We know more today about how the brain works than ever before, and in addition to being extraordinarily interesting, our knowledge can help us have better work experiences every day.

You can use brain science to inform how you think, how you work and where you work. Being intentional about all of these can help you love what you do and be even more effective.

How You Think And Communicate

Go deep. In his book, The Shallows, Nicholas Carr demonstrates how our internet usage has rewired our brains. We think superficially, skimming, glancing and scanning rather than reading or processing more deeply. Cal Newport, in his book Deep Work, advocates for focusing, contemplating and concentrating. His contention is this distraction-free thinking has become increasingly rare and is a skill we must learn (or relearn). In fact, empathy—so critical to our humanity—is impossible without deeply considering others’ situations. And the ability to solve problems and develop ideas cannot happen effectively without depth of thought.

Tell stories. While communicating facts tends to engage limited portions of the brain, hearing a story engages multiple parts of the brain. One study in particular, using an MRI found participants had greater understanding and retention of concepts based on the engagement of multiple parts of the brain. Other researchers, including Dr. Paul Zak, have demonstrated hearing stories that include conflicts and meaningful characters tend to engage us emotionally. The resulting release of oxytocin leads us to trust the messages and morals the story is trying to convey.