ArticlePDF Available

The Healthy Mind Platter

Authors:
  • Mindsight institute

Abstract and Figures

Spurred on in 2011 by the U.S. Government’s relaunch of the food pyramid as a ‘healthy eating plate’, the authors Daniel Siegel and David Rock decided to explore a framework for understanding the ideal diet for our brain. We decided to coin this the “Healthy Mind Platter”. We do not refer literally to substances like glucose, which is an essential nutrient for the functioning of the brain, but to a set of everyday activities that on the whole, optimize “brain health”. Based on our literature review, we hypothesize that there are seven activities that each have different and beneficial effects on the mind that complement each other, providing together a well-balanced “mental diet” for optimal neurocognitive functioning and well-being. We propose that very much as in the case of food, people can do without some of these activities, but this lack of behavior will be associated with sub-optimal levels of functioning or ill-health. Further research is needed to determine the exact quantity and quality of each activity that is needed for optimal health, but we propose that each of these activities makes a unique and positive contribution to mental productivity and wellbeing. As such, the objective of the Healthy Mind Platter is to propose a framework for creating and maintaining mental well-being, summarizing and integrating distinct strands of neuroscience and psychology research, so it can be used to inform communities such asschools, organizations, governments, and communities, as well as families and individuals, about best practices for promoting mental health.
Content may be subject to copyright.
The Healthy Mind Platter
David Rock, Daniel J. Siegel, Steven A.Y. Poelmans and Jessica Payne
www.NeuroLeadership.org
NeuroLeadershipJOURNAL
ISSUE FOUR
This article was published in the
The attached copy is furnished to the author for non-commercial research and education use, including for instruction at the
author’s institution, sharing with colleagues and providing to institutional administration.
Other uses, including reproduction and distribution, or selling or licensing copies, or posting to personal, institutional or third-
party websites are prohibited.
In most cases authors are permitted to post a version of the article to their personal website or institutional repository. Authors
requiring further information regarding the NeuroLeadership Journal’s archiving and management policies are encouraged to
send inquiries to: info@neuroleadership.org
© NeuroLeadership Institute 2012 For Permissions, email support@neuroleadership.org
RESEARCH
The NeuroLeadership Journal is for non-commercial research and education use only. Other uses, including reproduction and
distribution, or selling or licensing copies, or posting to personal, institutional or third-party websites are prohibited.
In most cases authors are permitted to post a version of the article to their personal website or institutional repository. Authors
requiring further information regarding the NeuroLeadership Journal’s archiving and management policies are encouraged to
send inquiries to: support@neuroleadership.org
The views, opinions, conjectures, and conclusions provided by the authors of the articles in the NeuroLeadership Journal
may not express the positions taken by the NeuroLeadership Journal, the NeuroLeadership Institute, the Institute’s Board of
Advisors, or the various constituencies with which the Institute works or otherwise affiliates or cooperates. It is a basic tenant
of both the NeuroLeadership Institute and the NeuroLeadership Journal to encourage and stimulate creative thought and
discourse in the emerging field of NeuroLeadership.
NeuroLeadership Journal (ISSN 2200-8535) Issue Four published in October 2012. We encourage readers to propose a paper
for the next edition of this Journal. We recommend sending in a two-page proposal before submitting a finished paper and
welcome pure science, as well as case studies and discussion pieces. For further information as to how to submit a paper for
the next Journal go to www.NeuroLeadership.org
1
© NeuroLeadership Institute 2012 For Permissions, email support@neuroleadership.org
RESEARCH
The last few decades have witnessed a growing
awareness of the importance of nutrition as a basis
for health within the general population. In the U.S.
and Europe, governments have created nutrition
recommendations. Published as charts, such as healthy
food pyramids, which indicate that different food groups
provide important nutrients, they recommend that
citizens follow a “complete” diet that provides all the
essentials the body needs. Because the body needs a
wide variety of ingredients for optimal health, the basic
underlying principles are variation and complementarity.
This suggests that always eating the same food, even if it
is healthy, does not provide the body with a wide enough
variety of ingredients for optimal health.
Spurred on in 2011 by the U.S. Government’s relaunch of the
food pyramid as a ‘healthy eating plate’, the authors Daniel
Siegel and David Rock decided to explore a framework for
understanding the ideal diet for our brain. We decided to coin
this the “Healthy Mind Platter”. We do not refer literally to
substances like glucose, which is an essential nutrient for the
functioning of the brain, but to a set of everyday activities that
on the whole, optimize “brain health”. Based on our literature
review, we hypothesize that there are seven activities that
each have different and beneficial effects on the mind that
complement each other, providing together a well-balanced
“mental diet” for optimal neurocognitive functioning and
well-being. We propose that very much as in the case of
food, people can do without some of these activities, but this
lack of behavior will be associated with sub-optimal levels
of functioning or ill-health. Further research is needed to
determine the exact quantity and quality of each activity that
is needed for optimal health, but we propose that each of
these activities makes a unique and positive contribution
to mental productivity and wellbeing. As such, the objective
of the Healthy Mind Platter is to propose a framework for
creating and maintaining mental well-being, summarizing and
integrating distinct strands of neuroscience and psychology
research, so it can be used to inform communities such as
schools, organizations, governments, and communities, as well
as families and individuals, about best practices for promoting
mental health.
Introduction
Throughout the world, driven by advances in information
technology and automation, our economy is gradually
shifting to a knowledge- and service-driven economy, where
increasingly the basic production factor of muscle power is
being replaced by brain-power. Although often compared to a
muscle, the brain’s anatomy and physiology is fundamentally
different from those of muscles. Whereas a combination
of exercise, rest and nutrition can be sufficient to produce
physical strength and resilience, these are clearly not
sufficient conditions for an alert, creative and resilient mind.
In line with the principles and purpose of positive psychology,
we want to move beyond studying and summarizing what
is needed to avoid pathology, and make clear and useful
what is needed to promote health. Though awareness of
how an unhealthy diet can result in serious pathologies and
epidemics, like obesity, is now being raised, many are hardly
aware of the costs of an unhealthy mental diet, like massive
losses in productivity, exhaustion, burn-out, and stress.
Explicating the constituent activities for a healthy mind is
therefore timely and important, especially since developed
countries are reaching the limits of economic growth.
The Healthy Mind Platter
David Rock, Daniel J. Siegel, Steven A.Y. Poelmans and Jessica Payne
David Rock, CEO, NeuroLeadership Group, New York
Faculty, CIMBA
Co-founder, NeuroLeadership Institute: Co-Editor, NeuroLeadership Journal
david@neuroleadership.com
Daniel J. Siegel, Mindsight Institute, Los Angeles; UCLA: Center for Culture, Brain, and Development,
Mindful Awareness Research Center, Clinical Professor, School of Medicine
Steven A.Y. Poelmans, EADA Business School; Coaching Competency Center
Jessica Payne, University of Notre Dame
2
NeuroLeadershipJOURNA L ISSUE FOUR RESEARCH
© NeuroLeadership Institute 2012 For Permissions, email support@neuroleadership.org
One may daily observe on the news the catastrophic
consequences of being deprived of food and basic housing,
but society is relatively unaware of what happens when
individuals or large communities are deprived of play (think
of entire generations of children working under conditions
of forced labor), good quality sleep (think of the vast amount
of people regularly taking sleep medications), or satisfying
time to focus and sustain clear attention without distraction
(think of population groups suffering unemployment or
underemployment, or the vast number of people who fill
their time with junk media).
Most members of the general population know little about
how the constant interruptions and distractions caused by
communication devices and the bombardment of information
and publicity sent out by the media impacts our mental well-
being. They have minimal awareness of the negative effects
of the sense of isolation and lack of relatedness that can
occur in large cities that are built without regard for our need
for a sense of community. Finally, what we have to gain as a
species from the generalized practice of reflective practices
is not readily apparent to the general population unaware of
the research pointing to its positive impacts.
With stress,
the brain will
disconnect more
often from the task
at hand, and we
may find ourselves
staring at the
computer screen,
experiencing a
momentary state
of reverie or trance.
Consider the current state of how most people manage
cultivate and maintain their mental well-being. We have
all experienced the challenge of maintaining focus over
prolonged periods of time, and know how it can cause
fatigue. We all know that our attention is even more limited if
we had little sleep the night before. With stress, the brain will
disconnect more often from the task at hand, and we may
find ourselves staring at the computer screen, experiencing
a momentary state of reverie or trance. As soon as we
become aware of our disconnection, we may want to return
to the task, but we might feel an urge to stand up, go for a
walk and get a snack. Basically, our brain is demanding a
minimum level of physical motion and important nutrients
in order to be able to operate well. On our way to the vending
machine we may encounter a colleague, and although we
are cognizant of the pile of work waiting for us on our desk,
we connect with a bystander to exchange a chat and a joke.
Following a
healthy mind diet
can provide us
with the physical
and mental well-
being necessary
to establish
and maintain
relationships with
family, friends and
colleagues…
Once again, our brain is automatically driving us to socialize
even without our awareness or conscious intention,
distracting us, and delaying the time before we return
to work. Once we are back at our desk we may be able to
focus again, but we seem to lack the necessary creativity to
resolve the problem. None of the techniques known to us
seem to help in producing a satisfactory solution. Frustrated
by this impasse we may lean back in our chair, and suddenly
remember the joke made by our colleague half an hour ago.
We internally laugh at the joke, and do not realize that thanks
to this playful mental intermezzo, our brain is capable of
having a sudden insight that will help us to solve the problem.
In the case described above the person is basically stumbling
from activity to activity, driven by the needs of the brain,
without any level of awareness of why this chain of events is
occurring. We may even return back home that night believing
we had a productive working day, ignorant of the fact that the
reason we are irritable is not because our spouse is being
unreasonable, but because we are mentally exhausted.
3
NeuroLeadershipJOURNA L ISSUE FOUR RESEARCH
© NeuroLeadership Institute 2012 For Permissions, email support@neuroleadership.org
The Healthy Mind Platter, for Optimal Brain Matter
Copyright © 2012 David Rock and Daniel J Siegel M.D. All rights reserved.
The Healthy Mind Platter
Figure 1: Ingredients of the Healthy Mind Platter.
Now consider how different things could be. What would
happen if we were to start the day after a good night’s sleep
with half an hour of reflective practice, taking advantage of
the rested and centered mind to prioritize the activities of
the day? We might consciously plan to take a break over
lunch, allowing for down time or even a brief nap, and
arrange for a tennis game with a friend right after work,
thus combining connecting time and physical activity. When
we arrive at work, we mindfully schedule the meetings of
the day to alternate individual focus time with meetings
with colleagues so as to have a day with variation in brain
activity. The result might be that when we come back home
we actually have sufficient reserves to connect and play
with our children, completing the list of healthy activities
for the day before dinner time. Following a healthy mind
diet can provide us with the physical and mental well-
being necessary to establish and maintain relationships
with family, friends and colleagues, and efficiently realize
the tasks and responsibilities at school, work, and in
our communities.
In the next paragraphs we will provide the scientific
foundations for the Healthy Mind Platter, synthesizing
what we have learned from clinical work, behavioral
research, affective and social neuroscience, and psychology.
First we will review the neuro-cognitive benefits of seven
key activities: (1) Sleep time; (2) Playtime; (3) Time-
in (meditation or reflective practice); (4) Downtime; (5)
Connecting time; (6) Physical time; and (7) Focus time. We
will explicate their relationships with outcome variables
like creativity, health, and cognitive performance. Second,
we will present the Healthy Mind Platter (HMP) model,
representing the complex relationships between the
elements of the HMP as antecedents and moderators for
the three variables: creativity, (mental) health and cognitive
performance. This approach can serve both as a model
with hypotheses for future research and a framework for
brain health practice.
Seven neuro-cognitive activities that
nurture the mind
1. Sleep time – Refreshing mind and body,
and consolidating memory
Sleep is a highly complex and vital process which is essential
for the biological balance of the mammalian organism
(Benington, 2000), and thought to be critical for homeostatic
restoration, thermoregulation, tissue repair, immunity,
memory processing, and emotion regulation. Accordingly,
sleep deprivation can more lethal than food deprivation.
4
NeuroLeadershipJOURNA L ISSUE FOUR RESEARCH
© NeuroLeadership Institute 2012 For Permissions, email support@neuroleadership.org
According to the 2008 Sleep in America poll on Sleep,
Performance, and the Workplace conducted by the National
Sleep Foundation, Americans said that they wake up, on
average, around 5:35 am on workdays and around 7:12 am
on non-workdays.
…depression
associated with
long work hours
is primarily a
result of sleep
deprivation…
Overall, respondents reported an average sleep time of
six hours and 40 minutes on workdays, and 44% get less
than seven hours of sleep on workdays. About three in ten
respondents (29%) reported falling asleep or becoming
very sleepy while they were at work in the past month,
and just more than one in ten (12%) were late to work in
the past month due to sleepiness or a sleep problem. In
the U.S., drowsy drivers are responsible for a fifth of all
motor vehicle accidents and some 8,000 deaths annually.
It is estimated that 80,000 drivers fall asleep at the wheel
every day; 10% of those drivers run off the road, and every
two minutes, one of them crashes (Fryer, 2006). A study
of work hours, sleep, and depression in 2,643 Japanese
citizens who were employed full time showed that
participants working more than 10 hours per day, sleeping
less than six hours per day, and reporting insufficient sleep
were, respectively, 37%, 43%, and 97% more likely to be
depressed than those working six to eight hours per day,
sleeping six to eight hours per day, and reporting sufficient
sleep. The study concluded that depression associated with
long work hours is primarily a result of sleep deprivation
(Nakata, 2011). These statistics do not take into account
the vast opportunity costs that sleep deprivation has on the
quality and quantity of performance at work.
