Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Icon

From Mental Health to Behavioral Health…and back?

___

Know Thy­self: Well-Being and Sub­jec­tive Expe­ri­ence (Cere­brum):

Ancient Greek philoso­phers were fond of the apho­rism, “know thy­self,” inscribed above the entrance of one of the Tem­ples of Apol­lo at Del­phi. One expres­sion of this tra­di­tion, vari­ably attrib­uted to Socrates and Pla­to, is that “the unex­am­ined life is not worth liv­ing.” Anoth­er, attrib­uted to Aris­to­tle, is “to know thy­self is the begin­ning of wis­dom.” And, accord­ing to Socrates, the path to such self-knowl­edge is through inner reflec­tion, or what we now call intro­spec­tion.

Thou­sands of years lat­er, pro­fes­sions arose to help peo­ple know them­selves bet­ter Read the rest of this entry »

Transcript: David DiSalvo on How Cultural Evolution Outpaces Natural Evolution and Old Brain Metaphors

Below you can find the full tran­script of our engag­ing Q&A ses­sion today with David DiS­al­vo, author of What makes your brain hap­py and why you should do the oppo­site, mod­er­at­ed by Alvaro Fer­nan­dez. You vis­it pre­vi­ous Q&A Ses­sions Here.

Full Tran­script (Light­ly edit­ed) of Live Q&A held on Decem­ber 9th, 2–3pm ET

Read the rest of this entry »

Change Your Environment, Change Yourself

(Edi­tor’s note: one of the most com­mon ene­mies of get­ting qual­i­ty cog­ni­tive exer­cise is being on The Daily Trading Coach, by Brett Steenbarger“men­tal autopi­lot”. I recent­ly came across an excel­lent new book, titled The Dai­ly Trad­ing Coach: 101 Lessons for Becom­ing Your Own Trad­ing Psy­chol­o­gist, by trad­ing per­for­mance expert Dr. Brett Steen­barg­er, which explic­it­ly calls for address­ing the “men­tal autopi­lot” prob­lem in his Les­son 4. Even for those of us who are not traders, Dr. Steen­barg­er advice pro­vides excel­lent guid­ance for peak cog­ni­tive per­for­mance. Dr. Steen­barg­er gra­cious­ly gave us per­mis­sion to share with you, below, Les­son 4: Change Your Envi­ron­ment, Change Your­self. Enjoy!).

Human beings adapt to their envi­ron­ments. We draw on a range of skills and per­son­al­i­ty traits to fit into var­i­ous set­tings. That is why we can behave one way in a social set­ting and then seem like a total­ly dif­fer­ent human being at work. One of the endur­ing attrac­tions of trav­el is that it takes us out of our native envi­ron­ments and forces us to adapt to new peo­ple, new cul­tures, and new ways. When we make those adap­ta­tions, we dis­cov­er new facets of our­selves. As we’ll see short­ly, dis­crep­an­cy is the moth­er of all change: when we are in the same envi­ron­ments, we tend to draw upon the same, rou­tine modes of thought and behav­ior.

A few months ago I had an attack of acute appen­dici­tis while stay­ing in a LaGuardia air­port hotel await­ing a return flight to Chica­go. When I went to the near­est emer­gency room at Elmhurst Hos­pi­tal out­side Jack­son Heights, Queens, I found that I was seem­ing­ly the only native Eng­lish speak­er in a sea of peo­ple await­ing med­ical care. After some dif­fi­cul­ty attract­ing atten­tion, I was admit­ted to the hos­pi­tal and spent the next sev­er­al days of recu­per­a­tion nav­i­gat­ing my way through patients and staff of every con­ceiv­able nation­al­i­ty. By the end of the expe­ri­ence, I felt at home there. I’ve since stayed at the same air­port hotel and rou­tine­ly make vis­its into the sur­round­ing neighborhoods—areas I would have nev­er in my wildest dreams ven­tured into pre­vi­ous­ly. In adapt­ing to that envi­ron­ment, I dis­cov­ered hid­den strengths. I also over­came more than a few hid­den prej­u­dices and fears.

The great­est ene­my of change is rou­tine. When we lapse into rou­tine and oper­ate on autopi­lot, we are no longer ful­ly and active­ly con­scious of what we’re doing and why. That is why some of the most fer­tile sit­u­a­tions for per­son­al growth—those that occur with­in new environments—are those that force us to exit our rou­tines and active­ly mas­ter unfa­mil­iar chal­lenges.

In famil­iar envi­ron­ments and rou­tines, we oper­ate on autopi­lot. Noth­ing changes.

When you act as your own trad­ing coach, your chal­lenge is to stay ful­ly con­scious, alert to risk and oppor­tu­ni­ty. One of your great­est threats will be the autopi­lot mode in which you act with­out think­ing, with­out full aware­ness of your sit­u­a­tion. If you shift your trad­ing envi­ron­ment, you push your­self to adapt to new sit­u­a­tions: you break rou­tines. If your envi­ron­ment is always the same, you will find your­self grav­i­tat­ing to the same Read the rest of this entry »

Helping Young and Old Fish Learn How To Think

- “There are these two young fish swim­ming along, and they hap­pen to meet an old­er fish swim­ming the oth­er way, who nods at them and says, “Morn­ing, boys, how’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then even­tu­al­ly one of them looks over at the oth­er and goes, “What the hell is water?”

- “If at this moment, you’re wor­ried that I plan to present myself here as the wise old fish explain­ing what water is to you younger fish, please don’t be. I am not the wise old fish. The imme­di­ate point of the fish sto­ry is that…”

Keep read­ing the mas­ter­ful com­mence­ment speech giv­en by David Fos­ter Wal­lace to the 2005 grad­u­at­ing  class at Keny­on Col­lege, pub­lished in the Wall Street Jour­nal today:

David Fos­ter Wal­lace on Life and Work (WSJ).

The whole piece makes for the most beau­ti­ful med­i­ta­tion, to savor word by word. The whole arti­cle is real­ly a quote worth read­ing, but let me fea­ture this one

- “Learn­ing how to think” real­ly means how to exer­cise some con­trol over how and what you think. It means being con­scious and aware enough to choose what you pay atten­tion to and to choose how you con­struct mean­ing from expe­ri­ence.”

What a poet­ic intro­duc­tion to brain and cog­ni­tive fit­ness: learn­ing, think, exer­cise, con­trol, con­scious, aware, choose, pay atten­tion, con­struct mean­ing, expe­ri­ence.

About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

Search in our archives

Follow us and Engage via…

twitter_logo_header
RSS Feed

Watch All Recordings Now (40+ Speakers, 12+ Hours)

Enter Your Email to receive Sharp­Brains free, monthly eNewslet­ter:

Join more than 50,000 Sub­scribers and stay informed and engaged.