This blog is authored by Nirupam Das
I was introduced to Neuroscience when my mentor coach – Arvind asked me to research and present on Neuroscience for Coaches in one of our coaching sessions. The topic changed my whole perspective on how I looked at myself and what happens biologically to our brains when I coach or am getting coached. I am sharing some facts on how our brains work and some hacks (with my personal example) as to how I have started to make my brain work more effectively.
Our brains are an amazing work of evolution and there is no technology today which can match the skills that a brain can do. This article will cover 3 facts on how brain works and 3 hacks on how to make the brain work harder.
Fact 1 – Brain has 2 parts – Left and Right Hemisphere
Left is for logic. Think about work which requires calculations & decision making. Left brain is triggered so next time you are doing some heavy lifting using your left brain, take a deep breath closing the left nostril. This will give additional oxygen supply for the left brain.
Right is for creativity. Think about next time you are trying to decorate your house or drawing; the right side of the brain is triggered.
Brain hack 1 is to breathe
Pranayama breathing, also known as belly breathing, is a yogic technique that helps you to breathe with your diaphragm. A new study has found a direct neurophysiological link between the breath and the brain. Next time you are tired, take a deep belly breath, hold it and slowly release your breath. This is guaranteed to make you feel better.
My story- 2 weeks back I was working on a complex assignment which required logic and I felt very tired. I decided to close my left nostril and took a deep breathe using my right nostril and released using my left nostril. The effect was instant and I regained my energy.
Fact 2- Brain has 100 million neurons that carries signals throughout the nervous system. Neurons are the basic working unit of a brain and every brain is wired differently
What this means is that everyone learns and communicates differently, and each style uses different parts of the brain.
Brain hack 2 is to find your unique learning style
Learning styles can be of 3 types – Visual (like to learn by visualising), Auditory (like to learn by hearing), Kinesthetics (like to learn by experiment). Once you learn your learning style, try combining all 3 and this should help you learn new skills faster compared to your old self.
My story – I did a VARK test and discovered that my learning style is auditory. Since then I have converted my reading material into audio and started listening with my eyes closed. I realised that I started to remember things better than better and it really improved my concentration.
Fact 3 – Brain can build new neural connections (ie learn new things) till the age of 122 (yes that is the age of the oldest person ever lived)
Neuroplasticity is a key feature of our brain and that enables us to both learn new habits and unlearn old habits. But this requires a nudge as by default “brain is lazy – in a humorous way 😊”.
Brain hack 3 is to engage a coach to help you with the nudge
Engaging a coach will help you gain insights which will create changes in the brain’s neural connections. Coaches with powerful questions and insights will help firing of neurons and this gets our brain excited to pick up new skills or start working towards the goal we want to work on.
My story – I have been working with a well-ness coach for last 5 years and the transformation that I have seen for myself is phenomenal. This encouraged me to learn coaching and spread the benefits of coaching to everyone I know.
If I can summarise this in one sentence – our brain is powerful, and neuroplasticity has been scientifically proven to help us learn new skills throughout our lifetime. The knowledge of this and using brain hacks can help us lead better, successful and happy lives.
Nirupam Das is a motivational speaker , well-ness coach and founder of Red Dot Coaching, Singapore. Nirupam is an alumnus of IIM Lucknow and BITS Pilani and holds a senior management (CXO) position with a global insurer. He is passionate about positive psychology and brain-based coaching and his research interest includes neuroscience and how effectively it can be used in transforming our lives.