Since Aristotle and until the middle of last century, sleep
was considered a passive state that simply counteracted
sleepiness (Payne, 2011). Now, half a century later, there is
a general consensus that during sleep we not only rest and
recuperate strength for the next day, but sleep is also a highly
active state that is important for cognitive processes such as
memory consolidation, semantic integration, learning, and
the processing of emotions (Stickgold, 2005; Ibañez, San
Martin, Dufey, Bacquwr, & Lopez, 2008; Payne, 2011).
Generally a distinction is made between two main types
of sleep, rapid eye movement (REM)-sleep and non REM-
sleep. REM sleep occurs in roughly 90-minute cycles and
alternates with four additional stages (stages 1-4, in order
of increasing depth) known collectively as non-REM sleep.
Slow wave sleep (SWS) is the deepest of the non-REM phases
and is characterized by high-amplitude, low frequency brain
oscillations. REM sleep, on the other hand, is a lighter
state of sleep characterized by eye movements, decreased
muscle tone (which inhibit the acting out of dreams), and
low-amplitude, fast brain oscillations. In fact, REM-sleep is a
neurophysiological state that is more similar to wakefulness
(Hobson & Pace-Schott, 2002) than non-REM states. More
than 80% of SWS is concentrated in the first half of the night,
whereas the second half of the night contains roughly twice
as much REM sleep than the first half (Figure 1).
Sleep and the body:
One proposed theory of sleep, especially slow-wave sleep,
involves homeostatic restoration; that is, after a day of
‘use’, sleep restores chemical and physiological processes
that have become depleted during the day. Supporting
this idea, the amount and power of slow-wave sleep in the
first half of the night is strongly related to the amount of
prior sleep and wakefulness, and thereby represents a
marker of homeostatic sleep regulation (called ‘Process
S’). The more hours spent awake, the more sleep pressure
one accumulates and the more intense and abundant
subsequent slow-wave sleep will be. This ‘slow-wave sleep
rebound’ may reflect a mandatory period of recovery or
restoration for multiple biological systems as they recover
from the ‘wear and tear’ of waking activities which is an idea
supported by the surge in growth hormone that parallels
slow-wave sleep early in the sleep cycle. Growth hormone is
not only critical in early development, but also in continued
growth and maintenance of bone and tissues throughout life
(Payne, 2011).
The more hours
spent awake,
the more sleep
pressure one
accumulates and
the more intense
and abundant
subsequent slow-
wave sleep will be.
5
NeuroLeadershipJOURNA L ISSUE FOUR RESEARCH
© NeuroLeadership Institute 2012 For Permissions, email support@neuroleadership.org
Sleep and the mind/brain:
As important as sleep is for the body, evidence suggests that
it may be even more critical for the brain. There is strong
evidence that sleep’s role extends beyond the body and
includes critical brain functions, such as memory function,
creative processing, and emotion regulation. Recent studies
suggest that sleep is critical for solidifying or ‘consolidating’
memories so that we integrate what we learn into long-term
knowledge. Recent studies have shown that during sleep,
neuronal populations previously engaged in a learning task
are reactivated.
As important as
sleep is for the
body, evidence
suggests that
it may be even
more critical for
the brain.
This reactivation during sleep is a key process for stabilizing
memory traces (Diekelmann & Born, 2010). Examples
include motor-sequence learning (Walker, Brakefield,
Morgan, Hobson, & Stickgold, 2002; Cohen, Pascual-Leone,
Press, & Robertson, 2005), visual-discrimination learning
(Stickgold, James, & Hobson, 2000), perceptual learning
of language (Fenn, Nusbaum, & Margoliash, 2003), and
declarative memory (Stickgold, 2005). For instance, learning
to navigate a maze during the day is associated with activation
in the hippocampus, which is a structure that is essential for
normal memory function. During subsequent sleep, there
is a reactivation or ‘replay’ of this hippocampal activation,
as if the brain is reprocessing recently learned information.
There is a compelling relationship between the increase
in hippocampal activation during sleep and the amount
of improvement in the maze task the next day. Moreover,
if people dream about the maze task, their performance
improves still further. This suggests that the re-expression
of hippocampal activation during sleep reflects the offline
processing of memory traces, which in turn leads to the
strengthening of network connections in the brain, resulting
in improved memory performance.
REM sleep in particular has been associated with insight and
creativity, which is perhaps not surprising given that the most
bizarre, fragmented, sometimes emotional and certainly
creative dreams happen during REM sleep. A recent report
shows that a nap with REM sleep improves people’s ability
to integrate unassociated information for creative problem-
solving (Cai
et al.
2009). During sleep, our brains integrate
information in highly novel ways and make connections that
we are simply not capable of seeing during wakefulness
(Payne, 2011). In addition, several studies have shown that
the suppression of sleep produces deficits in cognitive and
emotional processing during wakefulness (Gais & Born,
2004; Durmer & Dinges, 2005; Stickgold & Walker, 2005;
Tassi, Bonnefond, Engasser, Hoeft, Eschenlauer, & Muzet,
2006). Even a single night of sleep deprivation can render
one more negative and more emotionally unregulated the
next day than is experienced with a full night of restorative
sleep. Based on this research the expression of “to sleep on
it” gains a whole new meaning and the idea that little or no
mental activity occurs during sleep is unfounded. Instead,
sleep is a highly dynamic and active collection of brain states
that are critical for physical, cognitive and emotional health.
But how much sleep should an individual get? It turns out that
while the answer is, on average, 8 hours, there is room for
individual variation. Sleep need follows a normal distribution
or bell curve function with the bulk of individuals requiring
seven to nine hours of sleep. However, some individuals
require as little as four or as much as 12. While these people
are outside the common range of distribution and very rare,
they should not be considered to have a disorder.
…even very brief
naps can help
boost cognitive
performance
and help us feel
more alert.
Understanding one’s sleep needs and ensuring these are
managed properly is central to a healthy body, brain and
mind. What can one do if short on sleep? It turns out even a
short nap can help with studies showing that a day’s worth
of sleep need not be acquired in a single nocturnal chunk.
Siesta cultures show us that sleep can be divided into a night
of five to seven hours and a daytime nap spanning one to two
hours. What seems important is that the so-called 90 minute
“ultradian cycles” are preserved. Alternatively, however,
even very brief naps can help boost cognitive performance
and help us feel more alert. In our “sleep-sick” society,
napping has become a regular and sometimes necessary
part of our daily lives.
6
NeuroLeadershipJOURNA L ISSUE FOUR RESEARCH
© NeuroLeadership Institute 2012 For Permissions, email support@neuroleadership.org
Research investigating the benefits associated with napping
holds potential for informing workplace practices and
individual functioning.
If one wants the
positive effects of
a nap right away,
a brief nap is most
effective.
In an informative study, Brooks and Lack (2006) assess
the benefits of different lengths of naps (5, 10, 20, and
30 minutes). Interestingly, the 10 minute nap conferred
the biggest benefit in alertness and performance both
immediately after and up to three hours later. The five minute
nap was not quite enough to confer a significant benefit while
the 20 and 30 minute naps were helpful, but these benefits
did not emerge until several hours later, arguably due to the
effects of sleep inertia. If one wants the positive effects of a
nap right away, a brief nap is most effective. This is because
brief naps are more likely to contain light sleep (largely stage
2 NREM sleep), and are short enough to prevent one from
delving into slow wave sleep which is restorative but difficult
from which to awaken. It is also important to recognize that
napping can be learned (with enough practice and diligence);
this is key because evidence suggests that regular nappers
may glean more benefits from napping than those who only
nap out of necessity when absolutely exhausted. Clearly,
recent research strongly points to the fact that sleep is far
more important than is generally recognized, and though
people do not get enough of it, there are easy steps to take
to start remedying this problem. Adding a nap to one’s day,
or an extra 20 minutes to one’s sleep cycle (or both) can
yield major benefits to cognition, emotional regulation and
general performance.
2. Play time – The joy of experimenting
with life
“Playfulness enhances the capacity to innovate,
adapt, and master changing circumstances.
It is not just an escape. It can help us integrate
and reconcile difficult or contradictory
circumstances. And, often, it can show us
a way out of our problems.”
Stuart Brown, National Institute for Play
Play, which may seem like a frivolous, unimportant behavior
with no apparent purpose, has earned new respect as
biologists, neuroscientists, psychologists and others see
that play is indeed serious business and is perhaps equally
important to other basic drives of sleep, rest, and food (Frost,
1998). Neuroscience research reveals that play-joy is a basic
emotional system and essential in child development and
adult creativity and learning (Panksepp & Biven, 2012). It has
been suggested that play is an important behavioral tendency
that does not require learning, is an “experience-expectant”
process that has adaptive neurodevelopmental effects which
promote later adaptive behaviors and which help program
higher brain regions involved in emotional behaviors (Gordon,
Burke, Akil, Watson, & Panksepp, 2003).
…the play-joy
system is one
of the basic
emotional systems
in human beings
similar to rage,
fear, expectancy,
panic, lust and
the maternal
nurturance-
acceptance
system…
According to a report from the American Academy of
Pediatrics (AAP), free and unstructured play is healthy and
in fact essential for helping children reach important social,
emotional, and cognitive developmental milestones as
well as helping them manage stress and become resilient.
Forces threatening free play and unscheduled time include
changes in family structure, the increasingly competitive
college admissions process and federal education policies
that have led to reduced recess and physical education in
many schools. Play is not, however, only vital for children;
it also appears to generate cognitive benefits for adults.
Based on his extensive research of play, Panksepp proposes
that the play-joy system is one of the basic emotional
systems in human beings similar to rage, fear, expectancy,
panic, lust and the maternal nurturance-acceptance system
(Panksepp, 1991; 1992). Research on rough-housing play in
7
NeuroLeadershipJOURNA L ISSUE FOUR RESEARCH
© NeuroLeadership Institute 2012 For Permissions, email support@neuroleadership.org
mammals, both sapient and otherwise, clearly indicates that
the sources of play and laughter in the brain are instinctive
and subcortical (Panksepp, 1998). Panksepp’s research
revealed that if rats are tickled in a playful way, they readily
emit 50-kHz chirps (1998; 2003). Given that these chirps
are indicative of positive affect and joy, they are probably
comparable to human laughter (Panksepp & Burgdorf, 2003;
Panksepp, 2005). Although the human capacity for verbal
joking probably requires more refined cortically dependent
cognitive skills, language probably “tickles” the ancient play
circuits of our minds and causes joy to occur (Panksepp,
2005). The rats that were tickled became socially bonded
to the experimenters and were rapidly conditioned to seek
tickles. The effect of juvenile isolation on these behaviors
appears mainly due to deprivation of play (van den Berg, Van
Ree, Spruijt, & Kitchen, 1999a). Therefore, play may serve
to prepare for more adaptive social behaviors in adulthood.
The early games and frivolity of animals and humans equip
them for the skills they will need in later life (Angier, 1992;
Brown, 1994).
Indeed, human play and laughter is fundamentally a social
phenomenon. The reason one cannot tickle oneself may
be because the underlying neural systems are controlled
by social cues and interactions. These are factors that
help weave individuals into the social fabric in which they
reside, reflecting different levels of position and dominance
(Panksepp & Burgdorf, 2003). Following multiple play bouts,
juvenile rats develop dominance hierarchies that remain
relatively stable over the juvenile period (Meaney & Stuart,
1981; Panksepp, Siviy, & Normansell, 1984). Preventing male
rats from playing has lasting consequences on social (Hol,
van de Berg, Van Ree, & Spruijt, 1999; van den Berg, Van Ree,
Spruijt, & Kitchen, 1999a; van den Berg, Hol, Van Ree, Spruijt,
Everts, & Koolhaas, 1999b), aggressive and sexual behavior
(van den Berg, Hol, Van Ree, Spruijt, Everts, & Koolhaas,
1999b). In human children, playing only in isolation has also
been associated with social problems (Coplan, Rubin, Fox,
Calkins, & Stewart, 1994).
Neuroscientist and play expert Panksepp suggests that
one reason for the increasing incidence of attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be the diminishing
availability of opportunities for pre-school children to engage
in natural self-generated social play. He suggests that instead
of psychostimulants, at-risk children should be stimulated
through play in order to facilitate frontal lobe maturation and
the healthy development of pro-social minds (2007, see also
Panksepp & Biven, 2012). Psychiatrist Stuart Brown, founder
of the National Institute for Play, became interested in play
when he found that 90% of the 26 murderers he studied had a
common history of play deprivation or abnormal play (Brown,
1994; Brown & Vaughan, 2010). This is a sensible conclusion
in the light of all the above because play seems to serve an
important role in establishing relationships with positive
effects. It is a safe way of learning about the “rules of the
game” and developing adaptive social behavior. This is of vital
importance in children, but is equally important in adults.
…human play
and laughter is
fundamentally
a social
phenomenon.
An important benefit of play is that it can facilitate learning.
Research in rats has shown that play behavior is considered
to be rewarding, as the opportunity to play can be used as
an incentive for maze learning (Humphreys & Einon, 1981;
Normansell & Panksepp, 1990). Just as in rats, the reward
circuits in the brain light up during human mirth (Mobbs,
Greicius, Abdel-Azim, Menon, & Reiss, 2003). States of
engaged attention between infants and their caregivers
tend to be associated with play, states of joy, and general
experiences of positive affect (Gottman, Katz, & Hooven,
1997). As play-joy stimulates the reward centers in the
brain and is associated with the release of dopamine, which
facilitates the establishment and consolidation of new
neuronal pathways, which in turn is important for creativity
(new connections) and memory (lasting connections). A
study by Garaigordobil Landazabal (2005) focusing on the
impact of play on the intellectual development of school
children aged 10–11 years demonstrated a significant effect
of play on verbal intelligence, the ability to form concepts
or define words, and on the capacity for verbal associative
thinking. The intervention program consisted of a weekly
2-hour play session throughout the academic year.
In their review, Spinka, Newberry and Bekoff (2005) propose
that play enables animals to develop flexible emotional
responses to unexpected events in which they experience a
sudden loss of control. This loss of control has more than
a symbolic significance for humans. Indeed, it has been
identified as one of the major causes of stress (Karasek
& Theorell, 1990; Spector
et al.
