.
Making the decision is the easiest part but maintaining the stamina in our journey is often not as easy.  If you find difficulty in maintaining a consistent will to carry out the actions toward your goals, it is best to get someone to work with you.  It may be a friend, relative, spouse, mentor or coach.  Take a pick on whoever works best for you.
I am leaving you with a slide extracted from the talk that I find most encouraging:

Book Review – Your Brain At Work

For those who have taken the ICT (Intensive Coaching Training) with Results Coaching Systems (RCS) would know who David Rock is.  He is the founder of RCS now operating worldwide and the author of several books, including the most recent – Your Brain At Work.

David Rock conducted a workshop in Singapore this November on his latest book, the result of 3 years of hard work and interviews with renown neuro-scientists.  The book is a good read, delivering normally hard-to-understand neuroscience concepts in layman language to help us understand how our brains work and how to capitalize on this knowledge.  This is by no means a full understanding of the brain since there is still a lot of unknowns about this complex organ of ours and neuroscience, is a fairly new field in comparison to all the sciences of today.  However, any small step taken forward is a major discovery to reflect and test on and could be the life-changing event for anyone.

Catching on the neuroscience-interest disease, I have taken steps to follow the works on neuroscience in recent months, reading as much as time allows.  So this book is of utmost interest not only for those neuroscience enthusiast as I but also for any lay person who has an interest in maximizing the use of their brain  at work.

Some of the interesting finds in David Rock’s work are:

  • Conscious thinking takes up a lot of energy, more than we realized and there are some tasks utilizing more energy than others.
  • The conscious working part of the brain is small and therefore limited to a number of things we can do with it at any given time.
  • The brain can only manage one conscious task at a time and multi-tasking slows us down more than concentrating on one task fully at a time.
  • Multi-tasking affects our quality of performance and accuracy.
  • Our brains are very easily distracted by internal and external factors but we could learn to manage and control our thinking processes to maximize the effective use of our brains.
  • Understanding how the brain reacts to various circumstances and how to circumvent the negative occurrences for positive effects.
  • The practice of mindfulness helps in training the brain to better control and use of the whole brain to promote and manage autonomy and certainty.
  • Using the SCARF (Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, Fairness) model to facilitate change and maintain sustainable transformation.
Bottom line is the brain can change according to what thoughts and thinking process you feed your brain with regardless of your age.
If you are inspired to make a big shift in your life – either at home or at work – you may want to start by picking up this book to understand how your brain works.  It may save you a lot of wasted hours and ineffective hard work for a more sustainable and rewarding transformation.  To speed up the process, find yourself a coach to help you in your journey.