Creating change: Activate different brain circuitry (vs. automatic behaviour) by regular intentional focusing of your thoughts

Thinking is movement in your brain

Sense To Solve -Thinking Is Movement

Ever wondered why you seem to do some of your best thinking when walking outside in nature? And even better thinking when you walk with someone?

  • Your brain needs oxygen (and glucose) to function. Walking increases blood flow to the brain and thus increases the oxygen that reaches your brain.
  • “The sky is the limit”. Walking outside literally means there is no “ceiling” to the possibilities. When in confined spaces, especially with low ceilings, it limits your thinking (unconsciously). Take note of what you feel like when in a space with normal height ceilings vs. spaces with no ceiling (or very high ceilings) vs. outside (no ceiling at all). Try it: Do a small experiment and have a meeting in these three different types of spaces and see if the outcome is different and how it is different. Take note of how you feel, what the energy in the space is like, the way the conversation/dialogue flows (is it easy, is it collaborative and co-creative or is it stifled with limited attention span?). When do you experience (for yourself and from your colleagues) and open mindset vs. a fixed mindset? What about the outcomes of the meeting (is it more of the same or did you manage to move forward and create new, interesting, creative solutions; made exciting decisions with buy-in and commitment)?
  • The power of nature. Your brain is able to go into a far more reflective and thoughtful mode when in nature. At work (especially in open plan offices), and in the city, you are bombarded by thousands of different stimuli every minute. Some of your cognitive resources are dedicated to managing all this input (filter the input, decide what is important and need action, survival (not stepping in front of oncoming traffic, taking note of the dubious looking character on the street corner, listening to conversations in the office (which ones should you take note of and which can you ignore? etc.). In nature, you (and your brain) can relax and as such you have more cognitive resources available to focus on the problem/discussion.
  • Walking with someone: the ‘we’ connection (see the work done by Dr. Dan Siegel, The neurobiology of we, and this article by Patty Llosa). When you walk and talk with someone else, there is an exchange of energy and information, creating flow between you. Your brain is social by nature, and connections with others support a vibrant and plastic brain.
  • The value of being a listening partner: “The quality of thinking of the person you are listening to, will improve with the quality of your listening”. Listening is a gift of attention. How to do it: Listen without judgment. Become aware of your assumptions. Have an open mindset. Be truly curious. Ask WHY to understand the deeper meaning/issue. Don’t interrupt. Only give advice if asked. Shift into empathy.
  • “Thinking is movement in your brain”. Your brain and mind want to make progress and move forward. The physical action of taking a step forward (physical movement forward) enhances the process of moving your thinking forward step-by-step.

Conclusion: when stuck in a rut; when needing new insights and creative solutions to problems, go for a walk with someone you like and respect, preferably in some green (nature) setting. Ask them to be your listening partner. Wear comfortable shoes and take a bottle of water. No sugary drinks or snacks. If during daytime and the sun is shining, you will have the added benefit of a dose of Vit D (which is much needed for a healthy brain).

….And make sure you capture your insights and ideas as quickly as possible