Stress management. Learn how not to increase stress from the neuroscience

Stress management. Learn how not to increase stress from the neuroscience

In this post we will see strategies from the neuroscience for stress management. Depending on how we focus our thought and attention from the prefrontal cortex, PFC, we may increase our stress. We will understand in what situations it happens. But, the GABA neurons in the amygdala can help us to calm the fear and the consequent stress. We will learn to take advantage of it to improve our quality of life.

In the previous article, we started to see the neuroscience of stress. After that, we have little doubt that it is better not to increase stress than just trying to decrease it.

High stress negatively affects our quality of life. But, often, we become aware of the need to manage stress when it is already very high and has become distress, chronic stress or anxiety. Or when it is difficult to reduce it and/or when there are other collateral damages such as gastric ulcers, heart problems, etc.

In this post we will first go deeper into the neuroscience of stress seen from NeuroQuotient®. This will allow us to design strategies for stress management, especially to avoid increasing it. We will also see things that, in general, we are not aware we can do better about.

Stress, seen from neuroscience, is the response to cues of threat or fear. But, in humans, these threats may be only in our mind or intensified with it.

Let’s first to review some concepts of stress neuroscience that we have already discussed in the previous post. It is convenient that we keep them in mind so that we can better understand the stress management strategies.

First. Behind the stress is, mainly, the threat or fear system.

In this system work together perception (through the senses), the amygdala (limbic center of fear) and memory (hippocampus). If the memory indicates that the perceived cue is a danger, then it time to flight (if the threat is too great) or fighting (if it is possible to cope it successfully). If exposure to the threat lasts for a certain time (mora than 10 min), cortisol begins to act, which can have significant negative side effects.

But, human animals, with the PFC (prefrontal cortex), we can direct attention, imagine or remember. So the threat signals do not necessarily have to come from a direct perception of the senses. Obviously, depending on how we use the PFC, the result regarding stress management can be very different. That is, in the neuroscience of stress, the PFC is fundamental.

From NeuroQuotient® we use to say that sometimes we imagine lions where there are none and, probably, never there will be. Or that, in our mind, we turn mice into lions.

NeuroQuotient® turns neuroscience into something practical, in this case the neuroscience of stress.

But, also, with our thought, from the PFC, we can modify the meaning of the threat cues and, thanks to the GABA neurons, stop the activation of the amygdala and stress.

But, in the previous post we left pending the key of the neuroscience of stress to avoid increasing it. The prefrontal cortex also intervenes in it.

We said, that between the basolateral amygdala (the one that receives the danger signal) and the central amygdala (the one that triggers the fight or flight), there are cells (neurons) interspersed (CIT).

These CITs are neurons of the GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) neurotransmitter. With its activation they slow down the central amygdala and stress is not started, since GABA is the main modulating neurotransmitter.

How are they activated? Well, with a message from the PFC saying, this signal, which seemed a danger, is a false alarm.

These days, post summer solstice days, some children still have firecrackers left. It is common to walk down the street and get scared. The hard noise triggers the amygdala, but soon we slow it down thinking something like:

‘Wow, it was just a firecracker’. That’s how we calm down.

Another quite common way to stop the amygdala and the consequent stress is to use tranquilizers and sleeping pills. Normally benzodiazepines. Diazepam (valium), alprazolam (tranquimazin), lorazepam (orfidal), etc. The benzodiazepines are ‘agonists’ of GABA, that is, they act in the same way in the receptors of the central amygdala.

We do not consider it advisable. Benzodiazepines create addiction. In addition, there are also GABA cells in the reward system, so they not only inhibit fear, but also the will to live.

Caffeine acts like noradrenaline (norepinephrine), helps wake up, but also activates the stress system.

Nor did we see in the previous post that norepinephrine intervenes in the start-up of stress. In connection with the amygdala – and from the locus coeruleus – noradrenaline activates the sympathetic nervous system and slows the parasympathetic nervous system.

