6 Neuroscientifically Proven Habits to Enhance your Mental Powers

June 24 in Career, Leadership, Self-development, Success by Shweta HandaGupta No Comments

By Shweta Handa-Gupta

Now, more than ever, we need mental super powers as our brain struggles to be agile, to innovate, connect, focus, remember, learn, strategize, be present… Here is a list of the six most powerful habits that will help you supercharge your mental powers.

I. Reflect – In our execution driven busy lives, we often neglect to pause and reflect. Taking out time to reflect, to simply sit and think, helps us in multiple ways.
o Reflecting on our experiences allows us to draw lessons from them.
o Reflection on our learning helps create mental connections and moves them into our long-term memory where they are available as retrievable wisdom and generate powerful insights.
o Self-reflection or introspection leads to higher meta-cognitive accuracy or, in simple words, higher self-awareness. Higher meta-cognitive accuracy has been shown to increase grey matter in the anterior pre-frontal cortex (involved in problem-solving, exploring alternatives, planning, attentional resource allocation etc.).
Start by keeping aside 10 minutes a day to reflect on your experiences, key lessons and, most importantly, introspect. Writing down or journaling can further enhance the results.

II. Read – Reading is powerful brain exercise since it is a complex task that requires several regions of the brain to work together. In a study at Stanford University MRI mapping showed a noticeable rise in overall blood flow to the brain the moment participants began to read. To maximize the brain benefits of your reading try to get out of your comfort zone and expand your reading list to include unfamiliar topics.

III. Question – Curiosity is the cornerstone of genius ability for it keeps the mind in an active mode. Curiosity when expressed as constructive questioning makes your mind more observant and magnifies your learning from every experience. It also helps you be more flexible by diminishing the brain’s natural resistance to new and unknown ideas.
Staying curious is not easy since we naturally seek certainty. Doubt is an uncomfortable state and ‘knowing’ is always more comfortable. Next time you catch yourself slipping into the comfort zone, remember, recognizing that you don’t know is the first step to ‘knowing’.
Use questions not only to explore and understand the world around you but also question yourself. Question your long-held beliefs, behaviours and feelings to understand their origins and influence. You might be surprised.

IV. Stretch Your Mind – Play complex games and solve puzzles to keep exercising your mind. Remember, your mind, like the muscles in your body, will only develop when it is stretched to its limit. Continuously increase the difficulty levels of the game or puzzle to keep challenging your brain.
Also, reduce your use of simplifying devices such as the calculator, GPS etc. to only when it’s absolutely necessary.

V. Exercise – Scientists have linked physical exercise to brain health for long. Exercise releases a host of chemicals and hormones that help reduce stress, improve cognition and promote brain regeneration. Aerobic exercise stimulates the production of a protein known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BNDF) that has been associated with preserving brain cells, improved memory function and neurogenesis (growth and adaption of new brain cells).
Simply, physical exercise helps generate both grey matter and white matter (white matter connects grey matter areas & carries nerve impulses between neurons). If you prefer weight or resistance training, remember to add a bit (10 minutes) of aerobic exercise to your routine to jumpstart your heart and sweat glands.

VI. Fantasize – Imagination exercises use a neural network that engages all four hemispheres of our mind.* Using your imagination, spinning stories and weaving fantasies strengthens neural connections, improves brain function and significantly enhances your capacity for original thought.
Interestingly, research has found that thinking about an activity triggers the same part of the brain used when we actually perform the activity. This means that you can use the power of imagination at any time to further enhance your brain development. (This does not mean that you substitute imagination for real practice!)
These habits will serve to super-power your Brain and none of them needs to occupy too much time in your schedule. Reflection, questioning and using your imagination can be integrated into your daily activities and performed at any moment during your day. Start small with reading, exercise and solving complex puzzles and build up as best you can.
Even as you practice all of these, do not compromise on your sleep. Sleep is consolidation and regeneration time for your brain and helps improve learning and memory. Sleep is also essential to creativity since it helps you form novel connections to seemingly unrelated ideas.

Wish you a contemplative, imaginative, curious, active and challenging day.

