February 26, 2015
A powerful tool for making progress in many situations in the perspective-change technique. This tool enables you to look at your situation from a third person perspective. In progress-focused coaching we use this principle by asking perspective-change questions. An example of such a question is: "How would other people notice your situation will have improved?" In this article I describe evidence for the motivating effect of visualizing such a third person perspective. In this article I describe how you can use perspective changes to prepare for difficult conversations. A new publication demonstrates that it is easier to come to wise judgments when taking a third person perspective.
February 23, 2015
Previously I wrote about the emerging research into the health benefits of MM. That MM has health benefits has become clear from overview studies like this one and this one. There is also research which shows that MM leads to structural (anatomic) changes in the brain, such as this study (thickening of the right insula and somatosensoric cortex), this study (forming of gyri), this study (higher density of grey matter in the hippocampus, the posterior cingulate cortex, de temporo-parietal junction and the cerebellum), this study (looser connections between the dmPFC and the insula and amygdala). Also, there is research which shows that MM reduces blood pressure and the experience of stress. Taken together, studies such as these suggest that MM causes all sorts of good things to happen but there is no clear overarching theory about how MM triggers these positive effects.
February 22, 2015
An interesting new article by Maria Popova (photo) contains some valuable insights. One phrase which struck me was: "The assumptions people make about the motives of others always reveal a great deal more about the assumers than the assumed-about." Another one which I like is: "But evil only prevails when we mistake it for the norm."
February 20, 2015
February 19, 2015
February 16, 2015
here, here, and here). In my review of Erik Scherder's book Laat je hersenen niet zitten I summarized the benefits of walking as he describes them. Daily moderately intensive physical activity, for at least half an hour, not only contributes to a better physical health but also to keeping your brain healthy. It helps to improve cognitive functioning and delays and often decreases brain related diseases. Scherder quotes research which shows that the benefits of physical activity have mainly been demonstrated for people who have not yet been affected by brain disorders and diseases. For people who do already have these kinds of problems there is much less evidence, in some cases because little relevant research has been done, in other cases because the findings of studies which have been done are varied and inconclusive.
February 14, 2015
February 8, 2015
In my book Progressiegericht werken I conjecture that we can make meaningful progress into old age. I think that we can do a number of things which can increase the chance of ageing vitally. In other words, that we can keep a relatively clear and sharp mind, that we can stay relatively physically fit, and the we can keep enjoying ourselves and stay motivated. If my conjecture turns out to be right that will be very nice. Then, we will not only have been able to add 10 years, on average to our lives, over the last 50 years. We also will be ale to use these years well and live relatively happily.
February 6, 2015
Leaders don't always find it easy to be clear about their expectations of employees. This may be due to the fact that they don't want to be authoritarian or to the fact that, in the past, they may have had some negative reactions from employees when they tried to be clear about their expectations. As a coach I once got a request from a manager to coach one of his team members. I asked what his goal was for the coaching and he responded in what I thought were vague terms. I do not remember precisely what he said -it was nearly 15 years ago- but I got the impression that the coaching was entirely intended to be for the benefit of the team member and that the manager did not have any specific expectations of the coaching himself.
February 5, 2015
In psychology we have discovered that people continuously search for explanations for what happens in their lives. This process, which is called attribution, often happens unconsciously. When people think that causes of what happened and of their own behaviors lie outside of themselves, we speak of external attribution. When they think causes lie within themselves we speak of internal attribution. How people attribute influences both how they view themselves and they choices they make and, because of that, how they will develop.
February 2, 2015
The discovery of how great the plasticity of the human brain is is important and useful for everyone. We all have the capacity to keep developing our brains and this capacity remains into old age. Why this important for everybody is because what we do and how we live continuously influences how our brains stay vital and keep developing. Some ways of living can increase our chances of developing brain diseases and problems while other ways of living decrease these chances. As I wrote in this review of Erik Scherder's book, Laat je hersenen niet zitten, physical activity and cognitive challenge contribute to keeping your brain vital and healthy. The combination of these two activities promotes, among other things, the growth of new neurons, the survival of these new neurons, and the development of new connections between neurons.