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Neuroscience for Managing Change – It is not about cultivating resilience

Our brain is not hardwired for change.

If anything, the brain is actually wired to resist change. However, the brain will adapt to change at any cost due to neuroplasticity (the ability of the nervous system to change its activity in response to stimuli by reorganising its structure, functions, or connections).

However, the process of adaptation could represent a very high price to pay to the brain and the body of individuals. It could result on “maladaptive plasticity”, such as stress, anxiety, addiction, demotivation, etc. From an organisational perspective this bad adaptation could lead to lack of creativity, innovation, risk taking, major financial losses and failure in achieving results from a proposed change. 

During the last 10 years a vast amount of literature have been written about how to promote resilience to facilitate the adaptation of change, however sometimes excess amount of resilience in individuals and organisations could actually lead to “maladaptive plasticity” as even thought resilient individuals are able to “bounce back” and positively adapt to change; their brains and bodies still have a high price to pay for the adaptation and in fact they are at higher risk of permanently remain in the “highs” of threat and reward rather than allowing the natural flow of high and lows to harmonically to coexist in individuals and organisations.

Latest brain research agrees that fluctuations in the brain and heart activity are associated to good health, high performance, creations of new thoughts, memories and high level of focus and concentration and therefore is a brain friendly way to facilitate the adaptation to change and to avoid the “maladaptive plasticity”

Fluctuations are the result of exposure to different mental states, thoughts, emotions, behaviours, actions, nutrition and general health.  More than ever, it is important to create environments that supports moderate levels of disruption, brief periods of stress followed by periods of calmness and reflections or peak levels of anticipation and excitement followed by periods of enjoyment at the present moment and pleasure rather than “only” focus on resilience.

The fast speed that changes occur at in modern life and the continuous and constant change that organisations currently are facing, narrows the variety of exposure to fluctuations and especially “resilient” individuals.

During times of change, it is very common for stakeholders and even resilient individuals to pay a high price for the adaptation to change, such as increase in cynicism, chronic stress, demotivation, seeking behaviours, addiction or decrease in levels of performance among others due to “maladaptive plasticity”.

PEPE© neuroscience model offers a structured and strategic solution to individuals and organisation to build resilience, engagement and wellbeing during times of change and transformation. What to know more?

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