Did you know that 20% of your bodily energy is used by the brain? The average brain weighs approximately 1.4 kilograms. If you weigh 70 kilos, this means that 2% is brains. So 2% of your weight uses 20% of your energy. Your brain is of the utmost importance to your body, your survival and your wellbeing. Your behaviour too influences your brain.
Are you aware of the fact that your brain is so important?
How do you take care of this vital organ on a daily basis? Most people I’ve asked are not sufficiently aware of the fact that the body uses up so much energy and they hardly know how to keep the brain fit. As they lack this knowledge, they make less than optimal use of their brain which, in turn, is not as fit as it could be. They let opportunities slip away and increase the risk of disease and diminished wellbeing. When people don’t grasp opportunities, neither do the companies they work for. Using your brain optimally can really make a difference.
Have you ever felt that after a long day’s work, your ability to think seems somewhat foggy? This is caused by the depletion of resources of the portion of the brain that thinks. This portion is called the prefrontal cortex. We need this prefrontal cortex for planning, thinking, concentration, et cetera. The prefrontal cortex too needs sufficient energy to function. It is clear that for the body, this is not a priority. The body will first make sure that crucial parts of the brain, such as the brain stem, are sufficiently nourished. The brain stem controls important bodily functions such as temperature, heartbeat, breathing and blood pressure. It is often said that, of the 20% energy the brain needs, 20% is used for the prefrontal cortex. That comes down to 5% of our total bodily energy. When other parts of the brain need extra energy, this is drawn from the prefrontal cortex.
Feeling secure in the workplace
If someone doesn’t feel secure at work, the brain will be focused on survival. In order to survive, specific parts of the brain such as the limbic system and the brain stem will be given extra energy. This will be at the expense of the energy available for the prefrontal cortex, so people will start to function less well.
A certain amount of stress is good for the brain. The brain needs to be challenged. However, at times, the amount of stress can be too great, and your brain can enter the survival mode. Then, the “survival centre” will use up most of the energy. This leaves the prefrontal cortex short of energy while all the while, the prefrontal cortex holds the solution! When the prefrontal cortex is sufficiently nurtured and adequately stimulated, this part of the brain can teach you to cope with stress.
The prefrontal cortex and its’ relation to stress and security
Your prefrontal cortex can make choices. It can help you decide how to handle stress. Or it can help you deal effectively with an insecure situation. Your prefrontal cortex can inspire you. So it’s super important to keep this body part fit! A fit prefrontal cortex can make the difference.
A fit prefrontal cortex
The last few months, I have been fully focused on writing my new book: “Human Leadership”. At some point, I noticed that I showed symptoms of having too much stress: I started to procrastinate, I made weird grammatical errors, I was overtired. Fortunately, I recognize this in time. I started to take care of my prefrontal cortex, I made it fitter. I slept longer hours, and I started running. It didn’t take long before I noticed that my attention improved. It is a well-known fact that enough exercise makes your prefrontal cortex fitter. I have written several articles about this, you can read all about it in my blog.
In the Netherlands, there is a lot of focus on healthy living and keeping fit. Unfortunately, much less attention is given to getting your prefrontal cortex in shape. I am convinced that in this respect too, many companies leave many opportunities=brain power unused. The training I give focuses specifically on optimization of the prefrontal cortex.