Prior to adrenaline (epinephrine), which acts primarily in the body, noradrenaline is activated in the brain. An excess of noradrenaline involves brain stress.

In this review of stress neuroscience, we point it out now for two reasons:

First, because it is very important to maintain the balance between the two branches (sympathetic and parasympathetic) of the autonomic nervous system. We’ll see when we talk about how to reduce stress.

And second, even more pertinent, because in the noradrenaline receptors, and in the same way as she does, one of the most daily ‘wake-up’ acts: caffeine.

I remember a person who, to activate himself in the morning, and during the day, use to take several coffees. Then, to brake at night, he resorted to sleeping pills. Well, each one is responsible for himself. Maybe if this person had read this post he would have changed his stress management strategy.

Let’s see now what the main internal sources of stress are. Do you identify with any of these neuro behaviors?

Then, what can we do not increase stress, so as not to self-stress?

The first step is to become aware of how we activate or intensify the brain system of fear or threat. In many cases it has to do with how we use and focus our thinking, the PFC. We can ask ourselves the following questions:

1. Do you tend to worry (to pay attention in the future in a not positive way, paying too much attention to supposed threats)?
2. Do you have a trend to perfectionism (do you need everything to work out well)?
3. Do you want to encompass it, control it, everything, with a high level of self-demand?
4. Impatient; it’s hard to wait; Do you want it now?
5. Do you tend to see others as a threat to your interests?
6. Do you tend to ‘listen’ in negative to your bodily sensations of stress?
7. How is your daily dose of coffee?
8. How is your relationship with benzodiazepines?

By the way, if we find it difficult to identify these sources that make stress management difficult, with the NeuroQuotient® tool, we’ll find it out in 15 minutes.

Once identified our points of improvement, it is about finding alternative neuro-behaviors for these situations. Strategies arising from the understanding of the neuroscience of stress.

We have already realized that, in most cases, it is about avoiding or intensifying the signs of fear (not turning them into lions) that push the threat system to fight or flee, without it being necessary.

Once identified some neuro behaviors that make stress management difficult, let’s see some ideas on how to avoid increasing the stress.

Here there are some specific ideas for most of the previous points. They are referenced in the same way.

To ask ourselves, ‘what is really important’? is at the base of many of these ideas.

1. Instead of worrying, let’s decide what is important and, then take action. Don’t keep thinking about it. Excessive reflection with worry kills the action. Let’s take advantage of the energy directing it towards action to achieve what is important.

By worrying we also unleash energy, but we waste it; and we can end up somatizing stress.

And let’s try to change the focus in positive. It is as easy to think about what we are going to achieve than to imagine the opposite.

2. Perfectionism? Again, let’s decide what is important. Let’s forget the irrelevant details. Not everything needs the same level of precision. Prioritize. There are many things in which, if we fail, absolutely nothing happens. There are others, not so many, more important than it’s worth not to fail.

3. When we want to have everything under control, with high self-demand. We must bear in mind that not everything is possible at the same time. We have limited time resources, especially if we have to do it alone.

Then, once again, prioritize. Let’s organize ourselves to make better use of time. Let’s write down in the schedule when we are going to do something. Do not try to have everything in mind; in this way, we will only stress our PFC.

When we know what is important, we can deal with it and, at the same time, we stop worrying about what is not relevant.

On the other hand, regarding the non-important, we can send from the PFC (the thought and the focus) a message of tranquility to the amygdala. ‘I’m taking care of the important things. There is no reason for alarm ‘

And we continue with ideas to avoid increasing stress, following the items on the list for awareness

4. Impatience, in general, has to do with worry. We focus on the future and in a negative way. ‘The train does not come. I’ll be late’. Is it a matter of life or death that you arrive on time? If it’s so important, let’s get busy on it, let’s find an alternative to get it. If we can’t do anything, it does not make sense to worry.

