It is said that human beings only use 10% of their brains. That means that there is a wealth of untapped potential within all of us.

Modern science has helped us to understand a fair amount about the human brain. However, we may never fully comprehend the full capabilities of our minds – at least, not in this lifetime.

What we CAN do, for now, is broaden our understanding of our own minds in order to flourish as individuals. To do this, the best place to start is with a little bit of information about how the brain actually works, and how we can instigate change within.

Left Brain vs. Right Brain

The human brain really is a game of two halves. If you drew a line directly down the middle, you would have two symmetrical parts – a right and left hemisphere. Although each half might look the same, they operate in very different ways, each performing their own set of functions.

The left side of the brain controls the right side of the body. It is responsible for our logic – skills such as language, puzzles and maths. The left side of the brain is our practical, pragmatic side.

The right side of the brain controls the left side of the body. It is responsible for our creativity – skills such as art, intuition and imagination. The right side is where all the traits that make us unique individuals reside.

People have always spoken about the conflict between heart and head, when really, it’s a conflict between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. The heart is a muscle that pumps blood around the body – our motor. Who we are is all up top – our built-in super computer.

Rebooting the Brain

As with any good computer, crashes can occur. A laptop can stop working as it used to, often because it is trying to do too much at once. Have you ever noticed how a computer’s performance slows down the more tabs you have open in your browser? The human brain is no different. The more stress you place yourself under, the more your brain has to process, and you become mentally and physically drained. Your health might start to deteriorate as a result of being run down – this is the equivalent of a computer crashing.

It’s easy with a computer – to reboot the system, you just quit out of all your apps, then switch it off and on again. Life doesn’t easily allow us to quit out of all the things we have going on; but there are ways for us to reboot our systems. Those ways can be found when you relax and evaluate what you’re experiencing in order to improve your own performance – just like rebooting and troubleshooting a poorly PC.

Changing the Brain

Coaching allows us to evaluate the problems and figure out a way to solve them (left brain). Our intuition helps us to analyse why the problems are occurring and the reasons behind our responses (right brain). So, yes – coaching is a way to retrain your brain to work more efficiently.

Spiritual practices, such as Thai Chi, yoga and meditation have all been scientifically-proven to change the brain. Early studies of meditation revealed an increase of right-side brain activity, allowing for more intuitive thought and less analytical thinking. In addition, those who practiced meditation were found to experience a greater sense of ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’.

The left-side brain is primarily tied up in the planning and organizational side of things. So, an increase in right-side brain activity helps us to be in the moment more, calm our racing thoughts, breathe, and come at what we are facing from a far healthier mindset.

If spirituality is not your cup-of-tea, then just focussing on your breathing for a few minutes every day can bring about an increase in right-brain activity to balance out all of that left-brain logic busily filling your diary with meetings and engagements. Mindful breathing actually slows your heart rate, reducing the number of beats per minute (BPM) which sends signals of calm to the brain.

If the left side of your brain is demanding proof of this, one way you can see this for yourself is by using a modern smart watch. Smart watches feature apps for measuring heart rate and initiating breathing exercises. You can check your heart rate before you begin your guided breathing, and it tells you afterwards how your heart rate has changed.

Summary

As busy and demanding as our lives get, it is important that we take a moment to remember that we are human, not machines. That said, you can perform maintenance on yourself to ensure optimum performance in both your personal and professional life. Whilst meditation and yoga work for some, all you really need to do is take a few moments each day just to breathe and reboot in order to bring balance to your world.

References:

The Brain Made Simple: http://brainmadesimple.com/left-and-right-hemispheres.html

How Meditation Changes The Brain: https://www.expandinglight.org/blog/meditation/meditation-teacher-training/how-meditation-changes-your-brain/