, 2002). In the same way
that animals play to increase the versatility of movements
to recover from sudden shocks such as loss of balance
and falling over, young children learn to cope emotionally
with unexpected stressful situations by “training for the
unexpected.” Spinka and his colleagues suggest that the
playful switching between in-control and out-of-control
elements is cognitively demanding and is accompanied with
neuroendocrinological responses that produce a complex
emotional state known as “having fun”.
8
NeuroLeadershipJOURNA L ISSUE FOUR RESEARCH
© NeuroLeadership Institute 2012 For Permissions, email support@neuroleadership.org
In other words, Mother Nature has provided us with a
naturally rewarding activity
play
that allows both animals
and humans to experiment with the demands of life itself,
practice spontaneous and novel motor and social skills that
will prove to be essential for survival in the concrete jungle.
3. Downtime – Disconnecting for integration
and insight
When explaining “down time” in workshops we found that this
is the most counterintuitive component of the Healthy Mind
Platter and needs quite a bit of explaining. “Down time” does
not correspond with “leisure time” exactly, which is a much
broader term which may refer to hobbies and sports. In the
Healthy Mind Platter hobbies are more likely to come under
“focus time” and sports under “physical time.” With down
time we refer to a very specific type of “activity”: inactivity, or
doing absolutely nothing that has a predefined goal. Think of
down time as literally being un-goal-focused. Hanging out,
being with one’s surroundings, being spontaneous, having no
particular goal or focus, as one might do on a lazy Sunday
morning with no plans. Down time is more about “being”
in the moment with spontaneous emergence of whatever
activity may or may not arise rather than “doing” a pre-
planned activity with a goal or preset agenda.
…down time
is actually
intentionally having
no intention,
of consciously
engaging in doing
nothing specific…
We have many words in our vocabulary that seem to refer to
down time such as idling, hanging around, loafing, lazing,
goofing off and chilling out. These terms suggest that
down time is not very well understood nor highly regarded.
In our definition, down time is actually intentionally having
no intention, of consciously engaging in doing nothing
specific or “preplanned,” a process of disconnecting from
intended directions and surrendering to daydreaming,
letting our minds wander off in no particular direction with
spontaneity and freedom. Downtime may occur between
activities: while waiting for an appointment or an airplane,
while listening to music or sifting through a magazine,
that is, if we do not really pay sustained, focused attention
to what is heard or written. If we consciously choose to
spend down time, we might find a comfortable chair, in
the comfort of our living room or in the shadow of a tree,
and disconnect from an intentional, linear focus on our
environment. During those periods of down time, we do
much more than slumber, rest, and go “offline.” During the
“inactive” state of wakeful rest or daydreaming, the default
neuronal network (or task-negative network) activates.
This mode has been found to be characterized by activity
in the medial temporal lobe (for memory), the medial
prefrontal cortex (for theory of mind and sense of self), the
posterior cingulate (related to autobiographical reflection),
and the lateral parietal cortex (for integration) (Buckner,
Andrews-Hanna & Schacter, 2008).
…unconscious
thought produces
better decisions
than when people
decide immediately
using conscious,
logical reasoning…
Researchers have shown that insight is preceded and
aided by disconnecting from deliberate, goal-directed,
conscious thinking. In many ways, down time permits a
sorting through of many disparate elements of our mental
lives, permitting a process called integration
the linkage
of differentiated parts
to naturally unfold. The research
of Dijksterhuis and his colleagues (2004, 2006) found that
unconscious thinkers outperform conscious analysts when
making complex decisions. A meta-analysis confirmed
that across many studies, unconscious thought produces
better decisions than when people decide immediately
using conscious, logical reasoning (Strick
et al.
, 2010).
Unconscious thought leads to clearer, more integrated
representations in memory (Dijksterhuis, Bos, Nordgren, &
van Baaren, 2006). What has long been dismissed as reverie
and distraction now turns out to be a necessary precursor
of insight in complex decision-making. Recent research
is showing that not just any “distraction” works, though.
Maarten Bos and his colleagues (2011) found that
“distraction with a goal” produced better results than “mere
distraction.” A break in the attentive activity devoted to a
9
NeuroLeadershipJOURNA L ISSUE FOUR RESEARCH
© NeuroLeadership Institute 2012 For Permissions, email support@neuroleadership.org
problem
also referred to as “incubation”
may eventually
facilitate the solution process. Research shows that a
break from close, focused, effortful attention improves
performance with insight problem-solving, and that its
length does not make a difference (Segal, 2004).
The very fact
that unconscious
thought and
incubation time
is conducive to
better decision-
making and insight
has profound
implications for
self-leadership.
In their book The Break-out Principle, Benson and Proctor
(2003) explain that the best way for solving thorny issues
or complex problems is first to struggle with it, through
problem analysis or fact gathering, up to the point where
one stops feeling productive and starts feeling anxious and
stressed. This is the signal for the second step: “distracting”
oneself from the problem. There are many ways of doing
this, including visiting a museum, taking a hot shower,
or listening to some calming music. According to the
authors, the key is “to stop analyzing, surrender control,
and completely detach [oneself] from the stress producing
thoughts”. This typically leads to what the authors call “the
breakout”: a sudden insight or a new perspective that sheds
a whole new light on the problem at hand.
The very fact that unconscious thought and incubation time
is conducive to better decision-making and insight has
profound implications for self-leadership. Under pressure
of deadlines, quarterly results and shareholders, incubation
time is squeezed out of the system, and so is the essential
juice of creativity. Caught up in the rat race, laboring under
the pressure of demanding objectives, creativity is pushed
out of the equation. In this age of the knowledge and service
economy, regular breaks on a daily basis, weekends, or
on a monthly basis, and sabbaticals on a long-term basis,
should not be viewed as a luxury at all. Such breaks are
needed to sort and integrate important elements of our
minds and permit creativity to emerge. Organizations need
“positive turbulence” to build continuous renewal into their
cultures (Gryskiewicz, 1999) and develop supportive cultures
that foster creative behaviors in employees (Rao, Wilson, &
Watkinson, 2009).
Whereas analytical thinking requires an increase and
maintenance of (visual) attention, insight is characterized
by less focused, inward-directed, more open forms of
attention. We propose that down time moderates the
relationship between previous knowledge/experience and
the generation of new insights. Not just any down time,
idle-time, or daydream-time will do. It is important that our
brain disconnects and “un-focuses” from the task at hand
and its millions of distractions to connect with something
entirely different as a condition to have insights on a whole
different level. Insight, contrary to analytic thinking, is fast,
and manifests as sudden awareness or understanding.
Sternberg and Davidson (1995) define insight as a “sudden
comprehension that can result in a new interpretation of a
situation and that can point to the solution to a problem.”
In the light of the previous paragraphs this “suddenness”
is misleading. It is the result of previously collecting the
pieces of the puzzle, and time to let them connect in new
and perhaps more integrated ways nonconsciously; new
assemblies that are outside of awareness.
…down time
moderates the
relationship
between previous
knowledge/
experience and
the generation
of new insights.
Psychologists have been studying insight for nearly a
century, but more recent advances in neuroscience are
demonstrating that insight is the culmination of a series
of brain states and processes operating at different time
scales (Kounios & Jung-Beeman, 2009). Bowden and Jung-
Beeman (2003) propose that semantic activation in both
hemispheres cooperatively contributes to problem-solving,
but weak solution activation that contributes to the “aha-
experience” is more likely to occur with neural activations
in the right hemisphere than in the left hemisphere.
10
NeuroLeadershipJOURNA L ISS UE FOUR RESEARCH
© NeuroLeadership Institute 2012 For Permissions, email support@neuroleadership.org
The right anterior cingulate cortex is involved in directing
attention to detect weakly activated, nonconscious solutions
(Kounias & Jung-Beeman, 2009). Kounias
et al.
(2006)
suggest that the activity observed in ACC prior to insight
may reflect increased readiness to monitor for competing
responses, and to apply cognitive control mechanisms as
needed to (a) suppress extraneous thoughts, (b) initially
select prepotent solution spaces or strategies, and, if these
prove ineffective, (c) subsequently shift attention to a non-
prepotent solution or strategy. Such shifts are characteristic
of insight.
people are more
likely to solve
problems with
insight if they are
in a positive mood.
Understanding the precursors of insight is important, as it
may point at interventional opportunities for the facilitation
of insight (Kounios & Jung-Beeman, 2009). For instance,
Subramaniam, Kounios, Parrish, Jung-Beeman, and
Bowden (2009) found that people are more likely to solve
problems with insight if they are in a positive mood. Jill
Bolte Taylor’s fascinating tale “My stroke of insight” (2009)
clearly describes how the right hemisphere is “open-
minded and thinks out of the box. It’s not limited by the
rules and regulations established by my left mind that
created that box” (2009, p. 148). This right brain is present
in the moment, and integrates and nuances thoughts as the
left-brain constant chatter is silenced. Segal goes one step
further, stating that “the default state has a large emphasis
on stimulus-independent thought
mind-wandering,
chatter that cannot be cut off
and the deviation from
that to a place where people aren’t controlled by ongoing
internal speech is a place where people are able to find
some calm and respite” (2009). Ian McGilchrist (2009) notes
that the right hemisphere contributes to a way of being that
senses context and the interrelated whole nature of reality
whereas the left focuses on text and the individual parts
that comprise the world. Downtime may permit integration
across the hemispheres and in particular enable the less
vocal and assertive right hemisphere’s synthetic processing
to be sensed and expressed.
The relevance for leadership of understanding the
antecedents of insight is great as it is a process that from
a neurological point of view is extremely cost effective. It
allows connecting very diffuse information in a “moment
of genius” where everything becomes suddenly clear with
relatively little effort. Such intuition allows experienced
managers to make decisions much more quickly which
in times of constant change is an enormous advantage.
Certain decisions, like buying or selling stock, depend on so
many interrelated and complex factors which are in constant
flux that using sequential, analytical cognition alone will
not suffice. Managers do not always have the opportunity
to scrutinize all information, weigh in on all options with
conscious deliberation and think through all solutions. Their
“bounded rationality” (Simon, 1991) and limited time forces
them to trust their more intuitive, sudden insights. Based on
what we are learning from the neurosciences, we need to be
more cautious in creating the proper conditions for insight.
We can intentionally cultivate a positive atmosphere while
encouraging the development of mindfulness to stabilize
the mind, quiet the internal chatter, and block out external
distractions so that what emerges spontaneously can be
seen clearly. With intention, we can invite people to respect
nonconscious thought and incubation time and enable
genius and “thinking outside the box” to bubble up from the
wells of experience and relaxation.
We can
intentionally
cultivate a positive
atmosphere while
encouraging the
development of
mindfulness to
stabilize the mind…
4. Time-in – Reflection, attunement, mindfulness
Various studies cited by the National Institute for
Occupational Safety and Health in the report “Stress at
Work” indicate that between 26% and 40% of all workers
today feel stressed of burnt out by work (NIOSH, Publication
No. 99–101). Roughly 60% of doctor visits stem from stress-
related complaints and illnesses (Kroenke & Mangelsdorff,
1989). Confronted with pressure or stress, the brain
strives to reestablish and maintain homeostasis through
the coordinated activation and control of neuroendocrine
and autonomic stress systems. Stress responses are
mediated by largely overlapping circuits in the limbic
forebrain
the hypothalamus and the brainstem
so that
11
NeuroLeadershipJOURNA L ISS UE FOUR RESEARCH
© NeuroLeadership Institute 2012 For Permissions, email support@neuroleadership.org
the respective contributions of the neuroendocrine and
autonomic systems are tuned in accordance with stressor
modality and intensity (Ulrich-Lai & Herman, 2009). Sabine
Sonnentag and her colleagues have extensively studied
the dynamic of recovery experiences and distinguish
between psychological detachment from work (i.e. not
thinking about job-related issues or problems), relaxation
(a process characterized by decreased sympathetic
activation), and mastery experiences (challenging off-job
experiences that provide opportunities for learning and
success) (Sonnentag & Fritz, 2007). Their research showed
that low psychological detachment from work during the
evening predicted negative activation and fatigue, whereas
mastery experiences during the evening predicted positive
activation while relaxation predicted serenity. Sleep quality
showed positive relations with all affective states. In our
Healthy Mind Platter we refer to mastery experiences
under “focus time” and to “psychological detachment”
under “down time.” In this section we focus on reflection,
relaxation, and mindfulness.
In his classic work The Relaxation Response (1975) Herbert
Benson explored the importance and practice of relaxation
to a broad business audience. Relaxation is a process
characterized by decreased sympathetic activation and
becomes evident in a decrease in heart rate and muscle
tension (Benson, 1975). There are many relaxation techniques
including progressive muscle relaxation (Jacobson, 1938)
and various forms of meditation (Grossman, Niemann,
Schmidt, & Walach, 2004). Yet, there are also many
“everyday activities” that can result in responses similar to
relaxation, such as a walk in nature (Hartig, Evans, Jamner,
Davis, & Garling, 2003) or listening to music (Pelletier, 2004).
There is now a wide body of research showing the beneficial
effects of relaxation like the reduction of tension (Van der
Klink, Blonk, Schene, & Van Dijk, 2001), and the increase
of positive affective states (Stone, Kennedy-Moore, & Neale,
1995; Parkinson & Totterdell, 1999; Fredrickson, 2000).
