Whole Life Magazine

June/July 2013

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success track "As your brain gets tired, it strives to conserve energy, and it does so by simplifying choices." Fortunately, there are ways to enhance your decision making: •Eatbreakfast.Yourbrainneeds the calories and you make better decisions when your brain has the energy it needs. • Make decisions early in the day. Save the most important ones for first thing in the morning. Procrastinators won't like this but there's a vast body of evidence showing that morning is when you're freshest. • Gauge your exhaustion. Pay attention to how tired you are. Many of us see fatigue as something to be powered through and we feel heroic when we work long days. But there's nothing smart about putting yourself in a position where you're likely to make poor decisions. • Take breaks. Working without pause can feel intense and satisfying but after a while, you will reach for increasingly simple solutions. Don't think it's weak to give yourself a break! You may feel efficient and powerful making a whole string of decisions in a single sitting, but it can also be stupid and make you vulnerable to extraneous influences you scarcely perceive. Research shows that there are a few other ways to recharge your cognitive batteries: look at scenes of nature, take a short nap, experience some kind of positive mood shift or eat a meal. All these things can significantly recharge your mental batteries. Brain gym and other gimmicks won't help but cardiovascular exercise will. What is especially intriguing about this research is that we tend to imagine human judgment is a fairly fixed characteristic. (Psychometric tests for judgment seek to codify this.) What the parole judges have to teach us is humbling: We aren't as rational as we imagine and all kinds of extraneous trivia can completely change our minds. —Margaret Heffernan is an entrepreneur, chief executive and author. Her most recent book is Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril (Walker & Company). Study Counseling Psychology in Depth Pacifica Graduate Institute's M.A. Program in Counseling Psychology with Emphasis in Depth Psychology is dedicated to offering students unique and comprehensive training in the art of marriage and family, and individual psychotherapy. The depth psychology emphasis invites a curiosity about the psyche and the respect for the full range of human experience. The program integrates coursework in literature, mythology, religion and archetypal themes into the curriculum. An Accredited Graduate School with Two Campuses near Santa Barbara, CA 805.969.3626, ext. 309 | www.pacifica.edu june / july 2013 FINAL REDESIGN WLT-5-27-11pm.indd 23 23 5/28/13 11:12 AM

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