You might think of your brain as being fairly consistent. You generally have a consistent level of intelligence, your mood is usually pretty steady and on the whole you don’t tend to change all that much. Or so it seems.
In reality though, your brain is constantly changing. Not only is it growing and adapting, but it will also change in terms of what it’s capable of and how you feel. The chemical balance is likely to change a huge amount.
In other words, our brain goes through a number of states and depending on which brain state you are experiencing at any given time, you can expect very different results.
Let’s take a look at just a few mental states and how they have incredible impacts on the way you feel and perform.
A flow state is a much-coveted state that is often described as being the state of ultimate ‘peek’ human performance.
It’s a little more complex than that. But essentially, this is a state in which you are completely focussed on a given task, normally because you perceive it as highly important. This actually suppresses activity in the frontal region of the brain, allowing you to act on near pure-instinct and thereby giving you intense mental clarity and reactions.
Fight or Flight
Fight or flight is a stress state. In this state, the body is releasing adrenaline, dopamine and other chemicals that ramp up the nervous system and increase strength while also suppressing immune function and digestion. Stress like this isn’t a bad thing in the short term. Acute stress allows us to react to situations quickly when we need to.
The problem comes when this state carries on and becomes chronic.
Rest and Digest
The opposite of fight or flight, this is when the body is able to relax and calm down. This is when we digest our food, when we sleep and when we build tissue. We’re also more creative in this state!
Hysterical strength is a little like ‘beserker mode’. Under extreme duress, we produce so much adrenaline that we’re able to call on incredible reserves of strength. This demonstrates just how much of an impact our mind can have on our body – just what is possible when you’re in the right mindset.
And there are many more. If you want to perform your best, best get into the right mindset!