Healthy prefrontal cortex = happier kids. Here’s why.

s Higher Brain Living® facilitators, we try to immerse ourselves in the latest brain research — what the best neuroscientists and neurobiologists are questioning, working on, and discovering about how our brains work and why, and how to make them work better.

Often, I think the assumption is that these tools are only meant for adult brains.  It’s easy to overlook the fact that young minds can also greatly benefit from the skills, insights, and cutting-edge research that show us how to heal and nurture healthy prefrontal cortex function. Read on to find out more on how you can help the kids and teens in your life make the most of the amazing brains they have!

To the power of the next generation,

Sunny

 

Here’s how to help the kids and teens in your life be happier, more confident, and make better choices

Have you ever seen a toddler or a teen melt down?

Like pretty much everything, this all comes back to the brain and what it needs to take things in, process, and decide on the best course of action. And as with all of us, the more tools we have, the better chance we have of thinking and acting from a place of personal power and peace.

Whether you’re a parent, a cool aunt or uncle, or someone who’s involved in the lives of your friends’ kids, here are four reasons why the children and teens in your life need to energize and exercise their prefrontal cortices as much as we adults do:

Because a healthy Prefrontal Cortex (PFC) helps kids to see things clearly, plan ahead, and learn which risks are worth taking. A well-documented study from 2011 out of Temple University, which appeared in the journal Child Development, showed the relationship between the PFC and impulse control and what an essential part of healthy development this is. It seems that the ability to solve increasingly complex problems has less to do with intelligence and more to do with the ability to stop, look at the pieces, and plan ahead. This skill was clearly more present in adults than in adolescents. The PFC, because it is the newest part of the brain, is actually the last to develop fully. The limbic system is all about emotion and reaction and is part of our ancient brain. It’s one of the first areas to develop. So, basically teenagers have a limbic system going at full throttle while the PFC, which is responsible for things like risk assessment, executive function, and decision making, is still running to catching up. (You can read in-depth about this amazing process here.) Add in the presence of peer pressure, and the limbic system activity increases while PFC activity actually decreases. So when you find yourself looking at your kid and wondering, What the heck was she thinking?! — chances are, she wasn’t making that choice from the prefrontal cortex.

Dr. Dustin Albert, who authored the Temple study, says, "Programs that target adolescents' still-emerging capacity to plan ahead, control their impulses, regulate their emotions, and resist peer pressure may help bolster youngsters' ability to make good decisions in the real world."

Because childhood trauma adversely affects the prefrontal cortex connections — and there are tools that can help. If you love a child who has experienced trauma or maltreatment, this is especially important. A study out of the University of Wisconsin showed that the neural connection between the PFC and the hippocampus are measurably weaker in teens who have experienced childhood trauma. The hippocampus essentially assesses potential dangers and tells the brain which things are truly dangerous or not. Trauma disrupts the function of this “fear circuitry” — which sets in motion a domino effect of issues: constant high-alert anxiety and fear, which often lead to depression and other mental health issues, which compound the misfiring neural connections.

Fortunately, the availability of MRI technology shows clearly that this shows up as a physiological phenomenon, as well and an emotional/psychological one, and solutions that activate and rebuild these connections over time can help to heal the wounds of trauma in conjunction with other caring therapies. 

Because a well-energized PFC cultivates compassion, genuine self-love, and resilience. I’ve written before about Dr. Richard Davidson and all of his research on the power of mindfulness and meditation to improve almost all areas of life. These are skills that can be taught from a very young age. Deep breathing, being able to focus the mind, and being able to slow the moment between stimulus and reaction are all functions of a lit-up prefrontal cortex. And they can do wonders for everything from toddler tantrums to test anxiety to rebounding from heartbreak.

Because a well-nourished PFC helps create nourishing, thriving relationships. The prefrontal cortex plays a huge role in our ability to relate deeply, to feel empathy and joy, to foster intimacy. It’s the link that helps us make choices from both our head and our heart. It aides in cultivating patience, staves off unhelpful fear-based reactions, and bolsters cooperation and healthy problem-solving. An energized PFC helps kids develop confidence, clarity, and connection.

Who couldn’t use a little more of all that?

If you have questions about how Higher Brain Living® could help your child or teen, I’d love to sit down and chat. I offer a low-cost 2-Session package to new clients so they can try it for themselves. 

To schedule your first session, give me a call or reply to this email.

If you have already experienced a session, or you know someone who you think might benefit from this work, please forward this email to friends, family and co-workers that you think may want to try this for themselves.


Resources consulted for this piece:

Hamilton, Jon. “Childhood Maltreatment Can Leave Scars in the Brain.” All Things Considered, Nov. 4, 2013.

Herringa, Ryan. “Childhood maltreatment is associated with altered fear circuitry and increased internalizing symptoms by late adolescence.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 110:47, Oct. 7, 2013.

Saplosky, Robert. “Dude, where’s my prefrontal cortex?” Nautilus. July 24, 2014.

Society for Research in Child Development. "Look before you leap: Teens still learning to plan ahead." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 June 2011.

Stewart, Whitney. Meditation is and Open Sky: Mindfulness for Kids. Chicago: Albert, Whitman, and Co. 2015.

Break that bad habit finally and forever — here’s how

 

Most all of us have got some habit we’d like to deal with, whether it’s overcoming an unhealthy one or establishing a new, awesome one that has real staying power.

With what we know now about how the brain works, we have a better understanding about how habits get established. Read on for more about the brain and habit, and how you can leverage a really simple thing like ritual to help your brain get the hang of new behaviors.

To your health and happiness,

Sunny 

 

Using the power of ritual to make big change

The good news is that our brains love habit.

Habits are the things we do automatically, without having to think through every single step that’s required. We brush our teeth and get dressed and reach for a glass in the cupboard in the dark without even having to see what we’re doing. Our brain’s ability to store and simply re-use this information has a huge advantage: it’s super efficient and frees up cognitive space in the brain for other more urgent things, like navigating busy traffic or preparing for an important presentation.

The bad news? Same deal: our brains looooove habit. In fact, they actively look for ways to keep us in habits. The brain doesn’t really care all that much whether the habit is a healthy one or not; it just loves repetition, familiarity, and the path of least resistance. So, it fights change sometimes like a cranky two-year-old, kicking and screaming (neurologically speaking).

