What a tumultuous time! With the devastating pandemic, the heartbreaking injustices caused by systemic racism, and the responsibility of leadership through uncertainty, I sometimes feel like a raft at sea, buffeted by storms. Many of you have shared that you feel this way, too.
Nonetheless, I am vibrantly optimistic about our future, and here’s why: one of the brain’s most intriguing powers is the ability to zoom – and I don’t mean the meeting software!
Zooming is a set of strategies our BrainHealth team teaches to help people strengthen their brainpower. It involves brain workouts where we exercise dynamic synthesis (boiling ideas down to their essence) and broad-based applications of information to strengthen frontal networks – the brain networks that communicate richly with all other brain areas. Zooming has three parts:
- Zoom in: Focus on the important details when you consume a news story.
- Zoom out: Step back to decipher the bigger picture, like the context or the storyteller’s perspective.
- Zoom deep and wide: Consider implications, imagine a multitude of applications. What insights can you draw and apply in your own life?
While we cannot control world events, we can control how we take in information to inform our actions and manage our emotions. By zooming in to detail and out to the big picture, we are exercising the mental flexibility that is essential for problem solving, innovation and compassion building. When we become more adept at zooming, we become more brain healthy – like placing a motor on a raft – and more prepared to help make this world a better place.
May each of you continue to stay safe, healthy and engaged!
Published June 19, 2020
See more messages from our Chief Director, Sandra Chapman, PhD here.