Yet when we talk about “time-in” in the Healthy Mind
Platter we refer to much more than relaxation. Relaxation
is actually only one of the aspects or benefits of the
broader practice of meditation
a way of training the mind
defined as an intentional self-regulation of attention, in
the service of self-inquiry, in the here and now (Masion,
Teas, Herbert, Werheimer, & Kabat-Zinn, 1995). There
are many forms of meditation. Descriptions of meditation
vary and are often expressed in behavioral terms and
include (1) relaxation, (2) concentration, (3) altered state
of awareness, (4) suspension of logical thought processes,
and (5) maintenance of a self-observing attitude (Perez-de-
Albeniz & Holmes, 2000). One particular type of meditation
that has been scrutinized by neuroscientists in increasing
ways recently is mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness has
been described as “paying attention in a particular way: on
purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally”
(Kabat-Zinn, 1994). Bishop
et al.
(2004) propose an
operational definition distinguishing two components:
(1) self-regulation of attention focused on immediate
experience and (2) orientation toward one’s experiences in
the present moment, characterized by curiosity, openness,
and acceptance. Rather than changing the environment
or the appraisal of the situation, mindfulness aims at
becoming aware and accepting thoughts, feelings and
bodily sensations. According to Creswell, Way, Eisenberger,
and Lieberman (2007) part of the positive effect of
mindfulness may be due to labeling affect. Mindfulness
in trained individuals has been associated with increased
engagement of a right lateralized network, comprising the
lateral PFC and viscera-somatic areas such as the insula,
secondary somatosensory cortex and inferior parietal lobule
(Farb
et al.
, 2007). According to Chiesa and Serretti (2009a),
mindfulness meditation activates the prefrontal cortex
(PFC) and the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). Long-term
meditation practice is associated with an enhancement of
cerebral areas related to attention and emotion regulation
(Lazar
et al.
, 2005; Luders, Narr, Thompson, & Toga, 2009).
Meta-analytic studies of the impact of mindfulness-based
stress reduction seem to suggest that these programs may
help a broad range of individuals to cope with their clinical
and nonclinical problems, ranging from pain, cancer,
heart disease, depression, anxiety, and stress (Grossman,
Niemann, Schmidt, & Walach, 2004; Chiesa & Serretti,
2009a; 2009b). A meta-analysis of the effect of mindfulness-
based therapy (MBT) on anxiety and depression concluded
that MBT improves symptoms of anxiety and depression
across a relatively wide range of severity and even when
these symptoms are associated with other disorders, such
as medical problems (Chiesa & Serretti, 2009b; Hoffman,
Sawyer, Witt, & Oh, 2010).
Mindfulness has
been described as
“paying attention
in a particular
way: on purpose,
in the present
moment, and
non-judgmentally”
12
NeuroLeadershipJOURNA L ISS UE FOUR RESEARCH
© NeuroLeadership Institute 2012 For Permissions, email support@neuroleadership.org
To conclude, “time-in” is characterized by a very particular
type of conscious, focused attention on the inner life of
the self in the here and now. Time-in focuses attention on
one’s intentions and highlights awareness of awareness
itself
the two fundamental elements of being mindful
(Siegel, 2007). Time-in develops the capacity to be present
with experience. Presence, in turn, has been found to be
associated with improvements in a number of processes
including the levels of the enzyme telomerase, which
maintains the telomere caps at the ends of chromosomes
within the nucleus of our cells (see Parker, Nelson, Epel,
& Siegel, in press). Time-in focuses on acceptance of
process rather than content (Perez-de-Albeniz & Holmes,
2000), and can be generally seen to be related to a range
of benefits if practiced on a regular basis: in addition to
being a wakeful hypometabolic physiological state, it
has physiological (e.g. balance of parasympathetic and
sympathetic function, health), cognitive (e.g. attention,
flexible perspective), emotional (e.g. self-control, stress
management), and social (e.g. compassion and empathy)
benefits. Regular time-in can therefore be counted among
the seven vital activities on the Mental Health Platter.
5. Connecting time – The healing power
of relationships
“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the
soul and healing to the bones”;
Solomon, 1000 B.C., Proverbs 16:24
According to Matthew Lieberman, one of the founders of
social cognitive neuroscience, our “evolutionary wiring
predisposes us to be social,” actually causing a sense
of physical pain if we are socially rejected (Eisenberger,
Lieberman, & Williams, 2003; Eisenberger & Lieberman,
2004). As such one could argue that social connection
is a basic human need, very much like water, food and
shelter. Social support is a well-documented antecedent of
wellbeing. A landmark study of Berkman and Syme (1979)
found that the status and extent of social relationships
predicts mortality over a 9-year follow-up after controlling
for socio-demographic, physical health and health behavior
variables. Based on these epidemiological findings,
researchers have proposed specific relationships between
interpersonal functioning, biological processes, and disease
(Pettit, Grover, & Lewinsohn, 2007).
Cohen, Gottlieb and Underwood (2000) propose two
processes through which social relationships affect health.
One process involves the provision or exchange of emotional,
informational, or instrumental resources in response
to the perceptions that others are in need of aid. The other
process focuses on the health benefits that accrue from
participation in one or more distinct social groups. Others
can influence cognitions, emotions, behaviors and biological
responses in manners beneficial to health and well-being
through interactions that are not explicitly intended to
exchange help or support, for example to increased self-
esteem, personal control, and conformity to behavioral
norms that have implications for our health (Cohen, Gottlieb,
& Underwood, 2000).
A review of 81 studies revealed that social support
is reliably related to beneficial effects on aspects of
the cardiovascular, endocrine, and immune systems
(Uchino, Holt-Lunstad, Uno, Betancourt, & Garvey, 1999).
Social support has been associated with positive effects
on various diseases, such as cardiovascular reactivity
and blood pressure (Spitzer, Llabre, Ironson, Gellman, &
Schneiderman, 1992; Uchino, Holt-Lunstad, Uno, Betancourt,
& Garvey, 1999; Gallo, Smith, & Kircher, 2000; Steptoe, 2000;
Evans and Steptoe, 2001; Uno, Uchino, & Smith, 2002) and
depression (Hays, Steffens, Flint, Bosworth, & George, 2001;
Sayal
et al.
, 2002). Reviews of the social support literature
(e.g. Berkman, 1984; Cohen & Wills, 1985; House, Landis, &
Umberson, 1988) conclude that social integration and
perceived emotional support are directly and positively
related to physical and mental health, including lower
mortality (Thoits, 1995). The most powerful measure of
social support is whether a person has an intimate, confiding
relationship or not, typically with a spouse or a lover; friends
or relatives function similarly but less powerfully (Cohen &
Wills, 1985).
…social support is
reliably related to
beneficial effects
on aspects of the
cardiovascular,
endocrine, and
immune systems…
Given that stress is an important cause of sleep problems
and cognitive impairment, the buffering effect of social
support on stress is pertinent to our discussion of the
Healthy Mind Platter. Impaired social functioning may
represent a form of stress (Cohen, 2004) that impacts
physical health indirectly via emotional experiences
(Kiecolt-Glaser, McGuire, Robles, & Glaser, 2002) and
directly through physiological pathways. Social support
is one of the pillars of the job-demand-support model
developed by Karasek and Theorell (1990) and adopted
by the World Health Organization for predicting stress,
cardiovascular disease and productivity. According to a
13
NeuroLeadershipJOURNA L ISS UE FOUR RESEARCH
© NeuroLeadership Institute 2012 For Permissions, email support@neuroleadership.org
meta-analytic review, social support has a threefold effect
on work stressor–strain relations (Viswesvaran, Sanchez,
& Fisher, 1999): Social support reduces the strains
experienced, mitigates perceived stressors, and moderates
the stressor–strain relationship.
Lonely individuals
may experience
higher levels of
perceived stress,
react more
negatively to
stress, and benefit
less from social
interactions…
Cacioppo
et al.
(2000) found that satisfying social
relationships are associated with more positive outlooks
on life, more secure attachments and interactions
with others, more flexible autonomic activation when
confronting acute psychological challenges, and more
efficient restorative behaviors. Individuals who were
chronically lonely had elevated mean salivary cortisol levels
across the course of a day, suggesting more discharges of
corticotropin-releasing hormone and elevated activation
of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis. Lonely
individuals may experience higher levels of perceived
stress, react more negatively to stress, and benefit less
from social interactions (Cacioppo
et al.
, 2002; Hawkley,
Burleson, Berntson, & Cacioppo, 2003). Lonely individuals
experience less efficient and less effective sleep that may
interfere with the restorative processes of sleep (Cacioppo
et al.
, 2002), another crucial element of the Healthy Mind
Platter. In contrast to impaired social functioning, the
perception that others are available to provide assistance
and emotional support buffers the negative effects of
stress on health.
The presence of positive social support reduces the
likelihood of negative health outcomes in the wake of
stressful events (Rosengren, Orth-Gomer, Wedel, and
Wilhelmsen, 1993). In addition, the extent to which
individuals actively participate in social activities and
hold social roles prospectively predicts health outcomes
(Cohen, Doyle, Skoner, Rabin, and Gwaltney, 1997).
Another interesting strand of research studying the
interplay between stress, health and social support looks
at the impact of neuropeptides like oxytocin. Oxytocin is
an evolutionarily highly preserved nonapeptide released
from the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus
through the posterior pituitary (Buijs, De Vries, Van
Leeuwen, & Swaab, 1983). In non-human mammals,
oxytocin is a key mediator of complex emotional and social
behaviors including attachment, social recognition, and
aggression. Oxytocin reduces anxiety and impacts on fear
conditioning and extinction (Kirsch
et al.
2005). Heinrichs,
Baumgartner, Kirschbaun, and Ehlert (2003) designed a
placebo-controlled, double-blind study, in which 37 men
were exposed to the Trier Social Stress Test and were
randomly assigned to receive intranasal oxytocin or a
placebo as well as social support from their best friend
during the preparation period or no such presence of a
friend for support. They found that salivary free cortisol
levels remained low with social support in response to
stress. The combination of oxytocin and social support
exhibited the lowest cortisol concentrations as well as
increased calmness and decreased anxiety during stress
(Heinrich
et al.
, 2003).
…from our earliest
days of life our
connections to
others provide a
source of feeling
seen, safe, and
secure…
Oxytocin administration in humans was shown to increase
trust, suggesting involvement of the amygdala, a central
component of the neuro-circuitry of fear and social cognition
that has been linked to trust (Winston, Strange, O’Doherty, &
Dolan, 2002; Kosfeld, Heinrichs, Zak, Fischbacher, & Fehr,
2005). In their study Kirsch
et al.
(2005) show that human
amygdala function is strongly modulated by oxytocin. They
used fMRI to image amygdala activation by fear-inducing
visual stimuli after the intranasal application of a placebo
or oxytocin. Compared with placebo, oxytocin potently
reduced activation of the amygdala and reduced coupling
of the amygdala to brainstem regions involved in autonomic
and behavioral manifestations of reactive fear (Kirsch
et al.
2005). Further, from our earliest days of life our connections
to others provide a source of feeling seen, safe, and secure
14
NeuroLeadershipJOURNA L ISS UE FOUR RESEARCH
© NeuroLeadership Institute 2012 For Permissions, email support@neuroleadership.org
(Siegel, 2012). Our profoundly social brains may require
ongoing connections with close and reliable others in order
to maintain the physiologic and emotional balance that such
relationships establish from the beginning of life.
To conclude, the link between social support and health
is well documented, but the exact neural mechanisms
of social cognition in the human brain and the beneficial
effects of social supports are complex and need further
research drawing from a wide range of disciplines like social
cognitive neuroscience, neuro-immuno-endocrinology and
occupational health psychology.
6. Physical time – Improving the brain’s
plasticity through exercise
In an article in the New York Times, Sandra Aamodt and Sam
Wang, respectively editor in chief of Nature Neuroscience and
associate professor of molecular biology and neuroscience
at Princeton take a critical look at computer programs to
improve brain performance. The digital brain health and
fitness software market is a booming business. According to
the 2010 industry report called “Transforming Brain Health
with Digital Tools to Assess, Enhance and Treat Cognition
across the Lifespan: The State of the Brain Fitness Market
2010” the size of the worldwide market in 2009 was $295
million dollars, a 35% growth since 2008, and representing
an annualized growth rate of 31% since 2005. According to
Aamodt and Wang (2007):
“[a]dvertising for these products often
emphasizes the claim that they are designed
by scientists or based on scientific research.
To be charitable, we might call them inspired
by science
not to be confused with actually
proven by science. One form of training,
however, has been shown to maintain and
improve brain health
physical exercise.”
Exercise can help to achieve and maintain brain health and
plasticity throughout life (Cotman & Berchtold, 2002). The
clinical literature has recognized for years that exercise
affects overall health and brain function, especially in later
life (Berkman
et al.
, 1993; Blomquist & Danner, 1987;
Rogers, Meyer, & Mortel, 1990; Hill
et al.
, 1993; Laurin
et al.
,
2001). Exercise is associated with enhanced metabolism of
energy throughout the body (Gomez-Pinilla, 2007).
Studies in humans have demonstrated the beneficial effects
of exercise on cognitive function (Suominen-Troyer, Davis,
Ismail, & Salvendy, 1986; Kramer
et al.
, 1999). Exercise has
the capacity to enhance learning and memory (Suominen-
Troyer
et al.
, 1986; Rogers, Meyer, & Mortel, 1990; van
Praag, 1999b) under a variety of conditions, ranging from
counteracting the mental decline associated with aging
(Kramer
et al.
, 1999) to aiding recovery in patients suffering
from brain injury or disease (Bohannon, 1993; Lindvall,
Kokaia, Bengzon, Elmer, & Kokaia, 1994; Grealy, Johnson,
& Rushton, 1999). Cardiovascular fitness training improves
overall cognitive function regardless of task type (Colcombe,
2004). Exercise improves “executive functions,” the set of
abilities (like response speed and working memory) that
allows us to select appropriate behavior, inhibit inappropriate
behavior, and focus despite distractions (Aamodt & Wang,
2007; Davis, Tomporowski, Boyle, Waller, Miller, & Naglieri,
2007). Moderate aerobic type exercise also reduces stress,
decreases anxiety, and alleviates depression (Salmon, 2001).
Overall, physical activity has a significant positive and global
impact on mental functioning.
