It’s All About The Brain
The annual Gallup Lifestyle study reports that 75% of us are stressed, 38% to an extreme degree, and 75% of us say stress got worse this last year. Stress costs us and our organization at every level that matters. Research has established beyond any doubt that a brain chronically under stress is incapable of sustaining peak performance.
- Stress hormones cause higher order brain networks to shrink, retarding the creative, analytic and practical intelligence that enables you not only to succeed but excel.
- A stressed brain is incapable of generating the emotional intelligence that keeps you passionate about your work, joyful about life, and cool, calm and collected in a crisis.
- Stress hormones also block neural networks driving the social intelligence that makes you influential, authentic and trustworthy.
Stress also makes you sick. There are a million Americans absent from work everyday due to stress and even more missing due to presenteeism. Add all the stress related illness together — from heart diseases to immunodeficiency — and you have the #1 cause of death in America. The long list of stress-related diseases is driving-up the cost of health benefits.
Stress also accounts for nearly half of turnover and is rated as the #1 problem for 90% of senior executives. The price tag is somewhere around a trillion dollars. It’s a mess and few companies know what to do to solve it. Most would tell you there is no solution. There is as solution and comes straight from breakthroughs in brain research over the last ten years.
The neurological opposite of stress is peace. It may surprise you to learn that peace is a highly dynamic neurological state. It is a core condition that expands the physical brain structure to increase analytic, practical and creative intelligence. It is also the core condition that promotes a mindset for emotional and social intelligence, optimal health and psychological resilience.
Breakthroughs in neuroscience make it clear that the prescription for peak performance is to shift our attitude — from stress to peace. This shift in attitude involves a simple set of processes anyone can learn. These simple processes literally rewire the brain to produce a highly creative, emotionally balanced, and increasingly healthy employee. A dynamic state of peace represents a shift in perception that allows us to relate to demands without fear. A simple but consistent practice that shifts anxious, stress-provoking attitudes at the point of inception generates significant changes in brain structure and in a relatively short period of time, in as little as six weeks time.
- Higher gamma wave activity, indicating the brain is linking and processing information from all of its parts faster and in a more organized manner. Gamma waves are associated with high levels of intelligence, higher cognitiveprocesses, and peak performance.
- Higher levels of activity in the left prefrontal cortex, indicating that a positive perspective has become the emotional default, producing a calm, clear, optimistic, and emotionally resilient way of being.
- Greater activity in the center of the brain (caudate and right insula,) indicating a higher level of interpersonal resonance and social intelligence.
This change is called neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity means that a change of attitude which changes our experience, physically changes our brain. As you shift our attitude from fear to peace, your brain rewire. This resolves chronic stress by quieting the primitive neuro-circuits of fear and amplifying higher brain function.
In this new environment, companies generate a neuro-competitive advantage. The emotional climate shifts from negative to positive, from survival mode to the joy of excelling. Challenges stretch people in positive ways, instead of taxing them. Work becomes an intrinsically rewarding experience that energizes people instead of rendering them drained and dissatisfied.
The ROI for making this shift is enormous, solving chronic problems that are costly, such as turnover, absenteeism, presenteeism, worker comp, and health care costs.