A Positive Perspective on the Rat Race

man maze 123rf 12001021_sThe Rat Race usually conjures up images of a draining work routine, devoid of purpose and rife with pressures to deliver or be ditched.

No fun. And not good for our brain-body health either.

Here’s a different take on the Rat Race—one that could actually strengthen your brain health, as well as your work-life-leadership success.

UC Berkeley neuro-anatomy researcher Marian Diamond has studied the impact of the environment on brain development, and the likely link between positive thinking and immune health. Some of her research is described in Betty Friedan’s book Fountain of Age.

Diamond placed one group of rats in bare small cages by themselves; others were placed in larger cages holding 12 rats, with many objects and mazes to explore, climb in and out of, and manipulate. All were fed the same diet, but the “enriched environment” rats had the added element of tender loving care from the laboratory researchers. And, they had the objects in their cages changed every week.

Not surprising, the “enriched” rats showed a significant increase in the size of the brain in every dimension.

Here’s where it gets interesting. The maximum life span of a rat is 1,000 days, compared to 100 years in humans. Apparently Diamond’s rats in the bare cages rarely made it that long. But in another experiment, she took 766-day-old rats (equivalent to 75 human years) from the bare isolated environment and moved them into the enriched environment.

These geriatric rats became significantly smarter in learning how to make their way through a maze. Upon their death at around 900 days, their autopsied brains (despite the deterioration that had already taken place) showed increased thickening of the cortex compared to the isolated rats in the bare cages.

Too often, we perceive the ever-changing demands of our work environments as negatives—“it’s a Rat Race.” But what if the opposite is happening? Those demands and complexities can actually make your brain healthier (and cause you to live longer) when the perspective is that these are opportunities to:

> rise to the occasion and solve problems,
> connect and collaborate with others, and
> navigate through novelty using your strengths and creativity.

The next time you’re feeling stuck, embrace it as an opportunity for brain health and longevity!

NEXT BRAIN-BASED COACHING CLASS STARTS TUESDAY APRIL 26TH! www.TheAcademies.com/cbbsc/ or call 877.659.3769

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