Why your brain always has to be right

Why your brain always has to be right

I’m sure it’s happened to you: You’re in a tense team meeting trying to defend your position on a big project and start to feel yourself losing ground. Your voice gets louder. You talk over one of your colleagues and correct his point of view. He pushes back, so you go into overdrive to convince everyone you’re right. It feels like an out-of-body experience. In terms of its neurochemistry, your brain has been hijacked. Picture: Hey Paul Studios/Flickr The Role of Cortisol In situations of high stress, fear or distrust, the hormone and neurotransmitter cortisol floods the brain. Executive functions that help us with advanced thought processes like strategy, trust building and compassion shut down. The amygdala, our instinctive brain, takes over. The body makes a chemical choice about how best to protect itself — in this case from the shame and loss of power associated with being wrong — and as a result is unable to regulate its emotions or handle the gaps between expectations and reality. So we default to one of four responses: fight (keep arguing the point), flight (revert to and hide behind group consensus), freeze (disengage from the argument by shutting up) or appease (make nice with your adversary by simply agreeing with him). All are harmful because they prevent the honest and productive sharing of information and opinion. But, as a consultant who has spent decades working with executives on their communication skills, I can tell you that the fight response is by far the most damaging to work relationships. It is also, unfortunately, the most common. That’s partly due to another neurochemical process. When you argue...
Exercise Decreases Your Desire To Eat, But You’ll Probably Eat More Anyway

Exercise Decreases Your Desire To Eat, But You’ll Probably Eat More Anyway

Adam Dachis Exercise burns calories, so you might assume it makes you feel hungrier. It turns out that’s not true. US News points to several studies showing that your desire to eat actually decreases after a workout. Picture: Nagy-Bagoly Arpad/Shutterstock Brigham Young University conducted a study to test how women responded to eating after exercise and without exercise. The California Polytechnic State University conducted a more comprehensive study, including men and women, engaging in a larger variety of physical activity. While both study sizes were fairly small, each clearly found the desire to eat decreased in participants (based on their responses and brain activity). We’re not actually desiring food after exercise, but we tend to eat more anyway. In fact, we’ll eat more if we even think about exercise. US News explains: Psychologists at the University of Leeds, in England, observed that compensatory eating post-exercise is common among “hedonic eaters”-people who eat for pleasure rather than to maintain energy balance, according to the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. In the study, “compensators” showed signs of hedonic hunger. Not only did they eat more than “non-compensators” after a high-intensity workout, but they also rated the food more palatable and had more interest in high-fat, sweet foods. When you’re hungry, you should eat, but pay attention to how you actually feel rather than what you want. You may just think you’re hungry after exercise when, in reality, you’re not. Does Exercise Distort Your Perception of Hunger? [US News] Share this:PrintEmailFacebookTwitterGoogleLike this:Like...

The Best Remedies For Common Headaches

Whether it’s that pulsating pain of a migraine, or the vice-like grip of sinus congestion, nobody likes a headache. Here are the causes and treatments for the most common headaches. According to the US National Headache Foundation, at least 150 different headache variations exist, and the range of causes is equally diverse, from genetic factors to inadequate food intake. That said, a few common types account for the majority of headaches. Here’s how to deal with them. (If headaches are a recurring problem, you should definitely see your doctor and seek out professional treatment.) Tension Headaches Tension headaches are the most common headache type. They’re characterised by mild to moderate pain, tightness, and pressure in the forehead or back of the neck. Typically, the pain is “throbbing” and although annoying, doesn’t usually ruin your day. Causes: The potential causes are quite varied. Possible trigger include anxiety, eye strain, caffeine, food, lack of rest, bad posture, stress and hunger. Tension headaches are also common after a night of alcohol. If something is abnormal in your daily routine, whether it’s a late lunch or a series of deadlines at work, a tension headache may be the result. Treatment: Tension headaches are usually best handled with over-the-counter painkillers like aspirin or ibuprofen before the pain gets severe. Those aren’t cures, but they will temporarily relieve the pain. In general, your best bet is to rest and relax until the headache goes away. Even a hot pepper may provide some relief. To cut back on the frequency of these types of headaches, you need to identify your triggers and reduce them. If a headache comes from stress, meditation may...
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