As we’ve written about before, the way the brain entrenches us in automatic behaviors is through something called the habit loop.

In the three phases of the habit loop, the basal ganglia communicates with the prefrontal cortex and basically takes a behavior and makes it a habit. First, there’s the cue, the thing that “triggers” a certain behavior.

Next comes the routine, or the behavior itself (this is what we observe as a habitual action). Once the action is taken, the brain releases feel-good or reward neurotransmitters, like dopamine or serotonin; these signal the brain to store both the trigger and the action for next time, so that we can be prompted to do it again. (A reward is only needed to create a habit, not to maintain one — so once the habit is established, the reward can diminish, and we’ll still feel prompted to do the same thing. Sneaky, huh?) 

So, in the game of creating healthier behaviors, we need to pay attention to the habit loop: What’s the cue? What’s the behavior? And what’s the reward? What is it that our bodies, minds, and spirits are really craving? A great habit serves the deepest need of the whole person; an unhealthy habit might take the edge off or serve a surface desire momentarily — but it still leaves us wanting for something more, more fulfilling, more nourishing.

Personal and nutritional trainer Benjamin Tormey swears by the use of ritual to cement healthy behaviors in the routine phase of the habit loop.

And as it happens, the things that help his clients lose weight and get strong are also the same things that can help any of us do anything new, because ritual is a perfect fit for how the brain takes in and uses new information via the basal ganglia and prefrontal cortex in the habit loop. Here’s how Benjamin uses routine, and how you can use it yourself:

1. Be totally mindful, totally present to what you’re doing. We talk a lot about mindfulness in our Higher Brain Living® practice — because it really does alter the physiological structure of the brain. It is a powerful tool. Practice being aware of what you’re doing before, during, and after a desired (or undesired) behavior. Notice what influences your feelings and your actions.

2. Pay attention to triggers — internal and external — and use them to your advantage. Do you always reach for the candy after stressful meetings? Do you crave a cigarette when your co-worker gets out of his chair to go outside? Do you reach for your smart phone whenever you feel uncomfortable in public? Learning to identify the split-second feeling or event before you act is a huge step towards gaining control.

3. Lay it out step by step. In an order that makes sense and flows naturally, decide how you’re going to approach the new behavior. If you’re trying to quit smoking or checking your smart phone all the time — intentionally create a series of tiny actions that will lead you through those moments. Follow them exactly each time. Think of them like stepping-stones across a river.

4. Repeat. As with so many things, establishing habit just takes practice. As Benjamin says, “A ritual creates the right environment and encourages focus. It helps develop mastery… This isn’t a hack. It’s not about making it easier, it’s about getting better at doing it.”

This is exactly how the brain takes simple, small behaviors and turns them into habits. The refreshing bit of good news is that we get a say in how all of that happens.

The work I do with Higher Brain Living® can help the prefrontal cortex in its communication with the basal ganglia (and other parts of the brain, too!). When the higher brain has access to more energy, it contributes to clearer thinking and better decision-making. If you’ve not yet experienced a Higher Brain Living® session, I offer a low-cost 2-Session package to new clients so they can try it for themselves. 

To schedule your first session, give me a call or reply to this email.

If you have already experienced a session, please forward this email to your friends, family and co-workers who may want to try this for themselves.

I look forward to seeing you! 

Do you know these 5 keys to moving forward? (Part I)

Last month, I sent you a great article about how clutter can keep us stuck in the past. As a Higher Brain Living® Facilitator, I get this question a lot: How to I move forward from the past?

Getting unstuck is an amazing – and necessary! – first step. But once you’ve broken free from the physical, emotional, and spiritual clutter that’s keeping you stuck, how do you start moving in a positive direction and keep going? How do you identify and begin creating the life you’ve always longed for? Keep reading to discover the latest research – along with basic practices – that can help you break free from the past and jump start your forward journey.

To your most free and joyful life ahead,

Sunny Nason

P.S. We also heard your feedback saying that you’d like these articles to be a little shorter, so we’ve broken up this topic into two newsletters, and we’ll work to make things more concise in the issues to come. Be sure to look for the second half next month!

 

Do you know these 5 keys to moving forward? (Part I)

Maybe you’ve been stuck for a while. Maybe you’ve done a ton of personal work and don’t feel as trapped as you used to – but you’re looking for something to launch you into the next authentic phase of your personal development. Maybe you’ve made awesome progress and just find yourself plateaued at the moment. If you’re like most of us, maybe it’s a little of all three, depending on the issue and the day. 

There are consistent habits that people who are free from the past all share, and fortunately, we get to benefit from their long life experience, their research, their observations, and their wisdom. So what are some of the behavioral and life habits that we can cultivate to help drive forward momentum? Here are 5 of the biggest. 

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Learn to love the small steps. If you’re not happy with where you are, it might be tempting to say, If I can’t make big changes, then there’s no point. I might as well just stay put. But research shows that small, intentional steps are the things that actually pave the way for long-term success. In fact, some people would say that the small steps, all added up, ARE the success, because they become the habit and the lens through which we see our role in sustainable change. Our brains love the feeling of accomplishing short-term goals (hello, dopamine!), and those small steps also provide us with a way to see positive possibilities in a realistic future without getting overly anchored in a way-out future fantasy. Incremental goals allow you to see your life as a series of present-moment choices that you have control over; you’re not stuck in the perceived “failures” of the past, and you’re not stuck in some far-off  “someday.” 

So, you might not be able to afford a personal trainer, but you can commit with a friend to add in one healthy habit every two weeks for the next six months to start getting free from health issues of the past. You might not be able to pay off all your credit card debt today, but you can pick the smallest balance you want to pay down and set your focus there and then work up – what financial experts call the “snowball effect”. You might not be able to clean your whole house, literally or metaphorically, but you can start with one room. The reality is that small victories are still victories, and they feel awesome, and they propel you onward. The willingness to do small things is an act of defiance against defeat and despair; it is a declaration of your hope. As Robert Collier simply observed, “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day-in and day-out." 