Exercise can
help to achieve
and maintain
brain health
and plasticity
throughout life…
Studies by neuroscientists are strengthening the premise
that exercise can benefit brain function and are encouraging
additional clinical studies in this area (Cotman & Berchtold,
2002). Research reporting human brain activity during
exercise is sparse but consolidates the data in the animal
literature, showing that the simple act of moving activates
a large percentage of the brain involving sensory/perceptual
processes, autonomic regulation, and motor output (Dietrich,
2006). A PET study found that increased brain activation was
recorded in the “primary sensory cortex, primary motor
cortex, supplementary motor cortex as well as the anterior
part of the cerebellum” in response to cycling (Christensen,
Johannsen, Sinkjaer, Peterson, Pyndt, & Nielsen, 2000).
Another study using single photon emission computed
tomography found increases in regional CBF (cerebral blood
flow) in the supplementary motor area, medial primary
sensorimotor area, striatum, visual cortex, and cerebellar
vermis during walking (Fukuyama
et al.
, 1997).
…physical activity
has a significant
positive and global
impact on mental
functioning.
15
NeuroLeadershipJOURNA L ISS UE FOUR RESEARCH
© NeuroLeadership Institute 2012 For Permissions, email support@neuroleadership.org
Exercise is an activity that, if practiced on a regular basis,
activates molecular and cellular cascades that support
and maintain brain plasticity. It induces the expression
of genes associated with plasticity and promotes brain
vascularization, neurogenesis, functional changes in
neuronal structure and neuronal resistance to injury
(Cotman & Berchtold, 2002). Exercise activates mechanisms
that protect the brain from damage. Studies in animals
show that physical activity, in the form of voluntary wheel
running, can increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic
factor (BDNF), a molecule that enhances synaptic growth,
increases neuronal survival, promotes learning and protects
against cognitive decline. It also increases other growth
factors, stimulates neurogenesis, increases resistance to
brain insult and improves learning and mental performance
and induces gene expression changes in the brain (Cotman
& Engesser-Cesar, 2002; Cotman & Berchtold, 2002).
The finding that exercise increases BDNF levels in the
hippocampus
an area vital for memory formation and
learning
has provided insight about the possible molecular
mechanisms responsible for the positive effects of exercise
on cognition (Neeper, Gomez-Pinilla, Choi, & Cotman,
1995; Gomez-Pinilla, Ying, Roy, Molteni, & Edgerton, 2002;
Vaynman, Ying, & Gomez-Pinilla, 2004). By inducing BDNF
and other molecules, exercise strengthens neuronal growth
and interconnected synaptic linkages among neurons and
facilitates synaptic transmission, thus priming activated
cells for encoding into long-term storage (Cotman &
Berchtold, 2002).
7. Focus time – Attention management
for performance
Today’s business context is characterized by a number of
tendencies that combined have radically increased the
fragmentation of time. Developments in communication
and information technology have multiplied and made more
immediate and intricate the nature of our connectivity.
Globalization has intensified competition and with it
customers increasingly expect 24/7 access, just-in-time
deliveries, and minimum waiting times. In turn, firms expect
their managers to be flexible, mobile, and available to meet
customer expectations. With a steady increase of women
in the labor force, dual earner families have become the
norm, and juggling work and family responsibilities are now
a concern for both men and women. In this context time is
being fragmented and focus scattered. There is less time
available for more tasks and responsibilities. Since time is
a scarce resource, those skilled in (re-)focusing quickly and
staying focused within fragments of time will thrive and be
more successful. This requires the capacity to manage one’s
attention: to focus entirely on the person or task at hand
while also exerting self-control to block out interferences.
The central component of the Healthy Mind Platter for those
concerned not just with brain health but also performance
is undoubtedly focus time: the time we are able to focus,
stay focused and refocus efficiently and effectively. Focusing
attention involves several functions, including alerting,
orienting, and executive control (Tang & Posner, 2009). The
executive capacity to focus is dependent on a well-developed
prefrontal cortex (PFC), also referred to as the executive part
of the brain, responsible for most of the higher cognitive
functions organizing actions, both physical and mental. The
PFC’s functions are wide and varied; they include capacities
such as: (1) working memory, involved in organizing and
structuring information, remembering self and creating
images of the possible future, for consequence evaluation,
and long-term planning; and (2) processes for monitoring
behavior and inhibiting pre potent responses, including
emotion regulation and self-observation (Siegel, 2010).
Our executive functions allow us to reconsider the
environment moment to moment and make choices that
may be different to our automatic responses.
Developments in
communication
and information
technology have
multiplied and
made more
immediate and
intricate the nature
of our connectivity.
When we focus we activate working memory long enough
to allow other recombinant processes to happen within this
“chalkboard of the mind.” This consists of encoding the
information through the activity of the hippocampus and parts
of the cortex to create linkages among aspects of experience
that encode both context and the explicit elements of factual
and autobiographical memory. Ultimately, these forms of
explicit memory can be flexibly retrieved enabling us to have
a context for the present, an understanding of the past, and
to more effectively plan for the future as we harness the
power of the prefrontal cortex.
To focus is to pay close attention. Attention is a complex
process involving multiple parts of the brain related to
perception, arousal, emotion, and memory. The attention
process, akin to putting “a spotlight” on something, consists
16
NeuroLeadershipJOURNA L ISS UE FOUR RESEARCH
© NeuroLeadership Institute 2012 For Permissions, email support@neuroleadership.org
of three stages which involve different parts of the brain,
and different systems (norepinephrine and dopamine)
(Carter, 1998, p. 305): (1) Alerting (Reticular Activating
System, brainstem, thalamus), activated by fear or novelty;
(2) Orienting (thalamus, superior colliculus, parietal cortex),
to orient or direct the focus of processing on input from the
sensory organs or internally generated neural activity from
the cortex; and (3) Executive functions (PFC, ACC, striatum)
that can hold information in mind and make choices about
processes as they occur.
A lack of
stimulation
(boredom) and
overstimulation
(stress) leads to
impairment of
executive functions,
distraction, and
lack of focus.
These higher cognitive functions mediated by the PFC have
been found to require adequate levels of catecholamines,
which in turn are altered by levels of arousal or stress.
A lack of stimulation (boredom) and overstimulation (stress)
leads to impairment of executive functions, distraction, and
lack of focus. In these conditions, the brain can be altered
to enter a state of hypo- or hyper-vigilance that can impair
performance. Attention can therefore be considered to
be dependent on a state of optimal arousal that activates
our body and mind to process the incoming information
and respond adequately. In order for a person to function
at optimal levels of arousal, predictability and a sense
of control are necessary. Deep breathing, mindfulness
(openness and acceptance to what arises in the field of
attention), and framing the stressor as controllable or
transient can also help to maintain or bring a person back
to optimal levels of arousal and attentional focus. In short,
there is a direct relationship between stress, focus, and
health. One could even propose that the capacity to focus
attention is an ongoing indicator of mental fitness. Many
mental difficulties such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity
Disorder (ADHD), schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s disease
are characterized by attention problems.
Another aspect of focus time is sustaining attention, or
staying focused, which is a function of self-control. This
important function of motoric, cognitive, and emotional
control is mediated by activity in the (ventrolateral)
prefrontal cortex (areas 44, 45, and 47). Lesions or
dysfunction in this area are associated with obsessive-
compulsive behavior and addictions. The exertion of self-
control appears to depend on a limited resource. Just as a
muscle gets tired from exertion, acts of self-control cause
short-term impairments (mental depletion) in subsequent
self-control, even on unrelated tasks. Research has
supported this strength framework for understanding the
possible challenges in the domains of eating, drinking,
spending, sexuality, intelligent thought, making choices
and interpersonal behavior (Baumeister, Vohs & Tice,
2007). These authors note that motivational or framing
factors can temporarily block the deleterious effects
of being in a state of mental depletion, and that blood
glucose is a component of the energy required for effective
executive control.
Last but not least there is the capacity to re-focus following
distraction or during multi-tasking. Given the limited
capacity of our working memory, rather than processing
multiple sources of information simultaneously, we
continuously switch our spotlight of attention back and
forth between different stimuli. As a consequence we
divide attention, and allocate less time to each task, or
distribute a given focus in divided ways over a longer time
span. The logical consequence is that multi-tasking impairs
performance, also referred to as “dual task interference.”
According to Meyer
et al.
, multitasking requires multiple
cognitive micro-processes (1998), involving multiple regions
of the brain (1997), including the dorsolateral PFC for goal-
shifting and refocusing attention, the posterior parietal
lobe for activating the task’s procedural rules, the ACG for
error monitoring, and the pre-motor cortex for anticipatory
movement preparation. The time required for executing
all these micro-processes depends on a series of criteria,
but in general increases with the number of interruptions,
switching from one task to the other (Rubinstein, Evans, &
Meyer, 1994).
In the Healthy Mind Platter, focus time involves the application
of a singular attentional focus on a task that permits a sense
of mastery and completion. Focus time enables an individual
to avoid the sense of being overwhelmed and incomplete
that so often accompanies multitasking. Focus time is both
a cognitive process necessary for effective performance,
and an intentional effort that requires self-control, both of
which require energy and the management of stress. This
has important implications for self-management – keeping
down the “switching-time costs” of multitasking which
diminishes cognitive performance. In these ways, focus
time is helpful for the process of a sense of efficacy in the
outcome of efforts and the effective sense of contributing to
work output.
17
NeuroLeadershipJOURNA L ISS UE FOUR RESEARCH
© NeuroLeadership Institute 2012 For Permissions, email support@neuroleadership.org
Discussion and Conclusion
In this article we introduced the Healthy Mind Platter, a
framework for managing our lives and promoting mental,
relational, and brain health. This approach may be useful
in informing schools, organizations, governments, and
communities about the necessary “mental nutrients” that
entail the daily mental activities that promote well-being.
The ingredients of the Healthy Mind Platter are Sleep
time, Play time, Time-in, Downtime, Connecting time,
Physical time, and Focus time. The Healthy Mind Platter
can be used as a simple visual framework to promote and
increase the awareness of mental health in our daily lives.
Following a healthy mind “diet” can provide us with the
physical and mental wellbeing necessary to establish and
maintain relationships with family, friends and colleagues
and efficiently realize the tasks and responsibilities at
school, work and in our communities. The mind can be
seen to emerge from both body and relationships, and so
the Healthy Mind Platter focuses on our bodies, our social
connections and how we focus our minds themselves (See
Siegel, 2012a and 2012b).
Following a
healthy mind
“diet” can provide
us with the
physical and
mental wellbeing
necessary
to establish
and maintain
relationships…
Although we have introduced the different factors
constituting the Healthy Mind Platter individually, there
are many direct and indirect and sometimes complex
interrelations between them. All ingredients have clear and
well-documented relationships with one or several of the
outcome variables, creativity, mental health and cognitive
performance. Downtime, play time, connecting time, time-
in and focus time are associated with creativity. All factors
are related with mental health.
Focus time has complex relationships with many other
variables. First, focus time is a logical antecedent of
cognitive performance. Focusing involves a coordinated
constellation of cognitive processes necessary for thinking
or acting consciously and intelligently in general. If
focus time is characterized by “flow” or engagement;
according to positive psychologists like Seligman (2011)
and Csikszentmihalyi (1990), it has many beneficial effects
for health. For instance, active leisure time is an example
of focus time which allows us to completely distract
ourselves from work and reconnect with a refreshed
mind. The relationship between focus time and cognitive
performance is moderated by sleep time, down time, and
time-in. Without sufficient rest and breaks, people may be
quite challenged to maintain focus. Without alternating
focus time with instances of reflection within time-in, for
example, attention fades and the level of processing may
be restricted to only surface considerations.
Moments before
an insight, we
unfocus visually
and mentally to
enable an idea
to bubble to
the surface.
The relationship between focus time and creativity is a
complex one. As mentioned in the section on down time,
insight often does not occur without previous processes
of analysis (focus time) and incubation (down time, sleep
time, time-in), for the pieces to come together in a creative
“Aha” way, or within a complex decision-making process.
Moments before an insight, we unfocus visually and mentally
to enable an idea to bubble to the surface. Interestingly, EEG
assessments of gamma-waves suggest this cognitive event
resembles moments of deep meditation. In other words, in
some cases, different ingredients in the Healthy Mind Platter
(e.g. focus time, down time, time-in) alternate with each
other instantaneously to produce yet another phenomenon
(e.g. a transient state of insight or creativity).
A second complex relationship is between physical time and
cognitive performance, which we discussed in the section
on physical time. According to the transient hypofrontality
hypothesis, during exercise and exertion of effort, cognitive
18
NeuroLeadershipJOURNA L ISS UE FOUR RESEARCH
© NeuroLeadership Institute 2012 For Permissions, email support@neuroleadership.org
performance decreases because blood is disproportionally
concentrated in the muscles. Following exercise and long
afterwards, however, physical activity practice should
increase cognitive performance thanks to improved blood
distribution to the brain and due to enhanced neuroplasticity
following exercise. In addition, down time and sleep time
moderate the relationships between physical time and
mental health. Both incessant physical activity without
rest and a general lack of exercise can endanger (mental)
health. While we have not listed amounts of time or ratios
of proportions of time to be spent in engaging in these
activities, each individual and each program harnessing
the Healthy Mind Platter can apply reflective reasoning to
including each of these activities on a daily basis within a
range of time allotted for each that may depend on the day
and on the individual. Sleep time, for example, may vary
depending on age, but for the average adult, seven to eight
hours are the typical amount often needed. For children
and adolescents, this time is often greater
though
modern life makes teenagers challenged to achieve the
eight to nine hours of sleep that may be needed for optimal
functioning and well-being, ideally such important healthy
priorities should be achieved if possible.