5. Perceiving some other people as a threat. Often the lack of trust in someone makes us perceive them as a threat. Their simple presence or, just thinking about them, triggers our fear or threat system. And how, fortunately, it is not usual to ‘stick with others’, once again energy accumulates as stress within the body.

To avoid this, it is about changing the focus on these people. If they are important to us, of course. If they are not, then, just forget them.

Impatience with others has more to do with ‘the fight’ and with a level of demand, sometimes disproportionate. Watch out! Often, the ‘fight’ with others is also a way to get rid of stress and to avoid somatizing it.

In order not to increase stress when it has to do with the ‘fight’, there is another interesting approach. It has to do with trust and oxytocin, and it’s for more than one article. In some a way we advance it in a previous post: ’empathy to deactivate bullying’ (right at the end of the post).

6. Tendency to pay attention and interpret the body sensations in a negative way. If the symptoms are very intense, if it is serious, better go to the doctor. If not, we can pay attention to them, but without trying to interpret them or control them. And let them evolve by themselves. Our body is wise and by itself it will reach balance. This idea is partly related to the TIPI technique.

Attention! TIPI is much more than this (for more information you can inform yourself directly from its creator, Luc Nicon).

Finally, the exogenous elements. Drugs more or less

7. Regarding coffee, there is little to say. Do not abuse! Mainly, if our body is especially sensitive to caffeine.

8. If we need to take benzodiazepines, this mean that our stress level is already very high. Do not increase it, at least. And, please, not with caffeine.

Relaxing drugs cause drowsiness, counteracting it with caffeine is quite absurd. As an alternative to sleeping pills we can try something more natural, like valerian. As it smells very badly, there is no risk of addiction.

In general, for situations that are repeated and that start the amygdala and stress, it is important to change the focus and the meaning to trigger the CIT neurons as soon as possible.

Finally, please, remember that the NeuroQuotient® tool helps us understand the neuroscience of behavior. In this case the neuroscience of stress. And above all, with it we can see how our neuro behaviors help our satisfaction and well-being.

Reducing stress or not increasing stress?

In this article we inquire ourselves about which option is better: reducing stress or not increasing it. Stress, or rather distress (when it is very high and persistent) is an evil of our time. Understanding its neurological fundations we will see that many times we exaggeratedly increase it with our own perception and interpretation of situations. Understanding the neuroscience of behavior we become aware that sometimes we are limiting ourselves. The NeuroQuotient® helps us to do it.

Frequently, we want to lower our stress

A few days ago, when preparing a coaching session, we saw that a person asked us to discuss about more techniques and exercises to reduce stress.

He said something like this: ‘I practice sports and meditation, but I’m not able to reduce my stress to an acceptable level. Quite the opposite, I think it is increasing ‘.

It’s clear that we are talking about ‘distress’, excessive stress, almost chronic stress. The one that manifests itself in a series of unpleasant bodily sensations and in difficulty to concentrate and rest. Either it is hard for us to sleep or we fall exhausted and after two or three hours we are with our eyes wide open.

Often the main source of stress is oneself

How do we cause or cause stress to increase?

Shortly after starting the session we asked to the person who wanted to reduce the stress: How do you do it to increase your stress?

We can measure the sensation of stress on a scale of 1 to 10. We consider 1 to 5 adequate, above 5 to 7 worrying and 8 to 10 serious. The 0 does not make sense, it is not a reasonable level, the day we achieve it we will not be at all.

Someone in a constant sense of stress of 8 or 9, doing regular coping exercises, it seems clear that they have an internal source of stress.

It is logical that in a fire, in an earthquake, in a terrorist attack, in the face of a loss, etc. we feel stressed. But the person of the example, neither the present, nor in the past, had any similar situation.

There was not present, what we used to call, a relevant external stressors. It just happened, as in many cases, that the main source of stress was internal. An external trigger could exist, but the own perception was very much important.

 What are the neurological bases of stress?

The brain system of threat or fear

To understand it better, let’s see what happens in the brain, and in the body, with stress.

