Conditional Love: I Can´t Say No

The inability to say "no" or handle negative feedback are often the result of conditional love.

Conditional Love - I can´t say NOWhat is conditional love

Someone who is very close to you, like your life partner or parents, keeps giving you the feeling that you have to behave in a certain way or achieve certain results to deserve to be loved. They punish you by (playing to) taking their love away if you do not comply.

It´s emotional blackmail and very unhealthy as it harms a person severely and haunts them for the rest of their lives - or until they take action to remove the damage.

What are the effects of conditional love?

Very often victims of conditional love also have enormous problems in their careers. They take criticism personally, and it´s devastating for them. After all, they have been conditioned to believe that they are only worth being loved if they fulfill the conditions. When they were young criticism used to be very personal.

If you criticize anything about them, they understand: I say "no" to you. I don´t love you. You´re no good.

Consequently, they fear that if they say "no" they might lose the person they reject. And they think they hurt the other person way worse than they actually do.

I have been exposed to conditional love by my parents as well. Probably because I started reading pretty heavy (intellectual) books at the age of 9, it could not harm me in that way. I understood that someone was trying to manipulate me and that it was to my disadvantage.

But I showed an adverse reaction too. I did not listen to authority and orders. I investigated every order and everything someone told me:
- what´s their motivation
- what´s their agenda
- does it make sense

Only if I was ok with the motive, I did or accepted something. You can imagine that this is not a great attitude when it comes to attending school. I did not attend classes I felt made no sense. At the age of 12, I stopped having notebooks.

I always had the reputation of being very intelligent; that´s probably why the school never called the police on me for staying away. I don´t think that this is the case by the way. When you ask a lot of questions, you are automatically perceived as intelligent.

Learn to say "no."

As you all know, I do not believe in psychologists very much. I do believe in neuroscience. While you were exposed to conditional love, neural networks have formed in your brain.
Learn to say NO

Our brain has the job to protect us from harm and pain. It tells us to remove ourselves from dangerous situations (danger = can hurt or kill). That applies to emotional pain as well.

So if our boss tells us "You did not do that task right," in most cases all he means is: "You did not do that task right." But you might react as back then when you were a kid. When "not right" meant = you do not deserve my love.

That might cause you to overreact in a way that can lead to a problematic situation and disadvantages.

The best thing about our brain and the neural networks is: They might be stubborn, but they can be retrained. At any age.

I do not need to tell you that it is necessary and healthy to say "no." The intellectual part of your brain knows that. Just you react before you have the chance to evaluate a particular situation.

Nobody who loves you will stop loving you for rejecting a task or being of a different opinion. In your career, as a grown up, you are expected to set boundaries and signal when you cannot take on additional tasks.

People who cannot take criticism well or create drama are not very well received. So if you feel that your individual situation can be improved - get started right away. The damage of being exposed to conditional love can be reversed. Feel free to contact me for support.

Check if one of those applies to you:
- Criticism hurts me deeply
- I often do things for others I don´t want to do
- I take on extra tasks I do not want to do
- Sometimes I think "Why did I say that?/Do that?"
- Saying "no" is very hard for me

Many more helpful posts can be found in the blog archive (on the side), and you can also use the "search" function.

You can learn more about the impact and long-term consequences of pain on your brain in this free training:

All success posts: HERE

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Foods That Make You More Productive

Food influences how much you get done

My last posts were about goal-setting and how to achieve more by having the right mindset and attitude. 

As pointed out in my articles

the role of nutrition should not be underestimated when it comes to productivity. Just like bad fuel will make your car run slower or even damage the engine, your food choices have a huge impact on your productivity and finally your level of success. 

Actually, that is a pretty good comparison - we all now what happens when you put sugar in the tank of your car (;

One of the first things I read in the news this morning is that McDonalds Japan is releasing a 48-Chicken McNuggets Menu in Japan. Facebook suggest as "trending news" that Pringles will add some holiday flavors. 

One of the sites I follow posted about dangerous ingredients in "Fruit Loops" (surprise.....). It seems that the awareness for the importance of eating "good" foods is still not at the level I would wish for. 

But when I checked my email a friendly reader of my blog had sent me this awesome picture that I need to share with you: 

Productivity is Served: Get More Done When You Eat These Foods

Related posts:

GMO Danger: Foods to avoid
5 Facts about healthy weight and obesity that will surprise you
The 5 best protein sources for Vegetarians

For all health- and nutrition related posts click HERE

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4 Tips for Uncluttering your Mind

How to unclutter your mind

4 Easy Tips for Efficiency

4 Tips for Uncluttering your MindYou probably have heard those tips for uncluttering your mind before. But while many people feel stressed, only very few follow these tips in everyday life.

