Leadership & Productivity

Career performance: Boost brain chemicals for success - 7 neuroscience proven techniques

6 min read

19 April 2019

If I told you that with just a few simple techniques practiced daily or when the need arises, you could measurably impact your career performance, would you be interested? That offer is timely because we’re living in a time of unprecedented change – advancements in technology, a constant push for innovation and growth, disappearing jobs, new software and tools…the list goes on. Those changes create increased pressure, especially in the workplace. So, give these Physical Intelligence techniques a try and transform your career performance through neuroscience!

The typical work scenario for a majority of us includes key stressors such as long hours, heavy workloads, tight deadlines, tighter budgets, increased competition, 24/7 communication, the list goes on. These daily experiences take a toll on our health and wellbeing for the worse, so what can we do about it?

We are struggling with the daily pressures of work – what can we do about it?

The truth is, humans are not evolving as quickly as the pace of change, yet that pace is accelerating, leaving many of us struggling to meet, let alone exceed expectations. So, what can we do? To perform at peak in the midst of this storm, we literally have to use our heads…or more accurately, our brains (and bodies) because the answer is rooted in neuroscience.

Read up on Physical Intelligence, and use it to become a better business leader

You’re familiar with cognitive intelligence (IQ) and emotional intelligence (EQ). What about Physical Intelligence? Hundreds of chemicals racing through our bloodstreams dictate how we think, feel, speak and behave. Yet, most of us operate largely at the mercy of those chemicals without realizing that we can strategically influence them.

Physical Intelligence is the ability to detect and actively manage the balance of certain key chemicals through how we think, breathe, move and communicate in order to achieve more, stress less and live (and work) more happily.

Physical Intelligence helped one team increase profit margins by 12.5% within three months and another achieve double-digit growth in the midst of the last downturn. Simple techniques, some that take only seconds, applied consistently, have transformed countless personal and professional lives.

There are over 100 Physical Intelligence techniques – to get you started, here are a few that will help you manage your chemical balance and enhance your career performance in ten key areas:

1. Building confidence: Perfect your posture and use breathing to stay calm and responsive to business situations

With good posture, we feel empowered, stronger, and more present – and at ease. Having an open and expansive posture projects confidence and leadership ability.

To reduce nerves and increase confidence, stand in a winner (starfish) and pose for 2 minutes before key events (balancing cortisol and adrenalin).

Paced breathing helps us manage our response to demanding situations. Use it daily to release acetylcholine (recovery chemical that counteracts adrenaline): breathe diaphragmatically, smoothly and regularly, measure the length of each breath in and explore the counts comfortable for you (numbers don’t need to be even) – for at least 10 minutes a day.

2. Holding your ground and managing change: How to release tension and remain rational

Being centred puts everything in perspective; we feel confidence and inner strength if we practice feeling centred in our lives. To ‘ground’ yourself, feel the weight of the body on the ground or in a chair – make yourself feel rooted rather than ‘uptight’.

Continue paced breathing and release tension throughout the body, (move your body forwards sideways and backwards to find the optimal point); breathe down to below the navel (to your centre of gravity), and focus. Repeat three times: Balance, Breathe, Focus…

3. Generating innovative and creative solutions

To reduce cortisol and boost oxytocin, dopamine, DHEA, and serotonin: Stretch to release ‘hot spots’ where you hold tension.  Shake out your arms and legs and twist at the waist two times a day. You can also spark some much-needed creativity by taking a walk or looking at beautiful objects in art and nature.

4. Building resilience through rest

Maintain optimal cortisol levels by blocking out time in your schedule each week for REST (Retreat, Eat [healthy], Sleep and Treat). Write the word ‘REST’ in blocks in your calendar; and guard those windows.

5. Bouncing back from disappointment

Think of a setback or mistake you’ve made. Zoom in and see a ‘close-up’ of yourself. Remember the intensity of feelings at the time. Zoom out, hover in wide angle over the scene, including contributing elements past and present. Know that you’re not alone and others have experienced or are experiencing similar situations. If you’re dwelling on something, talk to someone you trust about it, then commit to letting it go.

6. Maintaining a positive mindset

Smile at yourself in the mirror every morning. It boosts serotonin. Literally, jump for joy – jumping promotes optimism.

7. Achieving long term goals

Set daily and long term priorities, goals, and milestones. To generate energy to move forward, firm and flex your muscles; say out loud, “Come on! You can do this!” (boosts dopamine). Celebrate achieving each milestone (boosts dopamine and testosterone).