Stress is born in the system of fear or threat. With animals we prefer to talk about threat and in humans of fear. Fear is an emotion, the result of the interpretation of the situations and the corresponding sensations.

Let’s start with the animals and quite the same will be valid for the human animal.

What is the purpose of the threat system?

Simply, the species survival based on minimizing damage and pain.

When the animal perceives with its senses a signal that, its species memory, indicates that it is a threat, it can respond in different ways: Fighting, if it can cope with it or flighting, if the threat is greater than its possibilities.

We leave aside a third option here: standing still, freezing, which we have already seen earlier, more associated with depression in humans.

At the center of the threat system are the amygdalae. The sensory signal reaches the basolateral zone of the amygdala and, from there, goes to the central zone that connects with the autonomic nervous system, activating the sympathetic branch and braking the parasympathetic branch.

The animal is ready to attack or flee! So much goes for both. Depends on what the memory indicates, the amygdalae are the same and what comes next, too.

The fast and slow pathways of stress. The autonomic nervous system and cortisol

The sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system secretes adrenaline (epinephrine) in the core of the adrenal glands. The adrenaline passes into the blood, increasing the heart rate, increasing blood pressure, dilatating the pupils, opening the bronchi, etc. This is the fast, immediate path of stress. The one that facilitates fighting or the flighting.

After about 10 minutes, the slow path of stress begins to work. That of glucocorticoids (cortisol in humans). Cortisol is secreted in the cortex of the adrenal glands. Mainly it serves to generate energy from the reserves of the body (fats and proteins)

The slow way replaces the lack of activity of the parasympathetic branch, whose function is to favor the recovery of energy with rest and digestion: lowering the heart rate, contracting the bronchi, closing the pupils, promoting salivation, etc.

We usually talk about sympathetic activation and we forget parasympathetic deactivation. But symptoms like dry mouth, difficulty breathing, digestive problems, eyes open at night, etc., are very frequent, right? These symptoms lead us to think that we need to lower our stress.

On the other hand, the slow pathway has few opportunities for activity in animals. At 10 minutes the gazelle or has fled the lion, or very bad for the gazelle. If only it were wounded and hidden, then corticosteroids would go into action to facilitate its recovery.

It is important to point out that between the basolateral and the central amygdala there are neurons interspersed with the neurotransmitter GABA that can stop the activation of the central amygdala. In the next article we will discuss methods of coping with stress “Stress management. Learn not to increase stress from neuroscience “, we will talk deeply about it.

And in the most human part? How do we influence the fear system?

What has been seen so far is valid for humans also. We have already introduced it when talking about the parasympathetic autonomic nervous system.

The difference is in the higher prevalence of the prefrontal cortex (PFC). With which we think and direct attention. The one that differentiates us in more or less extention from the other mammals.

Thanks to the PFC, humans do not distinguish between what we perceive, what we imagine or remember. That is, the signals that reach the amygdala often have internal origin or, at least, are interpreted by the PFC.

With high worry, self-demand and perfectionism (when all details are very important), with the interpretation of situations, we can focus on exaggerated dangers, which are only in our mind. We self-generate fear and start the ‘flighting’ side of the threat system. On the other hand, wanting to achieve very high and short-term results, we see obstacles in the way and put ourselves in a position of ‘fighting’ towards others.

Then, with attention and thought we may activate the central amygdala and the sympathetic nervous system and brake the parasympathetic one.

Also, when we put ourselves in ‘flighting’ mode we do not run away. Why run? There is no a lion by there.

And stress appears. Tachycardia and dilated pupils, in a continuous state of alertness (very active sympathetic system) and feelings of suffocation, dry mouth, difficulty sleeping, digestive problems (parasympathetic system slow down).

When stress is persistent, long-lasting, anxiety appears. With the fast and slow pathways (cortisol) permanently working.

By putting ourselves in a fighting position, we do release energy. This is why sport works to reduce stress.

Some humans with great tendency to ‘fight’, do not accumulate stress because they expel all of it. Great for them and worse for the people nearby.