Take responsibility and make amends for the things you’ve had a part in breaking. There are certainly situations where the pain of the past comes from things that have been done to us – abuse, neglect, betrayal – and it is healthy to recognize that we did not have a say in the actions of others. But if there’s a situation where you caused pain or a relationship that suffered because of something you did or said, do what you can to make it right. Even if that simply means writing a letter; even if it doesn’t restore the relationship to what it was; even if it is vulnerable and painful – do it, anyway. The burden of carrying it is likely paralyzing you to a life that is not nourishing for you. Dr. Judith Sills, a writer and psychologist, explains what it is to wholeheartedly express remorse:

A statement of remorse includes three essential pieces—a clear articulation of the harm you feel you did ("When we were little, I teased you so meanly"); a chance for the other person to express his or her point of view, old fury, or past pain, which will be uncomfortable to hear but requires validation from you ("I can see that I let you down... treated you terribly... was unfair. You have every right to be angry"); and an authentic expression of remorse, from the heart ( "I want you to know that I understand how I hurt you, and I'm so very sorry").

The repair steps may or may not restore the relationship. Many other factors will determine that outcome. But it is a way to put that part of the past that has been plaguing you firmly behind you (Sills, 59).

Choose forgiveness. Sometimes, there really is nothing that you did that needs to be repaired. There are situations where you might have been unjustly acted upon without your knowledge or permission. Forgiveness can be a hard one. Dr. Amed Sood, an expert on overcoming stress at Mayo Clinic, reports that in all his research over the last decade, forgiveness (of others, as well as ourselves) is the step that people struggle the most with. There is something pure and clean and satisfying about righteous anger, and forgiveness is often equated with letting a perpetrator off the hook, or with being weak, or with saying that it was okay that someone hurt you.

Let’s be clear: forgiveness is about letting go of the resentment, rage, bitterness, and hostility that we feel after being wronged. It’s not about saying that what happened was okay. It’s not saying that you deserved what happened. It’s not even restoring a broken relationship (that’s reconciliation, which may or may not be the right choice, or even possible, depending on your situation). Hanging on to the anger we may feel, however justified, is like driving around with the emergency brake on all the time: we can get from place to place, but there is so much resistance, and eventually things burn out and break down. We emotionally and spiritually chain ourselves to the very moment, decision, or person we say we hate, and we carry them with us everywhere we go. Holding on to bitterness means that they are with us all the time. It’s a heavy burden to bear. Culturally, we tend to think of forgiveness as something we do for the other person or because it is the “right” thing to do; in reality, it’s something we do for ourselves. It allows us to let go, to be truly free, and to move forward. It’s hard to do – but it works.

These are the first three behaviors that people all share who are free from their pasts—regardless of age, life situation, or what has happened to them. It’s important to note that these are not things we should have to do alone. If you need help as you start to get unstuck and take steps forward, please don’t hesitate to reach out to a trusted counselor or other wellness practitioner!

Be sure to check in again next month for the final two secrets to achieving and maintaining freedom from the past!

As a Higher Brain Living® Facilitator, I am committed to helping people look honestly at how things are for them, and then helping them create a life—and the forward momentum towards that life—that they long for. If you’re curious about what could be possible for you as you seek to move forward with passion and courage, I would welcome your questions. You can try a session of Higher Brain Living® for yourself, with no obligation to continue, by clicking here.


Resources consulted for this piece:

Mehta, Monica. “Why Our Brains Like Short-Term Goals.” Entrepreneur.com, January 3, 2013.

Popova, Maria. “How to Stay Sane.” Brainpickings.com

“Neurologist Oliver Sacks on Memory, Plagiarism, and the Necessary Forgettings of Creativity.”

Sills, Judith, Ph.D. “Let It Go.” Psychology Today. December 2014, 47:6, pp. 53-59, 86.

Why you’re not getting more done — and what to do about it

For this month's featured article we're exploring why sometimes it's difficult to focus on important projects, and more importantly, a creative way to leverage the power of your brain to increase your productivity, focus for longer periods of time, and get into flow state. 

I think you'll enjoy it. 

Cheers to Evolution of Humanity,

Sunny Nason

 

The road to productivity is paved with good intentions. But, oh — the emails, the incessant dings and pings and rings, the flashing notices on screen, your grumbling tummy, that dog barking somewhere on the block, the dirty dishes, that nagging drip in the bathroom sink that reallyreallyshouldgetfixedrightnow.

It’s enough to make a person crazy, isn’t it? Why is it so hard to just focus and concentrate on what we need to get done?

Like most things, the answer lies quietly in the human brain. And unless we understand why something is happening at that deep level, it’s almost impossible to transform what isn’t serving us into something that can serve us.

We’ve written before about the power of habit in our brains, and why it can be so challenging to shift behaviors. And we’ve also talked about how specific brain waves affect our emotions, physiological states, and levels of attention.

The same part of our brains that resists change and newness is also insanely attracted to novelty.

That might sound like a contradiction. So what’s the difference?

Imagine our ancestors out on the savannah thousands of years ago. They likely had figured out a routine that worked for them to gather and hunt food, to sleep at night, to protect their families. So in that way, newness was resisted: if we did this, and it worked, and we’re still alive, there’s no reason to change anything.

But think of this: A rustling in the grass. A flash of eyes in the glow of firelight. The slight movement in the distance, and a shape that’s barely distinguishable from the surroundings. The discovery of a new fruit that could sustain or be poisonous. The smell on the wind of coming rain, which could mean much-needed fresh water or a devastating storm. That’s novelty.

Our brains are built to be highly attuned to any blip on our sensory radar, because that’s what ensured our survival. An area called the locus coeruleus especially is responsible for kicking out neurotransmitters to the limbic system that tell the brain how to respond to stimuli and whether or not it’s supposed to be calm or on high alert. The locus coeruleus enervates with the hypothalamus and the amygdala — which process emotion and memory — and this is why even memories of events can trigger a physical stress response in our bodies. Not surprisingly, studies have also linked the locus coeruleus with our waking and sleeping cycles. 

So, a sensory-distraction moment (which all takes place in milliseconds) could look like this: you hear a loud bang, which startles you. The auditory input goes to your locus coeruleus and initiates a stress response. If you are able to identify that the noise came from a backfiring old car, your brain will process the memory that this is non-threatening and will release calming neurotransmitters to halt the high alert. On the other hand, if you look and see a person nearby wielding a gun, your brain will kick everything up even more, sending more blood flow to your extremities and preparing your body for flight.  

Today, the locus coeruleus can still help us the way it did for our ancestors — if you’ve read Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, you know the incredible power of our brains to sense and process in a snap the minute clues in our environment that can lead to life-saving choices.