 *The logical left and creative right brain is a Myth! To know more about how most activities we perform in life need intricate integration of both hemispheres visit the QuadraBrain® Whole Brain Thinking tab here (www.quadrabrain.com/about-us/).

©2015 Shweta HandaGupta. All rights reserved

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And they all fall down… – The Leadership Crunch

October 30 in Leadership by Shweta HandaGupta 1 Comment

October 30, 2012 by Shweta Handa-Gupta

Integrity, ethics, transparency – some of the most used and abused words in the Corporate world. Every organization tries to fit these somewhere in their vision, mission, values but these are often the first to be sacrificed at the altar of ‘practicality’ and ‘business sense’.

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The Entrepreneurship ‘ADVENTURE’

September 27 in Career, Leadership, Self-development, Success by Shweta HandaGupta No Comments

September 27, 2012 by Shweta Handa-Gupta

Entrepreneurship, the dream and new success mantra of professional graduates and existing CEOs alike. However, for every entrepreneur that succeeds, there is a larger number that don’t. So what does it take to become a successful entrepreneur? One thing that clearly emerged from my research in this area is that the skills necessary to run a business aren’t always the same skills that are needed to start one. I’ve met brilliant CEOs who grew and built businesses for others and were very good at what they did. But not all of them did as well when they decided to strike out on their own and I know of quite a few eminent examples who returned (wisely) back to running businesses for someone else.

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Why The Feedback Your Senior Leadership Is Getting May Not Be Good Enough!!

June 26 in Career, Coaching, Leadership, Self-development, Success by Shweta HandaGupta No Comments

June 26, 2012 by Shweta Handa-Gupta

Feedback is a common topic of discussion with most top leaders. Most are happy to get some unbiased straight talk about themselves but there are also those who are reluctant to question their self-concept.  However, when provided real examples, many embark on a self-realization journey.  In the Indian context, in fact in a lot of other places too, honest improvement feedback is rarely forthcoming for people who’ve reached a significantly high position. Juniors don’t want to offend you and seniors, if any, don’t really supervise your activities that closely.

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Dealing With Difficult People

March 1 in Career, Leadership, Self-development, Success by Shweta HandaGupta No Comments

March 1, 2012 by Shweta Handa-Gupta

“In the school of life, difficult people are the faculty. They teach us our most important lessons, the lessons that we would be most unlikely to learn on our own.”

~Mark I. Rosen

Dealing with difficult people is, perhaps, one of the biggest challenges of our lives – be it when establishing yourself at a new job, leading a team, managing a business or in our personal life.  Almost always a time consuming or emotionally draining prospect, it’s a common practice for us to avoid it till it becomes inevitable.

But when you are able to manage these situations, or more appropriately manage yourself and your responses in these situations, you can make life less stressful and also begin to build new possibilities.

The art of handling difficult people can be mastered by focussing on three aspects – the other person, the self and the response.

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Building Effective Teams

February 28 in Career, Leadership, Success by Shweta HandaGupta No Comments

February 28, 2012 by Shweta Handa-Gupta

“I don’t believe in team motivation. I believe in getting a team prepared so it knows it will have the necessary confidence when it steps on a field and be prepared to play a good game.”

~Tom Landry (American player & coach, ranked as one of the greatest, most innovative coaches in National Football League)

How many of you have held your breath as you saw a trapeze artist let go and fly through the air only to be caught deftly by their partner? That split second when you thought they might miss… only to be followed by a sigh of relief as their brilliant teamwork shines through.  Have you had those moments in your work team too?  Those times when everything seemed to come together in a beautiful symphony to help deliver outstanding outcomes and you wished you could capture that synergy and make it work everytime. Teams don’t really happen naturally and you can’t force teamwork.

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Driving Personal Change in 2012

January 2 in Career, Coaching, Leadership, Self-development, Success by Shweta HandaGupta No Comments

January 2, 2012 by Shweta Handa-Gupta

New Year Resolutions!!! Just a cliché? Another ritual you go through knowing it won’t matter? Or something you do with full earnestness? (even if you aren’t always able to stick to them)

New Year is one of the few festivals that celebrates the passage of time, and makes us think of the year that presents itself before us. I like to use this opportunity to revisit my commitment to personal growth and set up a framework to ensure I utilize the New Year effectively to drive my goals.