But it is not usual. After all, the fight and flight brain pathways are the same.

What is our specific case? Do we need to reduce stress because we tend to increase it ourselves?

We imagine that now there is little doubt as to how stress is generated and that, in many cases, the main source may be internal. And that, in general, for good management rather than thinking about reducing stress, it is more efficient to try not to increase it.

It is important to emphasize that not all brains and human bodies are equally sensitive to stress. Consequently, not everyone has the same need to manage it, because we do not feel it with the same intensity. Some people are more resilient and are less affected by external stressors.

In those who do feel stress intensely, often an important error happens: We try to manage it with thought, with the PFC. And, then, being so aware of the body sensations and by worrying, the result is the opposite to the desired one.

Well, considering the neurological basis of stress, in the next article we will look for ideas to manage it. To not increase stress or to reduce stress.

But, always the first step is awareness. With NeuroQuotient it is easy to detect the greater or lesser level of stress, the greater or lesser resilience, the tendency to fight or to flight and find ways, new neuro behaviors, to manage stress. It is about developing self-leadership.



MBTI Indicator. Myers-Briggs Psychological Types (tools 7)

The Myers-Briggs personality types indicator it’s a good issue to restart the series about the tools used in coaching and psychology. We’ll review the origins and structure of the MBTI personality model. We can learn about the Myers-Briggs indicator to identify which MBTI personality type is the nearest to each one of us. Also, we will soon compare it with NeuroQuotient , as we have done with the DISC personality model.

Introduction to the MBTI indicator

The MBTI indicator it is the one that most clearly represents a ‘personality type’ model.

Continue reading “MBTI Indicator. Myers-Briggs Psychological Types (tools 7)”

ADHD in High-IQ children and neuroscience. Overcoming the Attention Deficit Disorder (series ADHD-1)

A post about the ADHD, attention deficit disorder, in children with a high IQ (Intelligence Quotient) help to us to approach this disorder with NeuroQuotient and to understand its neurological pathways. When we understand what happens in the brain, we can design strategies to overcome it in a functional way. Then, these people can take advantage of their high potential.

Since a long time we have been interested in the neurological foundations of ADHD (attention deficit disorder). This interest was previous to the NeuroQuotient® creation. More in cases where it is related to a high intelligence quotient, IQ, (gifted people). And, moreover, when there is no physical hyperactivity (ADD without H).

Anyway, although more focused on these points of interest, what is dealt with in this post is valid for the ADHD in a whole way. Above all, with regard to the brain structures that influence the attention deficit disorder, and how the neuro tool helps us to understand them and to think of ways of coping.

We have already approached on the ADD, Attention Deficit Disorder, when talking about the timeline in the brain.

But now, we have just found a post from 2011 by Thomas E. Brown, totally relevant. It will be very helpful for approaching directly the subject. The mysteries of ADHD and high IQ.

The article is from 2011, but nonetheless it is very interesting as a starting point for reflection and to connect the ADD (attention deficit disorder) with its brain foundations.

In this post, the author tell us about a study conducted with 117 gifted people, children and adolescents, with a high IQ and diagnosed with ADHD (both with hyperactivity and without hyperactivity).

What are the most frequent symptoms in ADHD (attention deficit disorder)?

Before summarizing the article it is worth to remember some of the symptoms that occur with ADD in the school:


  • Difficulty in keeping the attention on work;
  • Struggling to do the work properly.
  • Difficulty to keep in mind what they have heard or read.
  • Difficulty to organize and complete what is assigned to them.
  • Procrastination is also very common.

These symptoms are attributed to a certain vulnerability in executive functions. Those of the prefrontal cortex (CPF).

What happens in gifted children with ADD (attention deficit disorder)? How do they evolve in adolescence and later?

