Understanding the brain lee herman - 4-26-14

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Understanding the brain lee herman - 4-26-14

  1. 1. Understanding how the Brain works can make you a better Lawyer! Presented By: Lee Herman Esq. 4/25/14
  2. 2. Questions I will attempt to answer  Why does your brain hijack your behavior?  How are habits formed and changed?  Why don’t I binge on celery?  What effect does your emotional state have on your ability to be a good lawyer?  What is the natural response of adipose tissue stimulated by the limbic system during periods of high emotional stress?  Why do some lawyers slow down at 60 while others are sharp as a tack at 85?  What can you do to leverage your brain for better outcomes?  Can I repair the damage I did to my brain during my drugging and drinking days?  Why are my keys so hard to find?
  3. 3. It’s your Brain’s Fault
  4. 4. http://youtu.be/G-lN8vWm3m0
  5. 5. Anecdote
  6. 6. Your brain has billions of connections: 100 billion neurons, each with 7,000 synaptic connections to other neurons. Neurons create and transmit signals using neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin.
  7. 7. Everyday Strategies for Lawyers (cont’d) 4. UNDERSTAND HOW YOUR BRAIN’S HARDWIRING IMPACTS YOU AND YOUR ACTIONS.  The Mission Critical Operating Principal Of Your Brain: Protect you from danger/keep you physically safe.  Your Vision Trumps All other Senses.  We are attracted to unusual items in our environment.  Arousal from danger is stronger than reward from good. WE WALK TOWARDS BUT RUN AWAY!  ALL OF THIS HAPPENS IN MICROSECONDS, BEFORE WE ARE CONSCIOUSLY AWARE OF WHAT OUR BRAIN IS DOING.  The Fight or Flight Reaction  Lymbic arousal: Emotions up, reasoning down.  Takes thought away from the Pre-Frontal Cortex, and control is hijacked to the limbic system.  Blood flows away from the brain towards our limbs so that we can get out of danger.
  8. 8. http://youtu.be/R4rMy1iA268
  9. 9. Pleasure Seeking (or Pain Avoidance) Neuronal Plasticity (Learning) + (Usually Bad) HABITS
  10. 10. Add A Little Craving and the Habit is Set! “Over time, this loop - cue, routine, reward; cue, routine, reward - becomes more and more automatic. The cue and reward become intertwined until a powerful sense of anticipation and craving emerges.” Dugigg, The Power of Habit”, p. 19.
  11. 11. Changing Your Brain With Drugs
  12. 12. Bad Habits Feed Themselves Confirmation Bias Fear Uncertainty Procrastination Failure Self Doubt You have a tendency to see data that confirms your beliefs and ignore information that conflicts with them.
  13. 13. The Bad Attorney Handbook Procrastination - #1 Bad Habit of Attorneys  Panic and fear are found in the reptilian part of the brain. (Lymbic system).  Analysis, judgment, problem solving, higher order thinking are found in the pre-frontal cortex.  Understand that the first reaction is like a fight or flight instinct; move the thinking to the pre-frontal cortex and solve the problem.
  14. 14. Neuroplasticity  Old view: Once the brain completes its development after childhood, it becomes physiologically static.  New view: Your brain can change based on behavior, environment and neural processes.  The physical structure can change (anatomy)  The functional organization can change (physiology)  Neurons that fire together, wire together.
  15. 15. What Habits Can You Identify?  Why the Brain Creates Automatic Routines:  Individual thoughts are processed in the Pre-Frontal Cortex (PFC) and require higher energy.  Learned routines are stored more efficiently in the basal ganglia (older “reptilian” part of the brain).
  16. 16. Recall How Habits are Formed Cue: A trigger which tells the brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Routine: Mental, physical or emotional action. Reward: Helps the brain determine whether to remember this loop in the future.
  17. 17. Changing Your Brain by Being Sober
  18. 18. Changing Your Brain By Sobriety
  19. 19. The Good Place Proactivity Success Self Belief Confidence Certainty
