Goldilocks and a well balanced, resilient brain

Just as the heart is part of a system that moves blood around the body, in a similar way the nervous system which includes the brain, is part of a structure that moves and responds to information as it flows and moves around the body. The brain itself takes a lot of energy to function well.  That’s why as we get tired and run out of energy it gets harder to think clearly.  It’s only 2 to 3 lbs in weight but uses a staggering 20% of all the glucose and oxygen that the body as a whole needs. As mentioned in, “hard wired to connect” , the...

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From tigers to contented cats

At the beginning of this month there was a brief and moderate amount of publicity in the UK for two books about a subject many of us, myself included, find difficult to contemplate – death. One was by an Australian palliative care nurse called Bonnie Ware, who wrote ‘The Top Five Regrets About Dying’. Ware observed many people nearing death who saw with complete clarity that, for example, they wished they had the courage to live a life that was true to themselves and not the one that others’ expected of them. The next bigge st regret...

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The power of not reacting

Luckily I like Schipol airport—my local airport and the main one for Amsterdam—because I find myself there quite often travelling for work. It’s light and airy, with plenty of good places to drink coffee. Recently I was waiting at the gate for my flight and had the opportunity to observe an incident that seemed to encapsulate several themes from any working day. The first player in the scene was an airport cleaner—a small, quiet man who was sweeping the floor with a wide broom that was able to gather up a generous arc of rubbish. He worked...

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Some mindfulness exercises for your working day

Many of you will be familiar with the wonderful work of Jon Kabat-Zinn and his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction programmes. I recently came across an article by Saki F. Santorelli, one of the MBSR instructors at the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. The article is called, Mindfulness and Mastery in the Workplace. It presents 21 ways to reduce stress during the working day. I picked out a few that suggest more ways we can engage in mindfulness and meditation without drawing a lot of attention to...

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Exercising choice in your working life

If you did not need to earn a living, would you still want to do your job? Unless you are one of a fortunate minority of people who do their job because they absolutely love it, then your answer would probably be ‘no!’ Right from that point—the point where we have no option but to work in order to live—we feel that our choices with regard to work are narrow. Then, on top of that most people have a boss, or perhaps several bosses, all of who seem to hold the cards when it comes to making decisions that affect our jobs and how we do them. We...

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