Brown speaks us about 5 points that the parents and the teachers find and which are confirmed in their study. We completely agree all of them:

1. In most of the studied cases there is no hyperactivity. That is, it is about ADD (attention deficit disorder. Not about ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).
2. ADDs children can have a high IQ (Intelligence quotient). In fact, it is the premise of the study. That is to say, they do not lack mental abilities, but they have difficulties to take advantage of them to do the work in an effective way.
3. Many gifted children are successful students in elementary school and fail recurrently in the high school. Some do not start having problems until college.

In fact, often they arrive further depending on the support of the parents in helping them to prioritize, plan and follow up to complete the work.

4. All the participants in the study have some activity in which they do not present any difficulty to exercise successfully their prefrontal executive functions.

It is why, the most respond: “If something really interests me, I can keep the focus. But, if I do not find it really interesting, then I can’t. Even if it’s important and I need to do it. ”

5. Can it be overcome in adulthood? In 80% of cases, the basic problem persists. But, some surpass it. Some because, simply, they have a delay of 2-3 years in the cortical development and as they grow the problem disappears. Others outgrow it with medication.

Anyway, in many cases, while remaining the difficulties, they have a good incorporation to the labor world. This is because they specialize in jobs that are interesting to them, and they perform them successfully.

How does neuroscience help us to better understand what happens with ADD (attention deficit disorder)?

But, we have to remember that the purpose of this paper is to connect Brown’s conclusions with the brain foundations, taking advantage of the knowledge of neuroscience that is acquired with the certification in NeuroQuotient®.

Broadly, we agree the Brown’s approach. However, we think he simplifies too much concerning to the brain bases. He centers all the problems on the difficulties of certain prefrontal functions. Let’s see why we think in this way:

In point 5, Brown talks about medication. Specifically, of the medication with dopamine enhancers.

Certainly, dopamine is the central neurotransmitter of the brain reward system. The reward system favors behaviors by rewarding them with pleasure. Although -it worth to remember- dopamine does not produce pleasure.

There are three important dopamine pathways in the brain.

One of them is the mesocortical. It goes from the ventral tegmental area (VTA) in the mesencephalon to the prefrontal cortex. This pathway favors focus and attention. If there is not enough mesocortical dopamine, there are difficulties in some prefrontal functions. What Brown tells us: prefrontal vulnerability.

But, the other two pathways are also very important and the consequences of the lack of dopamine in ADD (attention deficit disorder) are also glimpsed, albeit indirectly, in Brown’s post.

On the one hand, the so-called mesolimbic route. It goes from the mesencephalon (the same VTA) to a limbic area of the brain (the nucleus accumbens). This is the one that is involved in motivation. In the desire. In point 4, Brown says that when something really motivates them they do it, without presenting problems of concentration.

In ADD (attention deficit disorder, there is not only vulnerability in the prefrontal zone (mesocortical pathway), but also in the limbic part of the brain involved in the approach motivation (mesolimbic pathway).

Our point of view is that the lack of motivation lies, also, in the general deficit of the dopaminergic system. There is also little mesolimbic dopamine. When the interest increases, motivation and concentration grow at the same time. Therefore, by potentiating dopamine with medication, motivation and concentration increase simultaneously. So, that’s why, to overcome the problem it, also, makes sense to look for ways to influence on endogenous dopamine.

The third dopaminergic pathway is the one that goes from the ‘substantia nigra’ -in the mesencephalon, also- to the dorsal striatum and is related to habits. Because of this, they also have difficulty in creating habits. Problem that underlies, mainly, in the little capacity to organize themselves.

Complementing the medication, in childhood and pre-adolescence, with a support aimed at the creation of habits, is a great help to achieve a functional ADD later on.

Overcoming the ADD (attention deficit disorder) means that these people generate the resources that allow them to take advantage of their great potential. NeuroQuotient helps us to understand it.

In 80% of cases, ADD is difficult to overcome in adulthood, but it is not so difficult to reach a functional ADD. Even with great success. Where is the key?

NeuroQuotient explains it to us.

