Interview Elke Geraerts guest speaker at first session LSSA: "Reinforce mental capital in your organisation"
Elke Geraerts is our guest speaker on Thursday 30 March for the kick-off of the Legal Soft Skills Academy. With the bestselling ”Better Minds” as a common thread, you will learn exactly how your brain works, discover practical techniques to boost your energy and focus, and get through these volatile times with sufficient motivation and a growing mindset. We have asked Elke a few questions below.
- The conditions in which we live have developed. To what extent has our brain evolved with these changes?
Our brain is very malleable and over the centuries our brains have adapted to new living conditions. But today you see that the world is changing too fast for our brain. The amount of information coming at us (and which is growing every year), mankind’s continuous hunger for stimuli (including FOMO - fear of missing out), and the attention economy that is keen to capture our mind all mean that we can no longer keep up, at least not at the pace we would like, and that causes stress.
- Hybrid working has become the norm. Are we moving towards a society that adapts to our brains?
I would certainly hope so. In my book, "The Mental Reset", I also make a case for adapting the way we work and live according to how our brain works, rather than the other way around. When we put our brain at the centre, we can significantly boost our physical and mental health. The possibility of hybrid working can certainly provide an opportunity to live and work in a more brain-friendly way. However, today I see that many people have not yet adapted hybrid working to their brain. For example, people work at home to focus but ironically will have all kinds of devices with them that distract their focus. Or people work at home to focus but have deliveries disturbing them several times a day. In short, we are not there yet and organisations and people urgently need to reflexively make brain-centred decisions.
- Can you give us 3 tips for coping with daily stress in our private and professional lives?
Try to listen carefully to stress signals. After all, stress is not something that is ‘on’ or ‘off’, but something that comes gradually. Don't be surprised by being overworked and exhausted one day, but pay attention well in advance to signals from your body and brain.
Create a balance between focus and unfocus. Focus on what really matters and then put your full concentration – so-called single-tasking- on that. And unfocus to recover, to see everything from a distance and to get creative out-of-the-box ideas in those particular moments.
Regularly take time for yourself to think if you are still doing the right thing, so that you are seeking out your energisers often enough. I myself lean on three questions set out by the late psychiatrist, Luc Isebaert, a world authority on solution-focused therapy:
- What did I do today that I enjoyed?
- What did someone else do for me that I liked?
- What did I see, hear, feel, smell, taste today that made me feel good?
Answering those questions daily will give you a good idea of your energisers and also allow you to seek them out more actively, both at work and in your private time.
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