In this third component of “Full Engagement”, we consider the affects mental energy has on our performance. Surely, fueling ourselves property with physical energy and stress reduction gives power to our mental capacities. Mental engagement means using both hemispheres in your brain and learning how each works. Most people have heard that the left hemisphere controls the more linear aspects of our mental processes. Since the majority of people are right handed, they tend to primarily operate in their left hemisphere and thus, those qualities can be dominant. The right hemisphere of the brain though operates much differently as it processes things in a “larger picture” dimension and creativity tends to flow from this side. I will add here that the works of Dr. Daniel Amen which are available in both text and audio books are quite helpful in understanding this entire process. One of the best is “Making a Good Brain Great”.
As we become more fully engaged mentally, we begin to work to access both hemispheres of our brain and focus on clarity and commitment. If you are right brain dominant, you will find yourself drifting at times and you might eventually get stale in your thinking. Left brainers will burn out from their linear lifestyles because there will always be more to do. Learning to shut things off is a struggle. The authors of “The Power of Full Engagement” suggest taking more frequent shorter breaks throughout your day or at the least, build in some “down time” through your routines. Routines being a word you will see often as they drive new behavior.
These changes all stem from how we perceive things around us. For several of the test cases in the book, negative thinking tended to permeate their workdays. For sure we can get discouraged when something bad happens at work or in our personal lives but the best way to be fully engaged mentally is to have realistic optimism; seeing the world as it is, but always working positively towards a desired outcome or solution.
How do we make this work? Well, for some, you might want to purchase an inexpensive journal and being to write down the things that you see as negatives and try to recast these in a more positive, outcome based light. Others may need to take a break and do some breathing exercises, get out for a quick walk, or calmly clear their heads while visualizing things a bit more optimistically. It’s certain that being fully engaged mentally will have a positive impact on all aspects of our lives, including our health.
What steps can you take to improve in this area?