Your Brain at Work

What I bought Your Brain at Work for is summed up in the subtitle, “Strategies for overcoming distraction, regaining focus, and working smarter all day long.” What I found it most useful for was meditation.It describes the neuro-chemistry and biology of how your brain works in high functioning states.The focus of the book is to do more of your work in those high functioning states.And I recognized those high functioning states and some of the recommended techniques from my training in meditation.For example, “labeling” to note and gently shift away from undesirable or unhealthy states of mind.Centering Prayer, Pema Chödrön, and Tara Brach, among others use this technique when your focus/concentration slips to move back to the desired state without giving the undesired state energy.

And energy is a key concept Several of the more high functioning or advanced parts of the brain use a lot of energy. They are limited in capacity and tire easily. The author focuses a lot on how to best manage those capabilities and not overtax them.

I’m not good at simply following “cookbook” instructions. It works much better when I understand what and why I’m doing something. One dental hygienist says, “Floss your teeth twice a day” and I sort of comply. Another says, “You are introducing oxygen into the environment of anaerobic bacteria and it interferes with their reproduction.” Compliance goes up and I understand what I’m trying to and how to do it well. Since switching hygienists, I haven’t had nearly as much gum problems.

This book gives me a similar understanding of various meditation techniques. I do them more often and more successfully.

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