How is “the new normal” affecting you? With pressures coming at you from every angle, what do you do when you perceive that the demands placed on you exceed your ability to cope? Finding your way through these uncertain times calls for one thing above all: resilience.

By strengthening your brain’s capacity for resilience, you can effectively change your threshold of stress. Research has shown that by harnessing our executive function skills, we can down-regulate emotional responses to stress and sharpen our higher-order thinking. This makes us better problem solvers, decision-makers, and innovative thinkers.

By driving positive brain change, you won’t just bounce back from challenges – you can bounce FORWARD and UPWARD. Try these science-backed techniques to get your brain in the game.

The 2 + 5 + 7 Formula

Two – Identify two priority tasks each day that require deeper thinking, reasoning, and planning. Give them your attention when you are at your freshest. Limit distractions by turning off all digital notifications while you are concentrating. Allow no more than 45 minutes for each task, and then give your brain a break. Your brain and your work will thank you – as you experience being in the zone to think more efficiently and deeply.

Five – Take five minutes to rest your brain after a cognitively challenging task. Step away from technology, take a walk, observe your surroundings. Let your mind rest and wander just for a bit. Do this five times a day to recharge your brain, and you will come back refreshed, with reduced stress levels, and with a greater capacity to think deeply and creatively.

Seven – Be intentionally innovative seven times a day. Innovation is simply the flexibility of thinking. Explore perspectives that are different from your own. Approach a problem in an entirely new way. Practice two daily acts of kindness. Identify something that has gone stale from repetition and shake up the status quo. When you engage in innovative thinking, you are strengthening frontal networks and increasing neural efficiency.

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Published on Prime Women July 15, 2020