It is easy to lose the overview and keep your mind fresh. Every year, new communication devices crawl into our lives. In addition to our phones, we now have smartphones. We receive emails, text messages, video calls and spend a lot of time in company intranets and on social media.

New tasks are assigned to us via project management or workflow tools at a higher speed than ever before. Even the energy we use for sorting out irrelevant messages is immense.

While nobody expected us to react immediately when he sent us a letter, immediate reaction and action is expected after sending an email.

In the past, we had one conversation at a time. Especially at the workplace, we are involved in several conversations at the same time.

For our brains, this accumulation represents a challenge.

Reason enough to have a look at the newest neurological studies. I have summarized the best tips for you:

Keeping things tidy

How to Unclutter your MindI am sure you heard statements similar to: "Who holds order is just to lazy to search". "A genius reigns the chaos".

While that might be true for geniuses for the rest of us it is not. Keeping things in order and tidy helps us to focus better.

A study published in the Journal of Neuroscience explained that a tidy workplace is less frustrating and tiring than an untidy one.

Frustration and tiredness decrease your ability to concentrate and increase your level of susceptibility to errors.

Also, many people believe that the state of your workplace reflects the state of your mind.

Conclusion: Keep your workplace tidy and in order because it is good for your ability to focus and concentrate.

Sleep enough

Do you sometimes give in to a craving for sweets? If you give in to a temptation or not depends on your level of self-control.

Just like a battery gets weaker, your amount of self-control decreases during the day. Sleeping recharges your "battery". The more rested you are the higher your level of self-control will be.

Most people, especially those in managerial positions, do not sleep enough. Do you know how much sleep you need to recover? If not use the next extended weekend to find out. Go to bed as soon as you get tired and do not set an alarm.

Conclusion: The importance of a sufficient amount of sleep cannot be stressed enough. It is the basic prerequisite for staying physically and mentally healthy and delivering our best performance.

Green environment

Identify Sources of Stress

Spend your lunch break in a nice park or if possible in the countryside. That implies you do take breaks... Hint: A lunch with a customer is not a break (;

Our brain cannot relax in busy, loud or crowded environments. Researchers found that a walk in the park changes your brain patterns to "relaxed state". 

Conclusion: Take breaks in quiet places, ideally in nature. Most of the time, taking breaks pays off by increasing your effectiveness.

Identify sources of stress

Our surroundings can be a source of stress without us being aware of it. Do you in example look up every time someone walks past your office door? This reduces your ability to concentrate. 

Often it is small things that stress us that we do not recognize as stress factors. Therefore, it is important that we identify and eliminate stress factors in our environment. 

Small changes can go a long way and relieve our brain big time.

I noticed that a stress factor for me was checking my cell phone whenever a message came in. Even when I was in the middle of something else. I stressed myself and lost time picking up the thread where I left off. 

Conclusion: Identify sources of stress and apply strategies to reduce them.

If you feel tired and weak after work try one or the other tip. A small change can make a big difference. 

What are your stress factors?

Related reads: 

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Foods that Boost your Brainpower

Foods to Boost your BrainpowerHealthier Brain - Healthier You

Nutrition plays a vital role in our mental and physical health. The brain needs nutrients like any other organ in our body to function.

We have looked at foods that can damage your brain. Now we are going to look at some foods that boost your brainpower.

Mother nature provides everything we need to stay healthy and fit.


Nuts have proteins which aid in building and repairing our body tissues. All kinds of nuts are known to contain phytosterols, antioxidants and unsaturated fats like omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty acids are essential for normal functioning of the brain.

Nuts are a good source of neuroprotective compounds as well as minerals, melatonin, folate, antioxidants and vitamin E which improve the brainpower.

People under a lot of stress can benefit from consuming nuts. Also, research has shown that especially walnuts improve brain health by improving inferential reasoning in children.

Nuts should be eaten in moderation and raw. If possible chose organic nuts. Nuts are not a low calorie food.

Let´s put the spotlight on one of my second favorite nuts:


Cashews contain minerals such as zinc and magnesium - excellent brain-boosters. Magnesium is vital because it has been shown to improve learning skills and regulate sleeping patterns. Zinc is beneficial for the brain because low levels of the mineral can cause depression.