But it also ensures our susceptibility to distraction, especially with the constant surround of stimuli of all kinds, as the brain is continually starting and stopping responses to perceived tiny “emergencies.”

Fortunately, we do have a couple of mechanisms in our brains that allow us to adapt to the frenzy, and some people actually find it easier to work in a louder environment as opposed to a very quiet one.

One mechanism is called habituation. This occurs when our brains reach what neuroscientists refer to as cognitive load. Essentially, our senses just get overloaded, and this allows our brain to amalgamate and filter out background noise for a short period of time (usually about 20 minutes), to register it as “white noise” so that we can concentrate on one task like reading or carrying on a conversation. But it’s not really a long-term solution if you’re looking to really focus on a longer project, and it doesn’t help us get into a flow state.

Another ally we have in the quest for paying attention is our frontal cortices. This is the seat of our executive function; it acts like a project manager for our environment and constantly sends signals to the rest of our brain, especially the limbic system, to calm down.

So what can help our higher brains be better project managers, improve our ability to focus for longer periods of time, and get into flow state?

Anything that sends energy to the prefrontal cortex will help build the “muscle” of attention in your brain — and we’ve talked about those things here in these newsletters: getting outdoors, walking a lot and walking barefoot, a consistent meditative practice, intentional gratitude, getting regular exercise, whole-food nutrition, and activating the frontal cortices through your Higher Brain Living® sessions.

One unique finding in the science of focus has to do with music — specifically, instrumental music that plays at about 60 beats per minute. According to the research, music at this rate elevates alpha waves, which are linked to the flow state, and decreases beta waves, which are associated with higher levels of arousal and outside awareness. There’s even a company founded around this entire concept, called Focus@Will. Specific music tracks are selected and played over a period of 100 minutes to maximize this alpha/beta effect in the brain and enhance concentration. (You can check out the science and impressive amount of research that went into creating this service by visiting the site.)

As with so many aspects of modern living, part of training our brains to adapt to our new environments involves our ability to recognize the root of what we want to transform and working with what’s there rather than trying to constantly fight the outward symptoms of what your brain is doing. For example, someone might think that if she just gets into a space that’s completely quiet, she’ll be able to focus better — but that might not work for her if the quieter environment means that her brain just becomes even more hyper-attuned to any tiny distraction. Or someone might think that plugging in headphones and his favorite music will help his tune out the noise in a coffee shop — but if the music he’s listening to is too fast or has words that evoke memories or heightened emotion for him, then his locus coeruleus might be firing up without him even realizing it, causing a stress response that will inhibit his ability to focus! Each person is a little different, so some tools might be more effective for one person and not for another. 

What about you?  Are you ready to learn about more ways to tap into your higher brain for better focus and increased productivity?  Come to one of our upcoming community events!  They are fun, free, and filled with high vibrating like-minded people.  Come solo or bring a friend.  View all of the upcoming events and details now by clicking here.


Sources:

Aston-Jones, Gary, Ph.D.; Monica Gonzalez; and Scott Doran. “Role of the locus coeruleus-norepinephrine system in arousal and circadian regulation of the sleep–wake cycle.” (pdf)  

Conrad Stöppler, Melissa, MD. “What is the role of the locus coeruleus in stress?” September 4, 2013.

Gladwell, Malcolm. Blink: The power of thinking without thinking.

Do you still believe this popular myth?

At some point in our lives, most of us have heard the pervasive myth that average humans only use 10% of their brains. Extensive work in the scientific community has been done to dispel what was likely a misunderstanding of 19th-century research and consequent misquoting of an early 20th-century psychologist.

Yet, even today, about half the population still believes the myth. Part of this could be that it is, oddly, an inherently inspiring notion: If we have 90% capacity to tap into, how super-human and wildly different from our current pedestrian selves could we become?

Now, before you get all disheartened at the thought that you are already functioning at your full potential — keep reading! Humans have immense untapped potential; it’s just that the way there is not through using a larger percentage of our brain.

This longing to be extraordinary has fueled many books and movies over the years. On July 25th 2014, the movie Lucy, starring Scarlett Johansson, will be released. This thrill-a-minute action flick focuses directly on the 100%-capacity question. You can check out the movie trailer below:

Despite Morgan Freeman’s compelling proclamations as a neuroscientist, what scientists know today is that unless a portion of the brain has been removed or severely injured, during the course of a day, we all use 100% of our brain. Dr. John Henley, a neurologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, sums it up this way:

Although it's true that at any given moment all of the brain's regions are not concurrently firing, brain researchers using imaging technology have shown that, like the body's muscles, most are continually active over a 24-hour period. Evidence would show over a day you use 100 percent of the brain. Even in sleep, areas such as the frontal cortex, which controls things like higher level thinking and self-awareness, or the somatosensory areas, which help people sense their surroundings, are active.

Practically, this makes sense. If all of our brain’s neurons were constantly firing at 100%, we would likely be totally overwhelmed by the stimulus. Parts of the brain are more active in sleep, and other parts are firing during wakefulness and tend to slow down during sleep or periods of inactivity. And in truth, our brains need the respite, just like the rest of our bodies do.

While we might have to let go of the vision of 90% dormant brain ripe to be tapped, this is not cause for discouragement. It’s possible to embrace the reality of scientific fact and still find profound inspiration in the ability that our amazing brains have for growth, improvement, and healing. And it’s possible to use what we do understand about brain function to boost our potential individually and collectively.

One thing we understand better now than we did in the 19th Century is that the frequencies of certain brain waves in certain parts of the brain have a huge effect on thoughts, mood, choices, and behavior.

As we’ve addressed before in other articles, we can affect things like depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, and uncontrolled rage by slowing down or ramping up frequencies in certain parts of the brain.

We know that mindfulness and meditation influence brain wave function and can serve to transform the shape and performance of our brains by the ways they send energy to the prefrontal cortex. The Higher Brain Living® technique has also been shown to produce similar brainwave frequencies as meditation — sending energy to the same higher brain areas which are linked to producing insightful problem solving, physical healing, healthy habit formation, an increased sense of happiness, and numerous other benefits.

And we also know that even very basic lifestyle changes, like eating whole and non-toxic foods, spending time in nature, and getting regular sleep and exercise, can literally change the size of our brains and create new neuro pathways through neurogenesis.

So, it’s not really a question of percentages. Rather, the driving question of brain capacity for the 21st Century really could be: Are we maximizing the efficiency of the 100% that we know is currently in use?

