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How to Refresh Your Brain in a Matter of Seconds When You're Stressed

How your brain handles data

Your rational brain can process about six bits of data at once.

For example, in a meeting, you could be processing:

  1. what happened in your last meeting with her;
  2. the concerns that are now surfacing;
  3. your goals;
  4. the rewards if this meeting goes well;
  5. the person's pupils dilating;
  6. butterflies in your stomach.

Sequencing these events in different ways will generate 720 bits of intel. (6 x 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1 = 720)

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How to Refresh Your Brain in a Matter of Seconds When You're Stressed

How to Refresh Your Brain in a Matter of Seconds When You're Stressed

https://www.inc.com/brady-wilson/science-says-your-brain-processes-720-possibilities-at-once-except-when-youre-s.html

inc.com

6

Key Ideas

When you're stressed

If during a meeting, you perceive an emotional threat, your brain will release stress hormones that will attempt to remove complexity from the situation. These stress chemicals will flush out bits of data that seem unimportant.

If just one bit of data is flushed out of your rational brain, you will be left with 120 options. (5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1 = 120). It effectively means that you just lost 600 possibilities.

Higher-order thinking 

When your creative, higher-order thinking fades due to stress, all you are left with is binary thinking; Yes-no, now-or-never thinking. This makes it impossible to be innovative or to engage in any form of value creation.

You can get back to the 720 possibilities by restoring your higher-order thinking.

Tap into gratitude

When you focus on gratitude, your body releases feel-good hormones that flush out stress chemicals, helping you to keep your smarts.

Name your emotional state

When you are experiencing anxiety, you can reduce stress by half if you notice and name your emotional state. 

Three deep breaths

When you experience stress, your breath becomes fast and shallow. To counter this, make your breathing slow and deep to signal to your brain's emotional center that you are no longer under threat.

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