Before, remembering that the neuro tool should not be used to diagnose psychological disorders. However, it is an indicator of some of them when some of the limitations (gray bars) are large; when they are in the last frame.

Let’s look at the case of two people with a high IQ index. One with functional ADD and the other does not. In the following image we compare the graphs.

ADHD in High-IQ children and neuroscience. Overcoming the Attention Deficit Disorder
Higher level of self-leadership in functional ADD. It is seen in a greater efficiency A2 (higher tangible results, greater self-assurance) and lower limitation I2 (higher self-esteem).

In both we see that the limitation A1, which points to ADD (attention deficit disorder), is very high.

The difference between functional ADD (right) and non-functional ADD (left) is in the greater self-confidence acquired with the achievement of tangible results (higher green bar). And in the subsequent higher self-esteem (smaller gray I2 bar).

Overall, the NQ index that measures the level of self-leadership (how high are the efficiencies and how low are the limitations) is clearly superior with functional ADD. 71.9 versus 51.0.

How to focus development? The neuro tool explains it to us.

What is the way for development? The key is that we focus on a topic of interest (motivator) that, at the same time, provides us valuable tangible results. The achievement of results will help us to increase self-confidence and self-motivation.

So, we’ll It break the cycle of frustration derived of moving by impulses to non-valuable purposes, and with a scattered mind. One key is to stop the search of the immediate reward. (Do you remember the marshmallow test?)

Organization, working with method, logically, also helps to avoid dispersion and the achievement of results. That’s why, a support to generate these habits, as soon as possible, is very important.

Gifted children do not need organization and method to overcome challenges at school. They supplement it with their intelligence. However, as they grow up, when the difficulties become greater, they find that they have not generated the resources (organizational habits) that the rest of us mortals use.

Neuroscience of perception and brain structure of time line (neuroscience and NLP-2)

We will continue to deepen on how the brain structures the time line. In the previous post we dealt with the time line in NLP. That is, how we connect present, past (memory) and future (imagination). Now we will raise the neuroscience of how the brain structures this time line. What happens in the brain in the two most frequent types of time line? We will also see how to take advantage of the two types of brain structure of time line: ‘through time’ and ‘in time’.

First, it is important that we are clear about what with the brain structure of time line, or the time line in the brain, we are referring to how our mind organizes the events of the past (memory), present and future (imagination).

On the other hand, we know that our brain does not distinguish between what it perceives directly from what it remembers or imagines. This is because the brain substrates of perception in the present, memory and imagination are the same.

Continue reading “Neuroscience of perception and brain structure of time line (neuroscience and NLP-2)”

The NLP Time line (Neuroscience and NLP series – 1)

The NLP time line we could say that is the result of how we structure the perception of time in the brain.

How can the NLP time line help us?What is our type of the NLP time line?Is it worth changing it?

Neuroscience and NLP series – Neuro-linguistic Programming

Some time ago I had a lot of interest in approaching the NLP Time Line. It is a good topic to start a series of articles relating NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming) with neuroscience and the fundamentals of behaviour in the brain.

NLP talks about brain software, about mental programs. Would it be interesting to connect this software with the hardware? That is, to link the programs with the brain substrates; with neuroscience. In this way, we could better understand the brain foundations of behaviour.

This is something that Neuroquotient® can do for us.To see it, we will start, then, by connecting the NLP time line with the brain.

A model within NLP. The NLP Time line

We could say that Neurolinguistic Programming is constituted by a series of techniques and models for personal development and improvement.Techniques derived from modeling experts with special success in these fields.

One of these models and / or techniques is the NLP Time line.

In a simple way, the NLP time line deals with how the brain organizes events (past, present and future).If the human brain can remember, perceive and imagine, it must somehow organize itself to distinguish one thing from another.

Our first foray into NLP in 2001 (just before training as a Practitioner) was through the book ‘ Introduction to NLP’ by Joseph O’Connor and John Seymour . They make reference to the NLP time line quoting the book ‘ Time line Therapy and the Basis of Personallity ‘ by Tad James and Wyatt Woodsmall.

