Jun 9, 2018 • 31M

LA 072: Hacking Neuroscience to Re-Inspire your Get Up and Go

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Appears in this episode

Dr John Kenworthy
Helping marketplace leaders #UnStuck their true potential to thrive in life and leadership to build a successful, sustainable business with collaborative, high performance teams and Joy@Work with practical, neuroscience-based AdvantEdge Guides and coaching.
Episode details

We all want an inspirational leader. Someone to look up to, to give us hope and direction. A leader who engages us as individuals and treats us well, but most of all makes us want to be better. But what if that leader is you? And today you're feeling a bit blah. Everything's sort of "meh" and you'd like to just hang in there for the time being and let Future Self take responsibility for that. We all go through phases in life when our mood is uplifting, positive, dynamic and we feel like we could conquer the world. And then there's that "meh" moment, when everything is a little bland, and what would be really really nice is if someone else would just take charge and be the one to inspire and engage and buck us up. To choose to switch your drive and motivation on so that you can inspire others, we're going to delve into the neuroscience of how your brain works, learn what drives you (and everybody else) and then we're going to take charge of the chemistry cocktail bar inside your brain. The Neuroscience of your Get Up and Go (aka your MOJO) Your brain is not your best friend when it comes to feeling positive, enthusiastic and inspired. In fact, neuroscientific evidence shows that our brains are hard-wired to make us feel mentally crappy most of the time. Let me geek out with some acronyms for a moment - it's interesting stuff. Briefly, your brain is survival focussed and it is controlled by the Sympathetic Nervous System (the SNS) and the Hypothalmic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis (HPPA). Both the SNS and HPAA are reactive systems. That is, they register any (and every) possible threat and fire you up chemically to respond. This is fantastically useful in keeping you safe but it has the rather unpleasant side effect of making you feel anxious, stressed, disappointed and generally low spirited. Today's living environment for most of us, especially in urban areas means that both your SNS and HPAA are fired up much of the time in response to the daily challenges you face on your daily commute, in noisy, crowded offices, surrounded by beeping devices and with a boss imposing impossible deadlines... Modern life is taking a large toll on your peace of mind. Yet, you have another system available to you called the ParaSympathetic Nervous System (PSNS). And when your PSNS takes charge you feel great: calm, relaxed, chill, tranquil, clear-headed, and well, happy. Yes, the name of the Sympathetic Nervous System is a little misleading in our modern understanding of the word "sympathetic", but it is the system that makes you feel stressed or basically, crappy. OK, so a quick summary, your brain automagically, or rather, unconsciously, reacts to environmental stimuli through your Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) and/or your Hypothalmic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis (HPAA) to prepare you to deal with any threats. Once the threat passes, or you choose to consciously engage it, your ParaSympathetic System (PSNS) switches on to calm you down and get back to other important stuff like digesting your food, maintaining homeostasis, slowing your heart rate and so on. Just make a note that you can choose to consciously trigger the PSNS. I'll be back to this at the end. Before that though, let's study what actually drives you. i.e. what gets you getting up and going? We all have four basic human needs that are at the heart of practical neuroscience. Of course, your brain is an incredibly complex organ and variations of human behaviour are an endless ocean of subtle differences. But we can identify four neuro-scientifically founded basic needs of human beings and how these influence our motivational behaviours and how we interact with the world around us. As human beings, we have developed to use the environment to its best and allow for reproduction and the furtherment of our species - our survival and growth. Our physiological needs that drive our physical survival: hunger, thirst and sleep, are well understood. Here, we focus on our psychological needs for our