Not long ago, it was a common belief that human beings were born with a specific number of neurones that died little by little and… c’est fini. That’s all folks. Fortunately, from the 1960’s on, researchers have been working on Neuroplasticity and have already discarded the idea that it was only in childhood that brain-structure changes occurred.
Explained for dummies, our neurones could be thought of as something like videogame’s lives that yes, you may lose, but you also have the chance to change your character’s evolution and even get more new ones if you perform different actions. When it comes to neurones, we could call ourselves lucky: we don’t need to overcome great challenges to get them. We just need to do new activities or even perform the ones we usually do but in an innovative way. Or we could just acquire new knowledge or take up a hobby we’ve always been interested in.
As you can see, there are nothing but advantages: you start doing something new that you like, and on top of that, you get an extra bonus in the form of neurones.
What’s not used, gets deteriorated
As Jean-Baptiste Lamarck said at the beginning of the 19th century, ‘In every animal which has not passed the limit of its development, a more frequent and continuous use of any organ gradually strengthens, develops and enlarges that organ (…); while the permanent disuse of any organ imperceptibly weakens and deteriorates it, and progressively diminishes its functional capacity, until it finally disappears.’ This is part of what he stated in his theory of Evolution (also known as Lamarckism) and we shouldn’t lose sight of it, not even at the office. Because every body part can be exercised, developed and strengthened. And this includes, of course, our brain as well.
And here is where Neuroplasticity and its great benefits come into play.
Neuroplasticity at the office
There are plenty of things we can do to improve our brain’s health and performance. Here are some that you can start implementing at work, which undoubtedly will improve your productivity:
- Healthy Diet. Diet is proven to have a direct impact on the configuration and performance of our brain. Eating at the office is not an excuse for an unhealthy diet anymore. Nowadays there are very healthy takeaway options and easy recipes for you to make at home in very little time.
- Flexible working. Making it easy for your employees to have flexible schedules will let them balance their biorhythms, which will help them sleep more and better. This will improve their brain activity and they will be more productive.
- Sports and exercise. Having a gym at the workplace or offering activities like Pilates or Yoga to your employees will result in great benefits for your company. And what’s more: it will improve enormously their attention span, which will have very positive effects on the performance and productivity of workers. Workers who, on the other hand, will be far less stressed.
- Different approaches. Encouraging creativity and innovation is key to keeping workers’ concentration at a high level and improving their performance. Currently, we have a wide range of tools and software programmes to help us change the way we do things, what results in greater productivity.
And in case that changing your habits will take you great effort, think that (luckily enough) not every job requires such a neuronal capacity like that of the London taxi drivers. They have to learn by heart 25,000 street names and thousands of other places to pass a really tough examination. Aren’t you feeling a little bit better? Don’t you think that you have quite an easy-to-perform job? Well, let’s imagine that you can keep on doing the same tasks you’re already an expert in but with more freshly-baked neurones, thus least effort.
Sounds right, doesn’t it? Then… get to work! Or even better, get plasticity for your neurones!
Translation by Susana Castro.