Dear friends,

What a unique privilege it is for our teams at the Center for BrainHealth to coach warriors – active duty and former military service members, as well as first responders. From trainees to generals, these warriors have learned to build cognitive resilience and adapt in high-stress, novel situations.

We are all warriors now as we experience increases in stress and anxiety. Who doesn’t want to have greater resilience so we can better rebound when we emerge from this crisis?

Here are some insights from these trainings, courtesy of Katie Hinds, MS, CCC-SLP, Lead Clinician with our Warrior Training Team:

  1. Build Team: Provide structure during your workday and your family time to allow opportunities for joint problem solving and innovating together as a “unit.” Reinforce the idea that “we are in this fight together” by finding and committing to a common mission. Having structure improves focus and productivity, while innovative thinking increases neural efficiency.
  2. Flex Up to Challenge: Social connections strengthen areas of the brain related to empathy and understanding. It is more important than ever to identify novel ways to stay in touch with your colleagues, friends or family. Prioritizing connectedness in a time of physical distancing enhances your brain and builds resilience.
  3. Start with Success: When we accomplish something—no matter how small—our brain releases dopamine, which makes us feel good and energized. That surge fuels more success. As our friend and The BrainHealth Project’s international spokesperson Adm. William McRaven urges, “Make your bed.” (Yes, that starts your day with a small, achievable success!) Please watch his UT commencement speech here—it is well worth your time.

We all want to develop better strategies to adapt and find ways to thrive when our routines have been decimated. The good news is that the speed and complexity of these current changes can build brain resilience. You can help the brain develop new roadmaps by practicing the tips above.

Want to learn more? Read my previous brain health tips here—and look for more insights and practical ideas next week. If you think others will benefit from these strategies, please share my posts on the Center for BrainHealth LinkedIn page. Together, we can embrace ways to thrive by tending to brain fitness!

 

P.S. And never miss an opportunity to express our appreciation for all those warriors on the front lines fighting today’s battles for our health and safety!

 

Published April 10, 2020

See more messages from our Chief Director, Sandra Chapman, PhD here.