  20. 20. Everyday Strategies for Lawyers 1. AVOID DISTRACTIONS.  Takes lots of brain energy to stop a task and start up again.  Harder to recover focus after each distraction.  Distractions can be external (phone ringing, email arriving, people coming in to your office).  Distractions can be internal (your thoughts wandering). STRATEGY 1: Set up a distraction free zone. Create boundaries for staff and clients. (Don’t interrupt me between 10 and 11 unless it is an emergency) Close the door. Turn off your mobile and desk phones and internet. STRATEGY 2: Create a routine to veto impulses. When your mind begins to wander, have a specific plan to break the connection between the impulse & action. “When I start to think about anything other than my task at hand, I will clap my hands. Stand up and sit down.”
  21. 21. Everyday Strategies for Lawyers (cont’d) 2. CHANGE YOUR BRAIN: DEVELOP REPEATABLE ROUTINES.  Once a routine is learned (“embedded”), it does not require conscious thought.  Uses less processing energy because it does not require the use of the PFC (pre frontal cortex).  40 % of actions are not decisions but are habits. STRATEGY 1: Identify tasks which you can repeat often. If something is working, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Open files, respond to emails, return calls the same way. Complete tomorrow’s To-Do List before leaving today! STRATEGY 2: Make your schedule a routine. Create boundaries. Each work day should have a beginning and an end. Start each work day the same as the prior day. End each day the same way as the day prior. Build in scheduled times for responding to email, returning calls, “work blocks”, client meetings, staff meetings each day. Learn when your most productive times are and schedule blocks to do “brain intensive” work without interruption.
  22. 22. Everyday Strategies for Lawyers (cont’d) 3. TREAT YOUR BRAIN AS WELL AS YOUR OTHER ORGANS.  Brains require good nutrition. What is good for your heart is good for your brain. Cardiovascular disease can affect the brain.  Brains require oxygen. Aerobic exercise increases brain function.  Brains require rest. 8 hours of daily sleep will consolidate new learning. STRATEGY 1: Self Care: Use a Calendar. Schedule time for regular physical exercise and meditation. Remember that “you are what you eat” applies to your brain’s health, too! Keep track of your daily water; a brain that is not hydrated can not function. STRATEGY 2: Improve Your Brain’s Performance. Set and achieve measurable goals for improving your brain. Engage new brain connections: Learn a new skill such as a new language, or play a new instrument.
  23. 23. Everyday Strategies for Lawyers (cont’d) 4. THE REALITY IS, YOUR BRAIN WORKS THE WAY IT WORKS, AND NEEDS THE THINGS IT NEEDS. STRATEGY 1: Become Mindful Becoming aware that the brain has been hijacked by the limbic system actually restores some control in the PFC . See-Saw effect: increasing logical thought decreases emotional thought.. Name that emotion. Step away from the situation. STRATEGY 2: Plan Ahead. Plan ahead on how you will react to certain situations, so you can restore the logical and thoughtful part of the brain into control. Include others, if possible, in your planning.
  24. 24. Everyday Strategies for Lawyers (cont’d) 5. CHANGE YOUR BRAIN BY CHANGING YOUR HABITS. STRATEGY 1: Become Mindful Becoming aware that the brain has been hijacked by the limbic system actually restores some control in the PFC . See-Saw effect: increasing logical thought decreases emotional thought.. Name that emotion. Step away from the situation. STRATEGY 2: Plan Ahead. Plan ahead on how you will react to certain situations, so you can restore the logical and thoughtful part of the brain into control. Include others, if possible, in your planning.
  25. 25. Anecdote
  26. 26. Finding Flow – The peak of Brain Performance
  27. 27. Autobiography in 5 Chapters – Portia Nelson I I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost ... I am helpless. It isn't my fault. It takes me forever to find a way out.
  28. 28. II I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don't see it. I fall in again. I can't believe I am in the same place. But it isn't my fault. It still takes a long time to get out.
  29. 29. III I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall in ... it's a habit. My eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.
  30. 30. IV I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.
  31. 31. V I walk down another street.
  32. 32. Thank You! SelfAwareLawyer.com Lee’s Email Address etc.
  33. 33. The Story Arc Poem cred Your brain is Messed UP! But there is hope! Tools Techniques ETC

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