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Coaching Mentoring for Excellence

December 7 in Career, Coaching, Leadership, Self-development, Success by Shweta HandaGupta 1 Comment

by Shweta HandaGupta

“Till you spread your wings, you will have no idea how far you can fly”

 Coaching and Mentoring are being increasingly recognized as important for the overall development of individuals. These terms are often used loosely and interchangeably but are very different from each other. While there are overlaps, each has its own value and it is important to understand which one we need before we embark on a mentoring or coaching relationship.

Mentoring is the download of knowledge, skills, information and perspective on a particular topic or area from a typically more senior/knowledgeable person to another and is useful in the following situations. If you are:

  • Seeking to learn from someone else’s existing knowledge or expertise
  • Seeking area/topic specific guidance
  • Seeking to learn and take guidance from someone successful.

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The Art of Communication

September 7 in Career, Leadership, Self-development, Success by Shweta HandaGupta No Comments

September 7, 2011 by Shweta Handa-Gupta

“The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said. “
Peter Drucker

Do you feel misunderstood? Are people just not ‘getting it’? Has it ever occurred to you that maybe you are not expressing it in a way that people can understand? The ability to be able to present our ideas in an unambiguous, easy to understand manner is important in every aspect of our lives.

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Mastering The Time Management Myth

April 4 in Career, Leadership, Self-development, Success by Shweta HandaGupta No Comments

April 4, 2011 by Shweta Handa-Gupta

How often have you wished there was just half an hour more in the day? Is there so much to be done on your ever-growing to-do list that there’s no way you can get through all of it?!! Time, the one resource that most people wish they had more of, and the one resource that money can’t buy!! The first step is to understand that time is a finite resource and we can’t ‘manage’ time. What we can ‘manage’ is ourselves and our energy. Here are some tips to utilize this limited resource more effectively.

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Essentials of Personal Effectiveness for Success PART 2

January 27 in Career, Leadership, Self-development, Success by Shweta HandaGupta No Comments

January 27, 2011 by Shweta Handa-Gupta

* Bringing out the Best in You *

Thank you for your tremendous response to the first part of the Essentials of Personal Effectiveness series. Your stories have been an inspiration to me and I present here more information to help you increase personal effectiveness and remove barriers that may be holding you back.

I) Don’t stereotype your Critics – We often distort people whom we have conflicts with. Once we have built our mental image of the person, we begin to perceive his/her actions/incidents in a manner that would confirm the image we’ve built up. Colleagues whose agendas seem to oppose our own are not necessarily our enemies. Similarly, people who cannot see the point behind our brilliant ideas are not necessarily intellectually inferior :)

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Essentials of Personal Effectiveness for Success PART 1

January 6 in Career, Leadership, Self-development, Success by Shweta HandaGupta No Comments

January 6, 2011 by Shweta Handa-Gupta

* Bringing out the Best in You *

Ambition has always been one of the greatest drivers of growth for humankind. Which one of us does not aspire to get the most out of our abilities to achieve success? The desire for achievement can only be fulfilled if we first master ourselves and school the self to extract the talent that resides in us.

It is to this end that a study of the factors that enhance personal effectiveness was embarked on and the results follow. Below are some tips that will help you to most efficiently put your personal resources at work and remove the barriers that may be holding you back from reaping the fruits of your complete potential.

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Multi-Specialists – Winning the Specialist Vs Generalist Debate

December 23 in Career, Leadership, Self-development, Success by Shweta HandaGupta No Comments

by Shweta Handa-Gupta

Top Reasons Why Being A Multi-Specialist Pays

In this world of specialists is the Renaissance Man dead? Is Da Vinci – painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer still relevant in the modern world? Generalists have often claimed him for their own especially in battles with specialists but I do not think Da Vinci was a generalist or even a specialist. He was multi-talented and definitely a multi-specialist.

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