An exercise to determine the type of our NLP Time line

Then, in the NLP workshop, they asked us to conduct an exercise to help us figure out our NLP Time line.

The exercise is about remembering and imagine several situations and then they try to see where our images are placed in the space outside us.

A guide to find these pictures in our memory and imagination can be as follows:

‘Remember a breakfast when you went to the elementary school.

Then, remember a breakfast during the last holidays

Think of breakfast this morning.

Imagine having a breakfast during the next holidays.

Finally, imagine a breakfast when you are very old, after retiring.

It is very likely that for each situation you see an image, where are these images placed?

Before going on reading, we could spend some time doing this exercise.In this way we won’t be conditioned by the explanations that follow.The exercise will be useful to know in what type of the NLP time line we are.

Doing the previous exercise and after reading the text that follows, we can answer the question What type of the NLP time line we get closer?

The two most frequent types of the NLP time lines: ‘through time’ and ‘in time’

Tad James describes two most common types of NLP time line:

‘through time’ and ‘in time’

PNL y la linea del tiempo
Left ‘through time’: projecting and perceiving past present and future at the same time. Right ‘in time’ the moment in which the mind is focused (past, present or future) in the foreground prevents perceiving the rest.

In the first case (‘through time’) people perceive the images forming a more or less opened parable. With the present in front, and near, of the person, the past to the left and the future to the right.Past and future more distant the further away the present moment is.

In the second case (‘in time’) the future is what we can perceive in front and the past behind.

Since the first time I did the exercise, we have asked many people around us to do it.We find two types of perceptions of the NLP time line that, we might say, are very majority.

A perception, ‘through time’, exactly as described by Tad James. (‘over time’)Images in front of the person, arranged along a parabola.

And another perception when people can only see an image at the same time and in front of us. As if we had a collection of photos and we were seeing them one by one. The one in view hides the others. It is not identical to what Tad James describes, but we will call this type of perception in the same way, ‘in time’.

Influence on behaviour of the time perception according the NLP time line.

Do the types of time perception regarding the NLP time line influence the way each person behaves?

We could say, without being afraid to be wrong, that yes.

We can observe that people with perception ‘through time’ have a greater tendency to structure thoughts and to establish causal connections (influence of the past, in the present and the future).They tend to plan and usually have a high motivation for studying and learning.It seems logical, learning helps to feel prepared to face the uncertainty of the future.

Conversely, people with perception ‘in time’, have a higher focus to the present and they easily jump from one idea to another, with a tendency to lateral thinking. They are more motivated by creative tasks and by the variety of them.In addition, they express their thoughts more spontaneously.

Now we can check if our neuro behaviours are according with the type of the NLP time line that we have identified with the previous exercise.

From now on we can open many questions up:

What are the brain fundamentals of the NLP time line?

What type is better for each one of us?Is it worth changing?

How could we improve, if we believe it necessary?

In the next post we can see the possible answers that we can find to move forward together.

DISC model and DISC personality assessment tools for development (tools 5)

The DISC personality assessment tools, based on the DISC model, are the most used coaching tools. So that we can understand them better, we will begin by reviewing the DISC model created by William Moulton Marston . We will also take advantage of this to highlight the difference between a personality model as DISC model and the assessment tools derived from it.

DISC model and DISC personality

DISC personality assessment tools, the most extended and used in coaching and development of people

We continue, then, this series on tools for coaching with the DISC personality evaluation tools because they are, by far, the most used in the development of personal leadership.

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Coaching tools for the leadership development

DISC, Insights discovery, MBTI, etc.

Introduction. Personality models of personality ‘types’ and ‘traits’

Herramientas de coaching

Which tool is more helpful for you to accompany the client’s development?

During the following articles we will be commenting on different coaching tools typically used in the accompaniment towards personal improvement. Either to facilitate self-knowledge or awareness of strengths and improvement opportunities; and the focusing on development processes.

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