In other words: We all have an engine. With the right tools, we get some say in whether it purrs with the clean power of a Tesla or chugs like a run-down clunker. Both a clunker and a Tesla can get you from New York to California — but what’s the trip going to be like, and how long will it take to get there? It stands to reason that how we treat our bodies and our brains determines how well they work.

All these things point to an as-of-yet unknown potential for humans to be stronger, healthier, happier, more connected, more peaceful, and more capable than we’ve ever been. It speaks to the brain’s incredible ability to notice and respond to its environment.

Given the right circumstances, the right tools, and the right level of dedication and commitment — we might yet live into the dream of what 100% capacity can look like.

Try out the Higher Brain Living® technique with two sample sessions.  In just two sessions most people report that they experience feelings of stress and anxiety dissipate, have an increase in energy and mental clarity, sleep better, and feel more present in their day-to-day activities. 

Watch a short video presentation and see a demonstration of the technique now by clicking here

Cheers to Evolution of Humanity,

Sunny Nason

Is this the next best thing since yoga?

Thirty-five years ago, most people in the West viewed yoga as completely nuts. It was considered to be an activity for would-be hippies, New Agers, and flaky kooks who were inexplicably enamored with Eastern philosophies. 

In September 2010, to mark its 35th anniversary, The Yoga Journal featured stories from renowned yogis who started their yoga practice back in the 70s and 80s. These yogis shared stories that now seem unbelievable —  like their neighbors calling the cops on them because they were doing yoga outside.

But even then, people noticed. Those who practiced yoga often were lean, flexible, strong, and healthy well into old age; they were often calmer, more attuned, and free from the laundry list of physical and mental ailments that befell other people in their age groups. What was their secret?

One might be reminded of Arthur C. Clarke's Third Law:

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. 

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Today, yoga is not just promoted and practiced in hippie enclaves and urban communities, where yoga studios are as common as coffee shops — it’s a full-fledged cultural movement backed by decades (though some would say centuries!) of scientific study. Major medical centers across the country, including leading-edge medical facilities such as Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins, have devoted notable resources toward better understanding the physiological, psychological, and medical underpinnings of this practice. 

As a result, we have a clearer understanding of how and why yoga has all these positive effects on body, mind, and spirit. Today, even some schools are incorporating yoga into the school day (we would LOVE to see that happen in every school in the US!). 

If you look at the trajectory that yoga has been on in the West — from general skepticism to guarded curiosity to intensive scientific scrutiny to widespread embracing — we can see a similar path for the study of neuroscience. Specifically, our understanding of the essential role our prefrontal cortex plays in health, happiness, progress, and cultural development has blossomed in recent decades with the help of dedicated scientists, sociologists, and thought leaders.

Prominent and respected neuroscientists, researchers, and doctors are uncovering the vast and powerful benefits of energizing your higher brain. 

Jon Kabat-Zinn, PH.D., the Executive Director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, was invited to speak to a large group of US school superintendents about what he believed would have the greatest impact on the education of all children in the US.

He spoke on the necessity of activating our prefrontal cortex in order to unleash our full potential. He used case studies and research to show our educational leaders that energizing your higher brain is critical for:

  1. effective problem solving & having insights
  2. generating insights & ideas
  3. having highly creative thought processes
  4. enhancing focus & concentration
  5. getting kids off of medications
  6. having optimal health & well being
  7. creating new healthy habits with ease
  8. empowering the body to turn off harmful gene expressions and turn on beneficial ones  

If we saw all this happening in our schools (and beyond), wouldn’t it look like magic to many of us?

He ended his speech with the following: "I don't know how No Child Left Behind is working for you, but research shows we should be focused on No Prefrontal Cortex Left Behind."

We are so energized and excited by these discoveries — and we are dedicated to the wonderful work ahead!

Join us at our next live demonstration to see first hand how Higher Brain Living® is helping people activate their higher brains and unleash their full potential! Click on the box below to view our upcoming live demonstration schedule now.

Cheers to Evolution of Humanity,

Sunny Nason

Can a tree can boost your productivity and creativity?

We hear a lot about productivity these days: it seems as though we’re all looking for ways to do more with less time and fewer resources.

According to Dr. Eva Selhub, clinical associate at Massachusetts General Hospital and instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School, compared to 1980, we now cram in an extra 4.4 hours per day of information consumption outside of work (an increase driven largely by screen-based media).

Yet even with access to all that information, we still feel like we’re always behind — and as a result of the relentless intake and processing, our brains are taxed and fatigued, and ironically, our productivity and creativity suffer.

Our standard model for increasing productivity? We put in longer hours. We up our screen time in the form of research, reading, watching, trying to stay on top of every trend. We buy expensive programs and systems and software. We up our intake of caffeine. We look to the latest in technology, hunker down, and get to work.

What if the key to increased creativity and productivity was free and could take as little as 20 minutes?

Dr. Selhub is also the co-author of a book called Your Brain On Nature. She explains what the research on info-overload finds:

Since good information can promote our safety and wellbeing, it should not be surprising that the human brain is wired for info-desire. Seeking information can feel good; it is a process rewarded through brain pathways in the same way we are rewarded for seeking sustenance and shelter. But the brain can easily be overtaxed in its distracted efforts to separate information of dubious value from that which might serve us well. And just as the brain’s reward system can be hijacked by calorie-dense junk food, the lure of instant screen-based information can be overpowering, displacing health-promoting activities, such as exercise, meaningful social interaction, and the rejuvenating act of contemplation.

Fortunately for us, and our info-addled noggins, our brain is also evolutionarily hardwired to find nature very interesting. For our ancestors, there was a big reward for being tuned-in to the natural world: awareness of cycles and seasons, knowing when to seek shelter, memory of the best berry patches or hunting grounds.

Our brains still know that there’s huge value in being outside and being familiar with natural surroundings, and they still crave that “green time.”

Additionally, just twenty minutes out for a walk in a park, or even just sitting under a tree and quietly taking in your surroundings, has a calming effect on the stress center of our lower brains.

Our brains get a breather — time to rejuvenate and rest a little.

This allows energy to be re-directed to our prefrontal cortex — which in turn increases executive function, allows for clearer decision making, and creates mental space for bursts of creativity and flashes of insight.

