There is interesting research coming to light on the brain and the mind – in many ways this reflects the journey of science towards the philosophies of the East, which have always believed in the plasticity of the brain. Nowhere is this more clear than in the meditation techniques from India and beyond.
Our brain is a fascinating organ – about 1.5 kg, or 2% of our body weight. It swims in a clear fluid but we are not yet sure of the purpose of this fluid. It needs oxygen, glucose, calories and utilises about 20% of the body’s nutrients. There are wonderfully eloquent parts of the brain, but also many parts whose use continues to elude us. There are a finite number of neurons but an infinite way of connecting them and communicating between them.
Each brain is unique – we speak of personalisation of the brain through unique dynamic configurations and neuron connections driven by unique experiences. It follows, therefore, that if the human brain, indeed the human mind, is so sensitive to the environment, and if our environment is changing in a very radical way, then the human mind will be changed in a radical way too. Baroness Susan Greenfield.
Science has for a long time believed that the functions of the brain are fixed, and that over time, the brain deteriorates. That view is changing with remarkable observation and research that shows that the brain is capable of transferring function of one part of the brain to another, and that, in the right conditions, can continue to form new connections over the lifetime of an individual. It is our responsibility to provide those conditions – good food, oxygen, gentle exercise, great self awareness, and continual stimulation of the brain with new challenges, new ways of doing things, new experiences and world views.
Balance and Wellness at Work
So we have an amazing responsibility. In a work context, there is immediate benefits – longer term employability, retention of knowledge and experience and different ways of thinking about learning and development. Imagine an organisation that strategises to keep its employees’ brains in top-notch condition and continually expanding.