Further research is needed to understand which
combinations are needed, and in what order, proportion
and relationship, to produce optimal levels of creativity,
health, and performance. We can conclude from our review
that as we are writing, neuroscientists, psychologists,
molecular biologists, and many other researchers around
the world are independently investigating the physical and
mental substrates underlying the relationships between the
elements of the Healthy Mind Platter and a variety of health
outcomes. A range of disciplines may contribute meaningfully
to research that will be required to study which different
constellations among these elements represent the best
recipes for public health and individual and organizational
performance. As for the field of neuroleadership, the
Healthy Mind Platter offers a theoretical model to study and
optimize the mental well-being, brain health, creativity and
performance of leaders. For families, schools and our wider
society, the Healthy Mind Platter offers a framework to open
the conversation and facilitate the work of public health
policy makers, health practitioners, educators, coaches,
organizational consultants, and many other professionals
to develop and evaluate interventions. As the brain takes
more of a central stage in health management, science, and
society at large, we need to integrate insights generated in
laboratories around the globe to confront one of the biggest
scientific, public health, and economic challenges of the
21st century: improving brain health and plasticity to deal
with the increasing complexity and uncertainty unfolding
around us.
References
Aamodt, S., & Wang, S. (2007). Exercise on the brain. The
New York Times, November 8. Retrieved from: http://www.
nytimes.com/2007/11/08/opinion/08aamodt.html?ei=5070&
em=&en=875b1c15ea6447c9&ex=1194670800&pagewanted
=print
Angier, N. (1992). The purpose of playful frolics: Training for
adulthood. The New York Times, October 20, B5–B6.
Baumeister, R.F., Vohs, K.D., & Tice, D.T. (2007). The strength
model of self-control. Current Directions in Psychological
Science, 16 (6), 351–355.
Benson, H. (1975). The relaxation response. New York: Morrow.
Benson, H., & Proctor. (2003). The Break-out Principle. New
York: Scribner. Bierman.
Berkman, L.F.
et al.
(1993). High, usual and impaired
functioning in community-dwelling older men and women:
findings from the MacArthur Foundation Research Network
on Successful Aging. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 46,
1129–1140.
Berkman, L.F., & Syme, L.S. (1979). Social networks, host
resistance, and mortality: a nine-year follow-up study of
Alameda County residents. American Journal of Epidemiology,
109, 186–204.
Bishop, S. R., Lau, M., Shapiro, S., Carlson, L., Anderson, N.
D., Carmody, J…Devins, G. (2004). Mindfulness: A proposed
operational definition. Clinical Psychology: Science and
Practice, 11 (3), 230–241.
Blomquist, K.B., & Danner, F. (1987). Effects of physical
conditioning on information processing efficiency. Perceptual
Motor Skills, 65, 175–186.
Bohannon, R. W. (1993). Physical rehabilitation in neurologic
diseases. Current Opinion in Neurology, 6, 765–772.
Bolte Taylor, J. (2009). My stroke of insight. London, Penguin
Books.
Bos, M. W., Dijksterhuis, A., & Van Baaren, R. B. (2011).
The benefits of “sleeping on things”: Unconscious thought
leads to automatic weighting. Journal of Consumer
Psychology, 21, 4–8.
Bowden, E.M., & Jung-Beeman, M. (2003). Aha! Insight
experience correlates with solution activation in the right
hemisphere. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 10, 730–737.
Bowden, E.M., & Jung-Beeman, M. (2003). One hundred
forty-four compound remote associate problems: Short
insight-like problems with one-word solutions. Behavioral
Research, Methods, Instruments, and Computers, 35, 634–639.
19
NeuroLeadershipJOURNA L ISS UE FOUR RESEARCH
© NeuroLeadership Institute 2012 For Permissions, email support@neuroleadership.org
Bowden, E.M., & Jung-Beeman, M. (1998). Getting the right
idea: Semantic activation in the right hemisphere may help
solve insight problems. Psychological Science, 6, 435–440.
Brooks, A., & Lack, L. (2006). A brief afternoon nap following
nocturnal sleep restriction: which nap duration is most
recuperative? Sleep, 29 (6), 831–840.
Brown, S.L. (1994). Animals at play. National Geographic,
December, 2–35.
Brown, S.L., & Vaughan, C. (2010). Play: How it shapes
the brain, opens imagination, and invigorates the soul. New
York: Avery.
Buckner, R.L., Andrews-Hanna, J.R., & Schacter, D.L. (2008).
The brain’s default network: anatomy, function, and relevance
to disease. Annual NY Academy of Science, 1124, 1–38.
Buijs, R.M., De Vries, G.J., Van Leeuwen, F.W., & Swaab, D.F.
(1983). Vasopressin and oxytocin: Distribution and putative
functions in the brain. Progressive Brain Research, 60,
115–122.
Cacioppo, J. T., Ernst, J.M., Burleson, M.H., McClintock,
M.K., Malarkey, W.B., Hawkley, L.C.,…Berntson, G.G. (2000).
Lonely traits and concomitant physiological processes: the
MacArthur social neuroscience studies. International Journal
of Psychophysiology, 35 (2–3), 143–154.
Cacioppo, J.T., Hawkley, L.C., Crawford, L.E., Ernst, J.M.,
Burleson, M.H., Kowalewski, R.B.,… Berntson, G.G. (2002).
Loneliness and health: Potential mechanisms. Psychosomatic
Medicine, 64, 407–417.
Carter, R. (1998). Mapping the Mind. London: Phoenix.
Chiesa, A., & Serretti, A. (2009a). Mindfulness-based stress
reduction for stress management in healthy people: a review
and meta-analysis. Journal of Alternative and Complementary
Medicine, 15 (5), 593–600.
Chiesa, A., & Serretti, A. (2009b). A systematic review
of neurobiological and clinical features of mindfulness
meditations. Psychological Medicine, 27, 1–14.
Christensen, L.O., Johannsen, P., Sinkjaer, N., Peterson,
N., Pyndt, H.S., & Nielsen, J.B. (2000). Cerebral activation
during bicycle movements in man. Experimental Brain
Research, 135, 66–72.
Cohen, D. A., Pascual-Leone, A., Press, D. Z., & Robertson,
E. M. (2005). Off-line learning of motor skill memory: A
double dissociation of goal and movement. Proceedings of
the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A, 102, 18237–18241.
Cohen, S. (2004). Social relationships and health. American
Psychologist, 59, 676–684.
Cohen, S., Doyle, W.J., Skoner, D.P., Rabin, B.S., & Gwaltney,
J.M. (1997). Social ties and susceptibility to the common
cold. Journal of the American Medical Association, 277,
1940–1944.
Cohen, S., Gottlieb, B., & Underwood, L. (2000). Social
relationships and health. In S. Cohen, L. Underwood, & B.
Gottlieb (Eds.), Measuring and intervening in social support.
New York: Oxford University Press.
Cohen, S., & Wills, T. A. (1985). Stress, social support and
the buffering hypothesis. Psychological Bulletin, 98, 310-357.
Colcombe, S. J., Kramer, A. F., Erickson, K. I., Scalf, P.,
McAuley, E., Cohen, N. J.,
et al.
(2004). Cardiovascular
fitness, cortical plasticity, and aging. Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences U.S.A, 101, 3316–3321.
Coplan, R.J., Rubin, K.H., Fox, N.A., Calkins, S.D., & Stewart,
S.L. (1994). Being alone, playing alone, and acting alone:
distinguishing among reticence and passive- and active
solitude in young children. Child Development, 65, 129–137.
Cotman, C.W., & Engesser-Cesar, C. (2002). Exercise
enhances and protects brain function. Exercise Sport Science
Review, 30 (2), 75–79.
Cotman, C.W., & Berchtold, N.C. (2002). Exercise: A
behavioral intervention to enhance brain health and
plasticity, Trends in Neuroscience, 25, 6.
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The psychology of optimal
experience. New York: Harper and Row.
Davis, C.L., Tomporowski, P.D., Boyle, C.A., Waller, J.L.,
Miller, P.H., & Naglieri, J.A. (2007). Effects of aerobic
exercise on overweight children’s cognitive functioning: A
randomized controlled trial. Research Quarterly for Exercise
and Sport.
Diekelmann, S., & Born, J. (2010). The memory function of
sleep. Nature Rev. Neurosci, 11 (2), 114–126.
Dietrich A. (2006). Transient hypofrontality as a mechanism
for the psychological effects of exercise. Psychiatry Research,
145 (1), 79–83.
Dijksterhuis, A. (2004). Think different: The merits of
unconscious thought in preference development and
decision-making. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,
87, 586–598.
Dijksterhuis, A., Bos, M.W., Nordgren, L.F., & van Baaren,
R.B. (2006). On making the right choice: The deliberation-
without-attention effect. Science, 311, 1005–1007.
Durmer, J. S., & Dinges, D. F. (2005). Neurocognitive
consequences of sleep deprivation. Seminars in Neurology,
25, 117–129.
20
NeuroLeadershipJOURNA L ISS UE FOUR RESEARCH
© NeuroLeadership Institute 2012 For Permissions, email support@neuroleadership.org
Eisenberger, N.I., & Lieberman, M.D. (2004). Why rejection
hurts: A common neural alarm system for physical and
social pain. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 8, 294–300.
Eisenberger, N.I., Lieberman, M.D., & Williams, K.D. (2003).
Does rejection hurt? An fMRI study of social exclusion.
Science, 302, 290–292.
Evans, O., & Steptoe, A. (2001). Social support at work,
heart rate, and cortisol: A self-monitoring study. Journal of
Occupational Health Psychology, 6, 361–370.
Farb, N.A.S., Segal, Z.V., Mayberg, H., Bean, J., McKeon, D.,
Fatima, Z., & Anderson, A.K. (2007). Attending to the present:
mindfulness meditation reveals distinct neural modes of
self-reference. Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience,
2(4), 313-322.
Fenn, K. M., Nusbaum, H. C., & Margoliash, D. (2003).
Consolidation during sleep of perceptual learning of spoken
language. Nature, 425, 614–616.
Fredrickson, B. (2000). Cultivating positive emotions to
optimize health and well-being. Prevention & Treatment, 3 (1).
Frost, J. (1998). Neuroscience, play, and child development.
Paper presented at the IPA/USA Triennial National
Conference (Longmont, CO, June 18–21, 1998).
Fukuyama, H., Ouchi, Y., Matsuzaki, S., Nagahama, Y.,
Yamauchi, H.,Ogawa,… & Shibasaki, H. (1997). Brain
functional activity during gait in normal subjects: a SPECT
study. Neuroscience Letters, 228, 183–186.
Gais, S., & Born, J. (2004). Declarative memory consolidation:
Mechanisms acting during human sleep. Learning &
Memory, 11, 679–685.
Gais, S., & Born, J. (2004). Declarative memory consolidation:
Mechanisms acting during human sleep. Learning &
Memory, 11, 679–685.
Gallo, L.C., Smith, T.W., & Kircher, J.C. (2000). Cardiovascular
and electrodermal responses to support and provocation:
Interpersonal methods in the study of psychophysiological
reactivity. Psychophysiology, 37, 289–301.
Garaigordobil Landazabal, M. (2005). Prosocial and creative
play: Effects of a programme on the verbal and nonverbal
intelligence of children aged 10–11 years. International
Journal of Psychology, 40(3), 176–188.
Gomez-Pinilla, F. (2007). The influences of diet and exercise
on mental health through hormesis. Ageing Research Review.
Gomez-Pinilla, F., Ying, Z., Roy, R.R., Molteni, R. & Edgerton,
V.R. (2002). Voluntary exercise induces a BDNF-mediated
mechanism that promotes neuroplasticity. J. Neurophysiol.,
88, 2187–2195.
Gordon, N.S., Burke, S., Akil, H., Watson, S.J., & Panksepp,
J. (2003). Socially-induced brain ‘fertilization’: play promotes
brain derived neurotrophic factor transcription in the
amygdala and dorsolateral frontal cortex in juvenile rats.
Neuroscience Letters, 341 (1), 17–20.
Gottman, J.M., Katz, L.F., & Hooven, C. (1997). Metaemotion:
How families communicate emotionally. Mahwah, NJ:
Erlbaum.
Grealy, M. A., Johnson, D. A., & Rushton, S. K. (1999).
Improving cognitive function after brain injury: The use of
exercise and virtual reality. Archives of Physical Medicine and
Rehabilitation, 80, 661–667.
Grossman, P., Niemann, L., Schmidt, S., & Walach, H. (2004).
Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits: A
meta-analysis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 57, 35–43.
Gryskiewicz, S. (1999). Positive turbulence: Developing climates
for creativity, innovation and renewal. John Wiley & Sons.
Hartig, T., Evans, G. W., Jamner, L. D., Davis, D. S., & Gärling,
T. (2003). Tracking restoration in natural and urban field
settings. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 23, 109–123.
Hays, J.C., Steffens, D.C., Flint, E.P., Bosworth, H.B., &
George, L.K. (2001). Does social support buffer functional
decline in elderly patients with unipolar depression?
American Journal of Psychiatry, 158, 1850–1855.
Heinrichs, M., Baumgartner, T., Kirschbaum, C., & Ehlert,
U. (2003). Social support and oxytocin interact to suppress
cortisol and subjective responses to psychosocial stress.
Biological Psychiatry, 54, 1389–1398.
Hernández-Peón, & Sterman, M.B. (1966). Brain functions.
Annual Review of Psychology, 17, 363–394.
Hill, R.D.
et al.
(1993). The impact of long-term exercise
training on psychological function in older adults. Journal
Gerontology, 48, 12–17.
Hobson, J. A., Pace-Schott, E. F., Stickgold, R., & Kahn, D.
(1998). To dream or not to dream? Relevant data from new
neuroimaging and electrophysiological studies. Current
Opinion in Neurobiology, 8, 239–244.
Hobson, J.A., & Pace-Schott, E.F. (2002). The cognitive
neuroscience of sleep: Neuronal systems, consciousness
and learning. Nature Rev. Neuroscience, 3, 679–693.
Hofmann, S.G., Sawyer, A.T., Witt, A.A., & Oh, D. (2010).