We’ve said it before — but the strange truth is that the key to getting more done is actually slowing down and taking time to do less.

As if that’s not enough, Dr. Selhub’s research also found that time in nature:

  • Reduces illness and the biomarkers for disease
  • Improves mental health
  • Boosts concentration
  • Improves memory
  • and increases our ability to connect empathically with others and our desire to act altruistically

Can you imagine what a huge impact we could have on our world with more nourishment for our empathic and altruistic selves?

For some of us these days, the trick can be just finding green space. It’s not uncommon for the typical American day to involve going from home to garage to car to freeway to office and back again, with nary a patch of grass to sit on.

Fortunately, there’s a move for urban areas with high-density living and working to add green spaces or mini-parks interspersed with sidewalks and skyscrapers. (Urban dwellers who live within one kilometer of green space not surprisingly tend to have a much higher level of life satisfaction, even when income is taken into consideration.)

But even tiny terrace gardens or a collection of potted flowers and herbs on a tenth-story balcony can have a positive effect in between longer exposures to the natural world — the simple act of digging in dirt can re-connect us with that part of us that longs for natural surroundings.

And when you do get a chance to be around trees, streams, breeze, birds singing, and the smells of flowers and earth, you can partake in what the Japanese call shinrin-yoku (Japanese "forest bathing" or "forest therapy").

Bring a book, take a walk, have a quiet conversation — and enjoy the added benefits of increased cerebral blood flow, empowered immune defense, better productivity, real connection, and improved mental health. 

Interested in learning even more methods for maximizing your mind’s potential? Join us at our next live demonstration to see first hand how Higher Brain Living® is helping people just like you increase creativity and productivity, reduce stress, improve their memories and more! Click on the box below to view our upcoming live demonstration schedule.

Cheers to Evolution of Humanity,

Sunny Nason

Are you too old for this?

We’ve all heard the old adage, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. The underlying thought there, of course, is that once you get past a certain age or life stage, everything is cemented — your routines, your habits, your abilities, your potential.

Thankfully — most thankfully! — the truth is that this saying is not based in reality, and that not only change, but real, incredible transformation is possible at any age, any time.  And even better, we now have the brain research that backs this up.

We know that the brain is plastic — that is, new connections can be forged at any time that literally change the shape and function of a person’s brain, regardless of age or intelligence level, and often in the face of serious brain injury. Scientists have known for a few decades now that our experiences trigger neuroplastic change in the brain. For example, a study done on taxi drivers found that they have larger posterior hippocampi, a brain structure important for spatial representation of the environment, because they spend their days experiencing and practicing the skill of navigation, orientation, and visualizing routes.

New research, however, is finding something even more amazing: our thoughts have just as powerful an effect on brain transformation as our experiences.

Dr. Richard J. Davidson is one of the most influential people in the field of neuroscience today. His groundbreaking work has led to exciting discoveries in the areas of brain health, the brain’s potential to heal itself, and the powerful role that emotions play in how our brains function. Not surprisingly, he has worked side by side with the world’s most renowned scientists, written hundreds of articles, and edited dozens of papers and books. Perhaps even more notable, though, is the fact that he has collaborated with those whose expertise is in mind training to research and demonstrate how our thinking and concentration affects how our brains behave. This has led him to work closely with people not often associated with “hard” science — the Dalai Lama, for example.

But his findings are clear: “Meditation, which cultivates mindfulness, promote[s] a positive pattern of electrical activity in the brain.”

Here’s the skinny on what’s going on in the brain when you’re meditating. Davidson’s research indicates a connection between meditation and resilience. A response to stress becomes problematic when someone obsesses, ruminates, or has an emotional reaction long after the problem has ended. In the brain, this shows up as the prolonged activation of the amygdala — what we often refer to as the lower brain, the seat of very primal and reactionary emotions like fear, rage, and stress.

Mindfulness meditation can boost the recovery time in the amygdala. And, just like with experiences — think of a taxi driver on his first day compared to someone who’s been navigating the streets of New York for 10 years — the more hours of dedicated practice people have, the faster their amygdalae recover. (For the full scholarly article, plus brain imaging illustrations that show the brain on mediation, click here.)

In addition to sending energy to the prefrontal cortex — the seat of the “higher brain” — certain types of mediation also strengthen areas of the brain associated with awareness of internal experiences, awareness of others, concentration, the ability to appropriately handle distraction, and adaptive control of behavior. It’s also been shown to bring relief to those who suffer with anxiety and depression — because depression often causes people to perseverate, or repeatedly fixate on negative thought cycles, and mindfulness training teaches the brain to healthily interrupt these cycles.

That’s a lot of benefit for the brain from something that we already know is good for the mind.

Though Davidson’s research has focused mainly on Buddhist meditation — this is because practitioners all have the same training, which brings a necessary consistency to scientific studies — he is clear that a person’s chosen mind training need not be religious in nature. “[W]hat we're talking about is part of every human being's innate capacity."

Isn’t it exciting to know that we all have that incredible potential? What could a few minutes of stillness each day in mind training do for you? Join us at our next presentation and find out how Higher Brain Living® can help you develop your meditation practice, or find another path to stillness, click on the box below to view the schedule of our upcoming events. 

Cheers to Evolution of Humanity,

Sunny Nason

Creating new habits can actually be easy - here's how

We’ve talked a lot here about the distinction between the “higher” and “lower” brain.

The amygdala is part of the lower brain system. It has been a part of the human brain for a very long time, and is responsible for regulating survival instincts and the emotions associated with survival — things like stress, fear, anger, passion, attraction, and instantaneous recognition (what could be considered “gut instinct”). The lower brain craves sameness and predictability; it’s much more efficient for the brain to perform habits than it is to constantly be devoting energy to new and novel things.

This amazing capacity of the brain to learn and assimilate repetitive information can be helpful — in fact, can make the difference between life and death in certain situations. But when we are trying to change things and create transformation, the lower brain’s bias toward habit can be inhibiting. We all know this struggle!

We’ve talked about the prefrontal cortex — seen as the

seat of the higher brain — and its role in executive function, decision-making, flashes of insight, bursts of innovation in problem solving. It truly is a miraculous evolutionary development in the long history of the human brain.

At first glance, it can be easy to assume that the lower and higher brains as mortal neural enemies, constantly fighting each other for control of our lives, health, and habits — the virtuous impulses of the higher brain constantly being thwarted by the panicky impulses of the lower brain and making us miserable. And in some cases, we do see how the reactionary nature of the lower brain (when there is no real threat present) can short-circuit progress.

