Can you train your brain to make better decisions?

images-1By Dr Tamara Russell for CNN

When making a big decision, how aware are you of the underlying brain processes informing your choices? When you go with your gut instinct, are you aware of the bodily signals that have informed your actions?

While it may seem that there is no time for the close inspection of the body and mind at these critical times, enlightened leaders are turning towards mindfulness training as a way to reprogram their mind in a bid to stay sane and pull ahead in today’s challenging business environment.

Not only does this allow individuals to clearly see the intentions and reactions underlying each and every action– learning when an action is arising out of fear of uncertainty or rejection and becoming better able to detect a “sure thing” via bodily signals.

By repeatedly training the mind to pay attention to the sensations of the body as they enter the brain, mindfulness training uses this information to build up an exquisitely sensitive understanding of our reactions and responses in the world — both at work and elsewhere in our lives.

The term mindfulness refers to a particular state of mind, one that is alert, aware and fully present to what is unfolding on a moment by moment basis in the mental and physical landscape. Importantly, this awareness includes an element of acceptance, not judging whatever you discover in the process.

The route to mindfulness is through attention training. In our general understanding, attention is something we direct outwards into the environment — something pleasant catches our attention and we turn to look, something annoying distracts us and our mind wanders.

This process changes the neural connectivity between regions of the brain related to attention and concentration. Sounds great, but what’s the catch?

The catch is that you need to train to get these benefits. Similar to visiting the gym and repeatedly lifting weights to develop muscles, to improve focus, concentration, and build emotional resilience you need to train your brain.

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