The effect of mindfulness-based therapy on anxiety and
depression: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Consulting
Clinical Psychology, 78 (2), 169–183.
Hol, T., Van den Berg, C.L., Van Ree, J.M., & Spruijt, B.M.
(1999). Isolation during the play period in infancy decreases
adult social interactions in rats. Behavioral Brain Research,
100, 91–97.
House, J.S., Landis, K.R., & Umberson, D. (1988). Social
relationships and health. Science, 241, 540-545.
21
NeuroLeadershipJOURNA L ISS UE FOUR RESEARCH
© NeuroLeadership Institute 2012 For Permissions, email support@neuroleadership.org
Humphreys, A.P., & Einon, D.F. (1981). Play as a reinforcer for
maze-learning in juvenile rats. Animal Behavior, 29, 259–270.
Ibañez, A., San Martin, R., Dufey, M., Bacquet, S., & Lopez,
V. (2008). ERP studies of cognitive processing during sleep.
International Journal of Psychology, 44(4), 290-304.
Jacobson, E. (1938). Progressive relaxation. Chicago:
University of Chicago Press.
Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever you go, there you are:
mindfulness meditation in everyday life. New York: Hyperion.
Karasek, R.A., & Theorell, T.G. (1990). Health work, stress,
productivity, and the reconstruction of working life. New York:
Basic Books.
Kiecolt-Glaser, J.K., McGuire, L., Robles, T.F., & Glaser, R.
(2002). Emotions, morbidity, and mortality: New perspectives
from psychoneuroimmunology. Annual Review of Psychology,
53, 83–107.
Kirsch, P., Esslinger, C., Chen, Q., Mier, D., Lis, S., Siddhanti,
S.,…Meyer-Lindenberg, A. (2005). Oxytocin modulates neural
circuitry for social cognition and fear in humans. The Journal
of Neuroscience, 25 (49), 11489–11493.
Kramer, A.F., Hahn, S., Cohen, N.J., Banich, M.T., McAuley,
E., Harrison, C.R.,…Colcombe, A. (1999). Ageing, fitness and
neurocognitive function. Nature, 400, 418–419.
Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential Learning. Englewood Cliffs,
NJ: Prentice Hall.
Kosfeld, M., Heinrichs, M., Zak, P.J., Fischbacher, U., &
Fehr, E. (2005). Oxytocin increases trust in humans. Nature,
435, 673–676.
Kounios, J., & Jung-Beeman, M. (2009). Aha! The cognitive
neuroscience of insight. Current Directions in Psychological
Science, 18, 210–216.
Kroenke, K., & Mangelsdorff, A.D. (1989). Common
symptoms in ambulatory care: incidence, evaluation,
therapy, and outcome. American Journal of Medecine, 86,
262–266.
Laurin, D.
et al.
(2001) Physical activity and risk of cognitive
impairment and dementia in elderly persons. Archives of
Neurology, 58, 498–504.
Lazar, S.W., Kerr, C., Wasserman, R.H., Gray, J.R., Greve, D.,
Treadway, M.T., ... , Fischl, B. (2005). Meditation experience
is associated with increased cortical thickness. NeuroReport,
16 (17), 1893–1897.
Lindvall, O., Kokaia, Z., Bengzon, J., Elmer, E., & Kokaia,
M. (1994). Neurotrophins and brain insults. Trends in
Neurosciences, 17, 490–496.
Luders, E., Narr, K. L., Thompson, P. M., Toga, A. W. (2009).
Neuroanatomical correlates of intelligence. Intelligence, 37
(2), 156–163.
Masion, A.O., Teas, J., Herbert, J.R., Werheimer, M.D., &
Kabat-Zinn, J. (1995). Meditation, melatonin and breast /
prostate cancer: hypotheses and preliminary data. Medical
Hypotheses, 44, 39–46.
McGilchrist, I. (2009). The Master and His Emissary. New
Haven: Yale University Press.
Meaney, M.J., & Stewart, J. (1981). A descriptive study of
social development in the rat (rattus norvegicus). Animal
Behavior, 29, 34–45.
Meyer, D. E., Evans, J. E., Lauber, E. J., Gmeindl, L.,
Rubinstein, J., Junck, L., & Koeppe, R. A. (1998). The role
of dorsolateral prefrontal cortex for executive cognitive
processes in task switching. Poster presented at the meeting
of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, San Francisco,
CA, April, 1998. Abstract published in Journal of Cognitive
Neuroscience, 10.
Meyer, D. E., Evans, J. E., Lauber, E. J., Rubinstein, J.,
Gmeindl, L., Junck, L., & Koeppe, R. A. (1997). Activation
of brain mechanisms for executive mental processes in
cognitive task switching. Poster presented at the meeting of
the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, Boston, MA, March, 1997.
Abstract published in Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 9.
Mobbs, D., Greicius, M.D., Abdel-Azim, E., Menon, V., &
Reiss, A.L. (2003). Humor modulates the mesolimbic reward
centers. Neuron, 40(5), 1041–1048.
Nakata, A. (2011). Work hours, sleep sufficiency, and
prevalence of depression among full-time employees: a
community-based cross-sectional study [CME]. Journal of
Clinical Psychiatry, 72(5), 605-614.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Stress
at work. DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 99–101. Retrieved
from: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/99-101/
Neeper, S. A., Gómez-Pinilla, F., Choi, J., & Cotman, C.
(1995). Exercise and brain neurotrophins. Nature, 373, 109.
Normansell, L., & Panksepp, J. (1990). Effects of morphine
and naloxone on play-rewarded spatial discrimination in
juvenile rats. Developmental Psychobiology, 23, 75–83.
Panksepp, J. (1991). Affective neuroscience: A conceptual
framework for the neurobiological study of emotions. In K.
Strongman (Ed.), International reviews of studies in emotions,
1, 59–99.
Panksepp, J. (1992). A critical role for “affective neuro-
science” in resolving what is basic about basic emotions.
Psychological Review, 99 (3), 554–60.
Panksepp, J. (1998). Affective neuroscience. New York:
Oxford University Press.
22
NeuroLeadershipJOURNA L ISS UE FOUR RESEARCH
© NeuroLeadership Institute 2012 For Permissions, email support@neuroleadership.org
Panksepp, J. (2005). Beyond a joke: From animal laughter to
human joy? Science, 308, 62-63.
Panksepp, J. (2007). Can play diminish ADHD and facilitate
the construction of the social brain? Journal of the Canadian
Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 16(2), 57–66.
Panksepp, J., & BIven, L. (2012). Archaeology of Mind. New
York: W.W. Norton.
Panksepp, J., & Burgdorf, J. (2003). ‘‘Laughing’’ rats and
the evolutionary antecedents of human joy? Physiological
Behavior, 79, 533–547.
Panksepp, J., Siviy, S., & Normansell, L. (1984). The
psychobiology of play: theoretical and methodological
perspectives. Neuroscience Biobehavioral Review, 8, 465–492.
Parker, S.C., Nelson, B.W., Epel, E.S., and Siegel, D.J. (in
press). The science of presence: A central mediator of
the interpersonal benefits of mindfulness. Handbook of
Mindfulness: Theory and research.
Parkinson, B., & Totterdell, P. (1999). Classifying affect-
regulation strategies. Cognition and Emotion, 13, 277–303.
Payne, J.D. (2011). Learning, memory and sleep in humans.
Sleep Medicine Clinics, 6 (1), 15–30.
Payne, L., & Kounios, J. (2009). Coherent oscillatory
networks supporting short-term memory retention. Brain
Research, 1247, 126–132.
Pelletier, C. L. (2004). The effect of music on decreasing
arousal due to stress: A meta-analysis. Journal of Music
Therapy, 41, 192–214.
Perez-de-Albeniz, A., & Holmes, J. (2000). Meditation:
concepts, effects and uses in therapy. International Journal
of Psychotherapy, 5(1), 49-58.
Pettit, J.W., Grover, K.E., & Lewinsohn, P.M. (2007).
Interrelations between psychopathology, psychosocial
functioning, and physical health: An integrative perspective.
International Journal of Clinical Health Psychology, 7(2),
453-476.
Tang, Y.Y., & Posner, M.I. (2009). Attention training and
attention state training. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 13
(5), 222-227.
Rao, J., Wilson, J., & Watkinson, J. (2009). Culture
drives innovation, not ideas! Retrieved from: http://
innovationatwork.wordpress.com/2009/06/05/culture-
drives-innovation-not-ideas/
Rogers, R.L., Meyer, J.S., & Mortel, K.F. (1990). After
reaching retirement age physical activity sustains cerebral
perfusion and cognition. Journal of the American Geriatric
Society, 38, 123–128.
Rosengren, A., Orth-Gomer, K., Wedel, H., & Wilhelmsen, L.
(1993). Stressful life events, social support, and mortality in
men born in 1933. British Medical Journal, 307, 1102-1105.
Rubinstein, J., Evans, J., & Meyer, D. E. (1994). Task switching
in patients with prefrontal cortex damage. Poster presented
at the meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, San
Francisco, CA, March, 1994. Abstract published in Journal of
Cognitive Neuroscience, 6.
Salmon, P. (2001). Effects of physical exercise on anxiety,
depression, and sensitivity to stress: a unifying theory.
Clinical Psychology Review, 21, 33–61.
Sayal, K., Checkley, S., Rees, M., Jacobs, C., Harris, T.,
Papadopoulos, A., & Poon, L. (2002). Effects of social support
during weekend leave on cortisol and depression ratings: A
pilot study. Journal of Affective Disorders, 71, 153–157.
Segal, E. (2004). Incubation In Insight Problem-Solving.
Creativity Research Journal, 16(1), 141–148.
Segal, Z. (2009). Happiness and the brain. The agenda with
Steve Paikin, TVO, 13 January 2009 (www.TVO.org).
Seligman, M. E. P. (2011). Flourish: A visionary new
understanding of happiness and well-being. New York:
Free Press.
Siegel, D.J. (2012a). The Developing Mind: How relationships
and the brain interact to shape who we are (2nd ed.). New
York: Guilford.
Siegel, D.J. (2012b). Pocket Guide to Interpersonal
Neurobiology: An integrative handbook of the mind. New York:
W.W. Norton.
Simon, H. (1991). Bounded rationality and organizational
learning. Organization Science, 2(1), 125-134.
Sonnentag, S., & Fritz, C. (2007). The Recovery Experience
Questionnaire: Development and validation of a measure
assessing recuperation and unwinding at work. Journal of
Occupational Health Psychology, 12, 204–221.
Spector, P., Cooper, C.L., Sanchez, J.I., Sparks, K., Bernin,
P., Büssing, A.,…& Yu, S. (2002). A 24 nation / territory study
of work locus of control, well-being, and individualism:
How generalizable are western work findings? Academy of
Management Journal, 45 (2), 453-466.
Spinka, M., Newberry, R.C., & Bekoff, M. (2005). Mammalian
play: training for the unexpected. The Quarterly Review of
Biology, 76 (2), 141-68.
Spitzer, S.B., Llabre, M.M., Ironson, G.H., Gellman, M.D., &
Schneiderman, N. (1992). The influence of social situations
on ambulatory blood pressure. Psychosomatic Medecine, 54,
79–86.
23
NeuroLeadershipJOURNA L ISS UE FOUR RESEARCH
© NeuroLeadership Institute 2012 For Permissions, email support@neuroleadership.org
Steptoe, A. (2000). Stress, social support and cardiovascular
activity over the working day. International Journal
Psychophysiology, 37, 299–308.
Sternberg, R.J., & Davidson, J.E. (Eds.) (1995). The nature of
insight. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Stickgold, R. (2005). Sleep-dependent memory
consolidation’. Nature, 437, 1272–1278.
Stickgold, R., & Walker, M. P. (2005). Sleep and memory: The
ongoing debate. Sleep, 28, 1225–1227.
Stickgold, R., James, L., & Hobson, J. A. (2000). Visual
discrimination learning requires sleep after training. Nature
Neuroscience, 3, 1237–1238.
Stickgold, R., & Walker, M. P. (2005). Sleep and memory: The
ongoing debate. Sleep, 28, 1225–1227.
Stone, A. A., Kennedy-Moore, E., & Neale, J. M. (1995).
Association between daily coping and end-of-day mood.
Health Psychology, 14, 341–349.
Strick, M., Dijksterhuis, A., Bos, M.W., Sjoerdsma, A., Van
Baaren, R.B., & Nordgren, L.F. (2010). A meta-analysis on
unconscious thought effects. Unpublished manuscript. see
www.unconsciouslab.com.
Subramaniam, K., Kounios, J., Bowden, E.M., Parrish,
T.B., & Jung-Beeman, M. (2009). Positive mood and
anxiety modulate anterior cingulate activity and cognitive
preparation for insight. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 21,
415-432.
Subramaniam, K., Kounios, J., Parrish, T.B., & Jung-
Beeman, M. (2009). A brain mechanism for facilitation of
insight by positive affect. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience,
21, 415–432.
Suominen-Troyer, S., Davis, K.J., Ismail, A.H., & Salvendy, G.,
(1986). Impact of physical fitness on strategy development in
decision-making tasks. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 62, 71–77.
Tassi, P., Bonnefond, A., Engasser, O., Hoeft, A., Eschenlauer,
R., & Muzet, A. (2006). EEG spectral power and cognitive
performance during sleep inertia: The effect of normal sleep
duration and partial sleep deprivation. Physiology & Behavior,
87, 177–184.
Thoits, P.A. (1995). Stress, coping, and social support
processes: Where are we? What next? Journal of Health and
Social Behavior, 35, 53–79.
Uchino, B. N. (2006). Social support and health: A review
of physiological processes potentially underlying links
to disease outcomes. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 29,
377–387.
Uchino, B. N. (2009). Understanding the links between
social support and physical health: A lifespan perspective
with emphasis on the separability of perceived and received
support. Perspectives in Psychological Science, 4, 236–255.