But can these two powerful parts of our brains ever play nice? Can they work together?

Research conducted by Dr. Norman Doidge suggests that they can — and that we can use the brain’s own power to change itself to encourage better cooperation between the lower and higher brain.

The brain’s astonishing capability to adjust and change, even in the face of debilitating injury, is often referred to as plasticity or neuroplasticity. For example, our brains exhibit plastic tendencies when we learn and practice a new skill, when we take on new challenges, or when we establish new habits. Occasionally, whole sections of the brain can be damaged through stroke or accident, and the brain can actually “recruit” new, healthy parts of the brain to take over lost functions such as speech, writing, or walking.

Dr. Doidge wrote a book called The Brain That Changes Itself, in which he discusses and documents his years of research on neuroplasticity. In his book, he addresses a phenomenon called sublimation. This is when the high and low brain actually work together and influence each other to create something even better.

Sublimation is often associated with the notion of “civilizing” our more animal instincts. An example can be seen in how we approach competitive sports in our culture. Tens of thousands of years ago, competition was often literally a matter of life and death: our ancestors were looking for food, trying to find the best places to live and hunt and pass on their genes.

Today, we don’t have that kind of survivalist urgency, but our brains still get great pleasure out of the act of competing and winning — they crave that effort and striving, and they send out adrenaline reward chemicals like crazy when we compete for things — even when we’re just watching other people competing.

Do you ever wonder why when you’re at a hockey game, you hear people shouting, “Go get him! Kill him! Trample him!” from the stands, even though obviously the intent is not to encourage actual murder? As Doidge points out, “Fans often express these [lower brain] wishes, but the civilizing rules modify the expression of the instinct, so the fans leave satisfied if their team wins enough points.” And thank goodness for that!

The plastic brain allows for sublimation. Areas that historically have functioned to carry out hunter-gatherer tasks (like hunting and killing prey) can be sublimated into things like competitive games, since our brains can link two seemingly unconnected things in novel ways to create entirely new things. In this way, neurons from instinctual parts of our brains can play quite nicely with cognitive-cerebral parts, influence each other, form new functions, and still release all the reward chemicals of our ancestral habits. As Dr. Doidge notes:

When an instinct, such as stalking prey, is linked up to a civilized activity, such as cornering an opponent’s king on a chessboard, and the neuronal networks for the instinct and intellectual activity are also linked, the two activities appear to temper each other — playing chess is no longer about bloodthirsty stalking, though it still has some of the exciting emotions of the hunt. The dichotomy between “low” and “high” begins to disappear...The low and the high transform each other to create a new whole (p. 297).

As you’re out and about this week, see if you can notice instances of sublimation — or perhaps instances where sublimation would be helpful in cases where lower brain reactions are taking over. Yes, it’s great to know where and when to engage higher brain functioning when old habits aren’t serving you. But how exciting to know that these two parts can also work together when the time is right!

What are some areas of your own life where you might be able to help your amygdala and your prefrontal cortex become co-conspirators in creating a more meaningful, pleasurable, joyful life for you, and how could your Higher Brain Living® sessions help you get there?

We have incredible brains that make astonishing transformations possible. And the even better news is that you definitely have a say in how those changes occur.  Join us at our next presentation and find out how Higher Brain Living® can help you.  Click on the box below to view our schedule and plan to join us at our next event.

Cheers to Evolution of Humanity,

Sunny Nason

Forget willpower — this is how you really make change

We have been told for decades that willpower is what we need more of. If we just had more of that elusive thing, we’d have more control over unhealthy behaviors. More power to start and keep good habits. More of the stuff we want, less of what we don’t.

We know now that things have to change at a much more fundamental level, deep in the brain’s intricate web of neurons, to create lasting behavioral transformation.

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A common phrase heard in neural-scientific circles is, Neurons that fire together, wire together. What this means is, basically: when you do something over and over and over again, the brain learns a new pattern. What we have often mis-identified as “strong willpower” in others — the guy who always seems to have no trouble turning down junk food; the co-worker who exercises five days a week, rain or shine; the friend who regularly makes time to meditate, even with a busy schedule — is actually just us observing the millionth time that person is participating in a well-established habit.

The brain has a vested interest in forming habitual behaviors. Why? Because it takes much less work. Habits are super efficient from a brainpower standpoint.

Think of all the things you do every day that you don’t even think about — brushing your teeth, tying your shoes, parallel parking, locking your car door over your shoulder as you walk into work while carrying your computer bag and purse and sipping your coffee. It’s all pretty amazing when you think of it. Your brain has all of those often-repeated actions stored in such a way that you don’t have to devote precious brain real estate to concentrating on every single thing you do all the time.

Likewise, the primal stress/fear response that’s lodged deep in the lower brain’s amygdala — while mostly useless (and in some cases, detrimental) for us in our everyday 21st-century lives — still allows the brain to go on auto pilot. For this reason, the lower brain actually resists change. New behaviors take more energy, even when those new behaviors are healthy. So the reason we often struggle so much to break bad habits and start good ones is not the lack of willpower, but the lack of neural connections telling our brains to lock into a new repetitive patterns.

Is there anything we can do to help our brain relinquish its grip on habits that don’t serve us and instead latch on to behaviors that help us live stronger, brighter, more vital lives? 

According to Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, the formation of habits starts in a part of the brain called the basal ganglia. The basal ganglia is part of the Limbic System — the area of the brain that regulates emotion and memory. It influences emotions and the visceral responses to those emotions, motivation, mood, pattern recognition, and sensations of pain and pleasure.

In the three phases of what neuroscientists call the “habit loop,” the basal ganglia basically takes a behavior and makes it a habit. First, there’s the cue, the thing that “triggers” a certain behavior. Next comes the routine, or the behavior itself (this is what we observe as a habitual action). Once the action is taken, the brain releases feel-good or reward neurotransmitters, like dopamine or serotonin; these signal the brain to store both the trigger and the action for next time, so that we can be prompted to do it again. (A reward is only needed to create a habit, not to maintain one — so once the habit is established, the reward can diminish, and we’ll still feel prompted to do the same thing.)

