About this Episode

    In this episode, Mireille and Adam talk through the challenge of problem solving. It’s all to common to utilize the “try harder” approach when things aren’t working out the way you’d like. While that kind of effort is valuable, this approach is often wrought with further frustration, wasted time and less than desirable results. This episode offers you an alternative perspective and ways that you can practice getting unstuck and utilize more of the resources of your unconscious mind.

    🔑 Key Takeaways

    • When faced with a challenging problem, taking a break and allowing the mind to wander can lead to making connections and potential a-ha moments. This method can be more effective than pushing harder or persevering under stress.
    • To improve problem-solving and memory storage, it's important to be mindful of sensory data and attuned to the environment. Attention and awareness play a crucial role in encoding information and aid in processing information effectively.
    • Our unconscious mind processes more information than our conscious mind, and exploring the brain's different aspects can help us gain new perspectives, sort tasks, and avoid catastrophic consequences. Learning about psychology and neuroscience can help us unlock the iceberg beneath the surface, and stepping away from a problem to examine its physiological effects on the brain can clear the way for better problem-solving.
    • Being in a relaxed state promotes better cognitive function and problem-solving abilities, and reducing decision-fatigue can help the brain function optimally. Understanding different brainwaves and promoting relaxation is necessary for effective problem solving.
    • Taking breaks, engaging in mindful activities, and calming our minds can help us access Gamma waves, which promote expanded consciousness and problem-solving abilities. Stress and cognitive load can hinder our ability to access these waves.
    • By practicing mindfulness and inducing gamma waves through biofeedback or neurofeedback therapy, individuals can activate their unconscious mind and build new neural pathways for faster learning and better problem-solving in just eight weeks.
    • The Pomodoro technique is a useful tool for breaking up work into focused sessions. Pairing it with other healthy activities like exercise and being aware of emotions can create a non-sedentary lifestyle that leads to optimal performance.
    • Fear stress can limit innovative thinking, but disengaging and exercising voluntary stress can lead to unconscious creativity and thriving under pressure. Adopt a mindset of 'not yet' and remember that not all stress is bad stress.

    📝 Podcast Summary

    The Power of Taking Breaks for Effective Problem-Solving

    When encountering a problem, pushing harder doesn't always lead to the solution. Taking a break and doing something completely different allows the mind to wander and make connections, leading to potential A-ha moments. Walking away, unplugging, and allowing the mind to play can lead to problem-solving. Stress can cause tunnel vision, making it harder to find a solution. Trying harder can impose more pressure and constraints, perpetuating the honing of the land. While in some scenarios, trying harder and persevering can lead to success, taking a step back, allowing the mind to make connections in the subconscious, and revisiting the problem after a break can aid in problem-solving.

    How Attention and Awareness Aids in Problem-Solving and Memory Storage.

    Stress can lead to emotional reactivity and negative inner critic, hindering problem-solving. To gain a new perspective or solve novel problems, changing the environment can kick in a new system. Problem-solving requires attention and awareness. Consciousness means with awareness, and unconscious means without awareness. While some processes like breathing and memory storage happen unconsciously, attention plays a role in encoding them. To remember things, being mindful of sensory data can help. Being aware and attuned to the environment and sensory data can aid in problem-solving and memory storage.

    Understanding the Brain for Enhanced Problem-Solving

    The unconscious mind processes about 11 million bits of information, compared to the conscious mind that processes about 40. This is why understanding the brain and exploring its different aspects can give you a new perspective and help you solve problems better. Problem-solving involves sorting tasks by importance and essentialism, and sometimes naming objects accurately can make a huge difference, or even cause catastrophic consequences. The brain is a constant, changing evolution of ideas and curiosity that gets explored. Learning and studying more about psychology and neuroscience can shed light on what's beneath our unconscious mind, the iceberg that we can't see but that influences what we do see. Stepping away from a problem and examining the different things that happen physiologically with the brain can also help to get unstuck from your problems.

    The Importance of Reducing Stress for Optimal Brain Performance

    Reducing stress is important not just for health reasons but also for thinking reasons because our brain needs to be in an optimal state and have calming and relaxing waves in order for our parietal cortex to do problem-solving effectively. Our brain displays electrical activity in the form of brainwaves in different categories ranging from beta waves representing active mental engagement to alpha waves representing non-arousal and relaxation. Theta waves with slower frequency but greater amplitude are even calmer. Having an awareness of our mental framework and reducing decision-fatigue is necessary to let the brain function optimally and solve problems effectively. Being in a relaxed state promotes better cognitive function and problem-solving abilities.

    Understanding the different brain waves and how they affect our thoughts and behavior.

    Taking a break from a task and daydreaming activates Theta waves in the brain. Freeway driving and mindless activities like reading before bed also stimulate Theta waves. They promote positive thoughts and stress relief. On the other hand, deep, dreamless sleep falls under the slowest Delta waves. Gamma waves are the newest discovery and are associated with expanded consciousness, altruism, and universal love. To engage in Gamma waves, we need to calm down our minds and let the unconscious brain handle complex problems. Mindful, process-based activities can shift our gears and allow our minds to discover instead of forcing it. Stress, decision fatigue, and cognitive load can create clutter in the brain and prevent us from accessing Gamma waves.

    Using Gamma Waves and Mindfulness for Faster Learning

    Gamma waves are associated with fast learning and can be induced through biofeedback or neurofeedback therapy. It is a learned practice where individuals can teach themselves to activate a neural network in their unconscious mind by practicing every day and building new habits. Practicing mindfulness and meditation can help individuals focus and block out external stimuli. It takes an average of eight weeks to build a new neural pathway. Once an individual activates the neural network in the unconscious mind, it continues to work on solving problems and making connections between data points that are quite disparate. This allows for a deeper understanding, faster learning, and the ability to access a zone where individuals can do their best work.

    Maximizing Focus and Achieving Optimal Function

    The Pomodoro technique is a good way to help you focus on tasks. The technique involves breaking up work into 25-minute sessions with a break afterward. Practice the technique with other healthy activities like walks and exercises to create a non-sedentary lifestyle. This can be useful as a non-sedentary lifestyle is more important than physical activity alone. Also, emotions can run interference with what you're trying to do, so being aware of feelings that can negatively impact performance, like fear or stress, is important to achieve calm and optimal function.

    Overcoming Fear Stress to Enhance Problem-Solving

    Constraints can be helpful, but emotional interference can hinder problem-solving. Fear stress can activate the fear center of the brain and limit innovative thinking. To overcome this, step back and disengage to reallocate energy and allow for unconscious creativity to emerge. Use the mindset of 'not yet' in problem-solving, knowing that you have the knowledge to solve the problem and can stick with it. Exercise voluntary stress instead of fear stress, and remember that not all stress is bad stress. By doing so, you can thrive under pressure and feel amazing about the work you put out.

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