Uchino, B. N., Cacioppo, J. T., & Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K. (1996).
The relationship between social support and physiological
processes: A review with emphasis on underlying
mechanisms and implications for health. Psychological
Bulletin, 119, 488–531.
Uchino, B.N., Holt-Lunstad, J., Uno, D., Betancourt, R.,
& Garvey, T.S. (1999). Social support and age-related
differences in cardiovascular function: An examination
of potential mediators. Annual Behavioral Medicine, 21,
135–142.
Ulrich-Lai, Y.M., & Herman, J.P. (2009). Neural regulation of
endocrine and autonomic stress responses. Nature Reviews
Neuroscience, 10, 397-409.
Uno, D., Uchino, B.N., Smith, T.W. (2002). Relationship
quality moderates the effect of social support given by close
friends on cardiovascular reactivity in women. International
Journal Behavioral Medicine, 9, 243–262.
van den Berg, C.L., Van Ree, J.M., Spruijt, B.M., & Kitchen, I.
(1999a). Effects of juvenile isolation and morphine treatment
on social interactions and opioid receptors in adult rats:
behavioural and autoradiographic studies. European Journal
of Neuroscience, 11, 3023–3032.
van den Berg, C.L., Hol, T., Van Ree, J.M., Spruijt, B.M.,
Everts, H., & Koolhaas, J.M. (1999b). Play is indispensable for
an adequate development of coping with social challenges in
the rat. Developmental Psychobiolology, 34, 129–138.
van der Klink, J. J. L., Blonk, R. W. B., Schene, A. H., & van
Dijk, F. J. H. (2001). The benefits of interventions for work-
related stress. American Journal of Public Health, 91, 270–276.
van Praag H. (2008). Neurogenesis and exercise: past and
future directions. Neuromolecular Medecine, 10, 128–40.
Vaynman, S., Ying, Z., & Gomez-Pinilla, F. (2004).
Hippocampal BDNF mediates the efficacy of exercise
on synaptic plasticity and cognition. European Journal of
Neuroscience, 20, 2580–2590.
Viswesvaran, C., Sanchez, J.I, & Fisher, J. (1999). The Role
of Social Support in the Process of Work Stress: A Meta-
Analysis. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 54(2), 314-334.
Walker, M. P., Brakefield, T., Morgan, A., Hobson, J.A., &
Stickgold, R. (2002). Practice with sleep makes perfect:
Sleep-dependent motor skill learning. Neuron, 35, 205–211.
Winston, J.S., Strange, B.A., O’Doherty, J., & Dolan, R.J.
(2002). Automatic and intentional brain responses during
evaluation of trustworthiness of faces. Nature Neurosciences,
5, 277–283.
... The first presented brain fitness and neuroplasticity as 'nature's invention to overcome the limitations of the genome and respond to the demands of a rapidly changing world' (borrowed from the consultant's PowerPoint presentation with permission). The second training drew on the idea of the 'healthy mind platter' (Rock, 2011) to understand how a healthy lifestyle and 'mental nutrients' (or a healthy diet) are keys to optimising brain function and thus managing time more productively. ...
... The healthy mind platter advocated in Mona's second training session was developed by David Rock, executive director of the NeuroLeadership Institute, and Daniel Siegel, executive director of the Mindsight Institute and clinical professor at the UCLA School of Medicine. The daily mental activities recommended for optimum mental health ('focus time', 'play time' and 'physical time') all intentionally develop the brain, for instance, through creative tasks, physical exercise and sleep (Rock, 2011). These suggestions seem ideal to promote success in the entrepreneurial university, but on whose time? ...
Article
In this article, we discuss affective time management discourses in academia. Drawing on our experiences of time management and brain fitness trainings at a Finnish university, we examine how the use and control of time are increasingly pressing societal and political matters affecting academic work globally. Time management training resources, such as guidebooks, websites and neuroscience-inspired staff training sessions, are seen as potentially fostering harmful productivity imperatives arising from the legacy of scientific work management doctrines. We argue that time-related affects, such as guilt and time poverty, need to be taken seriously to find the sustenance, such as a sense of collectivity, to persist through these counterproductive scenarios created by neoliberalist academic management styles.
... Igualmente, también están en auge los modelos de CTEV que integran la práctica meditativa, incluso la práctica de meditación mindfulness, en sus propuestas, subrayando los beneficios derivados de la meditación en varios contextos. Resultan relevantes las propuestas basadas en CTEV de Dean Ornish (2007) en el ámbito médico, la de Roger Walsh (2011) en el ámbito de la salud mental y la de Daniel Siegel y su equipo (Rock, Siegel, Poelmans, & Payne, 2012) en el terreno de la promoción del bienestar mental. Veamos estos tres abordajes con más detenimiento. ...
... 8) Cultivar el servicio o la conducta altruista. Con otro tipo de propuesta, más centrada en la prevención y el cuidado del cerebro, Daniel J. Siegel, profesor de Psiquiatría en la UCLA e integrador del mindfulness y la psicoterapia, y su equipo (Rock, Siegel, Poelmans, & Payne, 2012) proponen siete actividades mentales diarias para optimizar el cerebro y aumentar el bienestar, partiendo de una gestión del tiempo adecuada para que dé tiempo de llevar a cabo estas actividades mentales en la cotidianeidad. Con fines didácticos, revisten de terminología divulgativa y con símbolos fácilmente identificables las siete actividades mentales esenciales, subrayando que hace falta dedicar tiempo a cada una de ellas. ...
Article
Full-text available
Resumen Se define el estilo de vida (EV) y se propone una posible relación directa con el cambio terapéutico en psicote-rapia. Posteriormente, se analizan las intervenciones basadas en los Cambios Terapéuticos de Estilo de Vida (CEVT), su potencial en el contexto de la psicoterapia y se subraya la importancia de la práctica de mindfulness en la mayoría de las intervenciones basadas en CEVT. Más adelante, se describen cinco ámbitos de aprendi-zaje de habilidades mindfulness en el proceso psicoterapéutico y se acaba con varias conclusiones extraídas al respecto. Palabras clave: estilo de vida, mindfulness, cam-bios terapéuticos de estilo de vida,, psicoterapia basa-da en mindfulness Abstract Lifestyle is defined and a possible relationship with therapeutic change in psychotherapy is proposed. Afterward, interventions based on the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) and its potential in the context of psychotherapy are analyzed, and the importance of the practice of mindfulness in most TLC is underlined. Then, five learning areas of mindfulness skills in the psychotherapeutic process are described and it is ended with several conclusions.
... De eerste plek is thuis, de tweede op het werk en de derde plek is die waar ze kunnen helen van het "gif" waar ze dagelijks mee in de weer zijn. Neurologisch onderzoek toont aan dat dit een plek in de natuur kan zijn waar ze zich ontspannen of fysiek inspannen, of waar ze juist helemaal niets doen, luieren of slapen, luisteren naar klassieke muziek of mediteren, of waar ze zich kunnen verbinden met anderen, kunnen ventileren en sociale steun ervaren.37 Deze derde plek helpt ook de eerder genoemde mentale biases te voorkomen en uithoudingsvermogen voor het hele turnaround-proces te kweken. ...
Article
Full-text available
Leadership in turn-around and crisis management
... Integration of Mindfulness into Cohort 1Program Thematic Workshop DaysThe essential mental activities advocated inRock et al's (2012) 'healthy mind platter' were used to stimulate an introductory discussion for participants to consider what would be a healthy balance in their lives for well-being, Through dialogue, they identified what actions they might take to achieve more balance, including exercise, walking, yoga, taking holidays, reflection, 'switching off' and mindfulness meditation. Introduction of freely available mindfulness resources such as the Headspace app (www.headspace.com) ...
Article
Full-text available
In this article, we illustrate how ideas and practices of mindfulness can be integrated into management education, drawing from our work on postgraduate programs run with working managers. Our purpose is particularly to show how mindfulness can be introduced into the curriculum in a way that is acceptable for participants and clients, and brings benefit to participants. Following a brief review of literature on mindfulness in organizations, we share the curriculum innovation we designed and provide detail of its effectiveness derived from our follow-up evaluation.
... In other words, it may be concluded that training the brain, similar as training the body using physical exercise, allows it to learn to regulate itself and function better with spending less resources. The framework proposed by Rock, Siegel, Poelmans, and Payne (2012) suggests a number of mechanisms how different elements of coaching interventions can improve brain functional state. ...
Article
Full-text available
The rapid growth of coaching practices has outpaced the current best-practice empirical research and created a difficult landscape to navigate for coaches and consumers alike. To overcome these challenges the present study proposed to employ the neuro-screening measure to develop and monitor an individually tailored coaching intervention for training senior-managers' inspirational leadership. We have used the quantitative electroencephalogram (qEEG) screening to build the individual profiles of every coachee to assess their baseline (trait) characteristics in order to develop the coaching interventions to enhance effective and minimize ineffective behavior. The qEEG-screening profile resulted in nine metrics characterizing different traits and features of every coachee. Based on these profiles individualized 4-month coaching programs were suggested to coachees. The results indicated that participation in the individually designed 4-month coaching program was associated with significant improvement (70.7%) or optimization (55.6%) of metrics in the 71.7% of coachees. This was paralleled by reduced scores in independent Beck Anxiety Inventory and Beck Depression Inventory scales. We concluded that the employment of qEEG-screening profiling allows coaches and trainers to assess deep dynamic neurological mechanisms that underpin baseline traits and features essential for effective, flexible and sustainable leadership, as well as track their development over time.
Article
In response to Wilkinson's (2018) critique of humanistic counseling's alliance with neuroscience, the author explores the concept of the brain–body divide, proposes an adjustment to Wilkinson's quadripartite model, and suggests ways for humanistic counselors to integrate levels of consciousness and the brain–body connection into their work with clients.
Article
The rapid growth of coaching practices has outpaced the current best-practice empirical research and created a difficult landscape to navigate for coaches and consumers alike. To overcome these challenges the present study proposed to employ the neuro-screening measure to develop and monitor an individually tailored coaching intervention for training senior-managers’ inspirational leadership. We have used the quantitative electroencephalogram (qEEG) screening to build the individual profiles of every coachee to assess their baseline (trait) characteristics in order to develop the coaching interventions to enhance effective and minimise ineffective behaviour. The qEEG-screening profile resulted in nine metrics characterising different traits and features of every coachee. Based on these profiles individualised 4-month coaching programmes were suggested to coachees. The results indicated that participation in the individually designed 4-month coaching programme was associated with significant improvement (70.7%) or optimisation (55.6%) of metrics in the 71.7% of coachees. This was paralleled by reduced scores in independent Beck Anxiety Inventory and Beck Depression Inventory scales. We concluded that the employment of qEEG-screening profiling allows coaches and trainers to assess deep dynamic neurological mechanisms that underpin baseline traits and features essential for effective, flexible and sustainable leadership, as well as track their development over time.
Article
This account of practice provides a practical example of the use of mindfulness practice within action learning which was a component of a bespoke UK Business School post-graduate leadership development programme commissioned by an English NHS Mental Health Trust aimed at improving the leadership capacity of mid-level managers through work-based learning. The article discusses background and context of the programme followed by how application of mindfulness exercises was integrated within the action learning process to encourage participants to be ‘in the moment’ as an added component of their leadership development. The aim of the paper is to share examples of practice applied within action learning. Finally, the paper asserts that the application of mindfulness exercises helped to enhance the action learning process by creating a calm, focused space for individual and collective reflections, enhancing the quality of engagement and enabling action learning members to take a more pragmatic approach to addressing the work issues raised within the action learning sets.
Chapter
Full-text available
Drawing on the foundational theories of John Dewey and Kurt Lewin, we examine recent developments in theory and research on experiential learning and explore how this work can enhance experiential learning in higher education. We introduce the concept of learning space as a framework for understanding the interface between student learning styles and the institutional learning environment. We illustrate the use of the learning space framework in three case studies of longitudinal institutional development. Finally, we present principles for the enhancement of experiential learning in higher education and suggest how experiential learning can be applied throughout the educational environment by institutional development programs, including longitudinal outcome assessment, curriculum development, student development, and faculty development.
Article
Full-text available
Extensive research on humans suggests that exercise could have benefits for overall health and cognitive function, particularly in later life. Recent studies using animal models have been directed towards understanding the neurobiological bases of these benefits. It is now clear that voluntary exercise can increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and other growth factors, stimulate neurogenesis, increase resistance to brain insult and improve learning and mental performance. Recently, high-density oligonucleotide microarray analysis has demonstrated that, in addition to increasing levels of BDNF, exercise mobilizes gene expression profiles that would be predicted to benefit brain plasticity processes. Thus, exercise could provide a simple means to maintain brain function and promote brain plasticity.
Article
Full-text available
Insight occurs when a person suddenly reinterprets a stimulus, situation, or event to produce a nonobvious, nondominant interpretation. This can take the form of a solution to a problem (an "aha moment"), comprehension of a joke or metaphor, or recognition of an ambiguous percept. Insight research began a century ago, but neuroimaging and electrophysiological techniques have been applied to its study only during the past decade. Recent work has revealed insight-related coarse semantic coding in the right hemisphere and internally focused attention preceding and during problem solving. Individual differences in the tendency to solve problems insightfully rather than in a deliberate, analytic fashion are associated with different patterns of resting-state brain activity. Recent studies have begun to apply direct brain stimulation to facilitate insight. In sum, the cognitive neuroscience of insight is an exciting new area of research with connections to fundamental neurocognitive processes.
Article
This article reviews 75 scientific selected articles in the field of meditation, based on a Medline and Psychlit search from 1989 until June 1999 and earlier relevant papers. It summarises definitions of meditation, psychological and physiological changes, and side-effects encountered in the meditator. The review focuses on the comparison between meditation and psychotherapy at a practical and theoretical level. Finally, it reviews the scientific evidence for specific applications of meditation in clinical practice.