So, if we’re looking to eliminate choices that detract from wellness and establish choices that enhance our lives, we need to pay attention to the habit loop: What’s the cue? What’s the behavior? And what’s the reward? What is it that our bodies, minds, and spirits are really craving that the engrained habit is serving on the surface but not deeply fulfilling? 

One simple example: if you eat potato chips every time you sit down to watch TV at night after dinner, chances are it’s not hunger that’s prompting the habit. Is it the advertising? Are you thirsty? Bored? Or maybe just tired? It could be that your body is actually telling you to stretch, read, and go to bed instead of watching TV — and that that behavior could produce the chemical “reward” that would contribute to cementing a new habit.

The really cool thing is this: the basal ganglia directly connects the lower and higher brain functions. It is the communicator between the two. It basically translates the decisions made by your higher brain, creates new neural pathways, and turns those new choices into automatic routines.

Your Higher Brain Living® sessions are specifically designed to send energy to the prefrontal cortex — the very part of the brain that starts the communication with the basal ganglia. So the more you can engage and activate your higher brain, the better chance you have of making the decisions that initiate the whole habit-forming sequence in your brain. Instead of being driven constantly by lower-brain habits that are simply occurring on auto-pilot, when you energize the prefrontal cortex, you’re empowering yourself to start a new conversation in your brain’s neurons — a conversation that is filled with possibility, wellness, and purpose.

Are you ready to start creating the habits that will support your best self? Join us at our next presentation and find out how Higher Brain Living® can help.  Click on the box below to view the schedule of our upcoming events. 

Cheers to Evolution of Humanity,

Sunny Nason

 

Are you addicted to being busy?

We hear a lot these days about the relentless busyness of American life.

Work. Kids and their activities. Volunteering. Trying to exercise and take care of ourselves somehow.

Trying to fit in coffee or happy hour with a friend every now and then. (Isn’t it weird that it sometimes feels like meeting with someone we genuinely care about is like checking just another item off a list?) The everyday slow grind of the tasks that accumulate in a week, like bill paying and errand running and house cleaning.

It can all equal days and weeks that fly by in a blur of schedules, obligations, and missed opportunities. Our relationships — with our partners, our kids, our loved ones, ourselves — often suffer as a result of our frenzied running and exhausted disconnection.

Danielle LaPorte reminds readers that being busy if often just a choice, just a collection of things we’ve decided to say “yes” to. She’s never one to shrink from sharing her opinion, and you can get a taste for how she feels about it all in her Daily Love article titled, “We Know You’re Busy, Now Shut Up About It.”

Tim Kreider wrote a beautiful, borderline-heartbreaking New York Times op-ed piece in 2012 called “The Busy Trap.” It was one of the NYT’s most-viewed op-eds; it obviously struck a chord with people, as it reflected both the deep longing people have for more “down time,” but also the insidious way that busyness can become addicting in a couple of big ways: we keep busy (and talk about it a lot) as almost a form of bragging, because being busy makes us feel needed and important; and we keep busy to avoid thinking too much about the things in our lives that would profoundly trouble us if we faced them. Essentially, we overbook our lives as a way to avoid experiencing them fully.

In addition to the havoc this wreaks on our personal lives, there is another serious downside to relentlessly pursuing busyness: our brains desperately need rest in order to function. Kreider writes:

Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.

The stress of having a life jam-packed with things we don’t really love and that wear us out sends our Lower Brain into overdrive. We need relaxation, rest, and peace in order to ignite the passion and wisdom of the Higher Brain — to grow and heal, innovate and risk, take on big things, imagine big things, create big things.

We often mistake being busy with making progress. Maybe it’s time to try moving forward by just being still for a moment. 

Join us at our next presentation to find out how Higher Brain Living® can help you find this stillness.  Click on the box below to view the schedule of our upcoming events.

Cheers to Evolution of Humanity,

Sunny Nason

 

Two Minutes to a More Powerful You

 

Social scientists are constantly engaged in the overlapping questions of how our environments affect us, and how we affect our environments.

Amy Cuddy, researcher and professor at Harvard, specializes in the area of non-verbal communication — what our facial expressions, gestures, and body positions say even when we don’t utter a word. And of course, we can easily think of a variety of social situations where certain non-verbals could affect the outcome of a situation: job interviews, first dates, boardrooms, classrooms, client meetings.

But Cuddy, in her groundbreaking 2012 TEDTalk, posed a most interesting question: Does the way we hold our bodies affect more than just how others perceive and judge us?“When we think of nonverbals, we think of how we judge others,” she said. “We tend to forget, though, the other audience that's influenced by our nonverbals: ourselves.”

Her research studied how the body affects the mind, and how the mind then affects actual situational outcomes. Those who adopted “power poses” for two minutes prior to intense and stressful job interviews performed better, were more confident, and were more open to taking risks. A power pose is one where you literally make yourself bigger — you stand tall, take up space, hands confidently on your hips or even up in the air. (Dr. Cuddy even recommends that people do this in a bathroom stall for a few minutes prior to entering a meeting!)

In addition, there was a significant difference in tested hormone levels associated with power (or lack of). Those who had taken open, “big” body positions had significantly higher levels of testosterone (the power hormone) and significantly lower levels of cortisol (the stress hormone). Those who were given “weak” poses — curled in, arms and legs crossed, lowered head, generally making oneself smaller — before the experiment had a noticeable decrease in testosterone and an increase in cortisol.

Even more amazing? When people adopt a regular habit of “power posing” — even when there’s no job interview or date on the horizon — the positive benefits become more engrained, and the brain actually begins to believe what the body is telling it.

Here is what we know: the lower brain (the amygdala) is a sameness-seeking safety machine. It does not want big change — or change of any kind, really. It wants you to stay safe, small, and quiet. When you practice being big and bold, you are chemically telling your brain that it is okay to take risks, to be yourself, to go into a room or a situation with confidence and strength. You’re bringing the higher brain into the game more. Power posing helps encourage the activity in the higher brain that your Higher Brain Living® sessions are energizing.

You can learn more about the details of this fascinating and inspiring research by clicking here. At the very least, it will change how you think about your posture. And maybe more importantly, it will bring some awareness about how you feel about yourself and the ways you hold your body in various spaces, where and with whom you feel stressed, small, and powerless — or bold, big, and empowered.

Do you have an upcoming meeting or event? Would you be willing to try two minutes of power posing in the days leading up to it?

Cheers to Evolution of Humanity,

Sunny Nason