Cashews also contain vitamin B (thiamine), which has shown to boost  better moods in women and mental energy and better moods in women, in addition, vitamin E when in low levels is linked to poor cognition.

Vegetables and Fruits in general

Vegetables and fruits help to remove free radicals from our body because they are good sources of antioxidants and they help in improving our brainpower.

Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli and cauliflower) are the vegetables that boost the brain power big time. They contain choline (a vitamin B) that known for supporting brain development.

Fruits and vegetables also contain antioxidants like zeaxanthin and lutein, which protect the body against the ultraviolet rays and also boost your brainpower.

Some of us are not very fond of veggies and fruits but increasing your brainpower is a pretty great argument, right?

Whole Grain

Eating whole grains will help in supplying energy to the brain. To be able to focus on our daily activities, we need a steady and adequate supply of energy which is transported as glucose from our bloodstream to the brain.

The vital point is to ensure that natural whole grain are consumed as the essential vitamins and minerals are not present in refined grains, thereby making the grain not to boost our brain power.

Read HERE why grains should still be consumed in moderation.


Lycopene is a color pigment and antioxidant present in tomatoes; it supports the brain function by removing free radicals that take part in the  development of dementia.

Coconut Oil

Glucose is the primary fuel our brain needs for energy. Moreover, our brain can run on more than two types of fuel, one being ketoacids or ketones (ketone bodies), Ketones are a by-product of fat when glucose is converted to energy by the process known as ketosis.

Coconut oil is such a versatile product with nearly unlimited benefits that I have dedicated a separate article to it. Read HERE


Celery is a good source of luteolin, a plant compound that calm inflammation in our brain. Inflammation is a main cause of neurodegeneration.

Experiments have shown that Luteolin can cause lower rates of memory loss in mice, and older mice that consume foods supplemented with luteolin improve on memory and learning tasks. Peppers and carrots are also good sources of luteolin.

The great thing is that people who make changes to their diet notice the extra power and that they can concentrate better within days.

Other nutrition and health related posts HERE

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Avoiding Job Burnout – What you need to know

Job Burnout Signs / Recovery / How to Avoid

Avoiding Job BurnoutJob burnout or the burnout syndrome has become a widespread disease in the industrialized world. Since 1990, the number of sick leaves for emotional distress has more than doubled. Job stress has been declared one of the biggest threats of the century by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Competing for attention in a world of electronic and "social" media adds to the problem.

Even though performance-oriented people are most likely to suffer from a burnout it is not just a "manager problem". A burnout can hit anyone. People with the helper syndrome are also vulnerable for burnouts.

The number of job burnouts is constantly increasing. Many people underestimate the danger of this condition. Also, men often feel embarrassed to admit to themselves and others that they might need help. "I do not have time for this." "I cannot afford a time-out at this point of my career." "I am not mental."

Especially people who are worried about their careers should take action at the first signs of a potential burnout. The soul always strikes back when ignored. Even harder. 

Burnout is a serious disease. But it is often perceived as a "get your act together" type of thing. Even depression, a condition 5 % of people are suffering from, is often not accepted by society as a serious disease. As always, acceptance is a matter of awareness and awareness requires information. 

Job burnouts do not happen overnight. In a slow process, they creep into our lives. Let´s shed some light on
  • What is a burnout
  • Why does it happen
  • What are the symptoms
  • How can I prevent a burnout
  • How can I find out if I am at risk
  • Recovery from burnout

A Burnout is a serious condition. This information does not contain medical advice and it does not replace a doctor's visit. The information in this article is for information purposes only and must not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. 

Job Burnout Definition

While a job burnout often is accompanied by depression it is not the same, opposite to common belief.
  • The majority of burnouts are related to the job, but burnouts also happen to unemployed people.
  • A burnout just like the word says describes the feeling of being burnt out physically and emotionally. 
  • A burnout happens in various creeping phases. 

A lot of helpful books have been written on the topic.

What causes it?

Is burning out a matter of our personality or of our circumstances? Or is it a combination of both?

Some experts are of the opinion that burnouts are solely caused by external factors like stress and pressure at the workplace. 

The progression of the disease is influenced by the personality traits, but the origin and cause are external factors. 

Reasons for non-job-related burnouts include:
  • Stalking
  • Unemployment
  • Chronic stress (i.e. financial trouble over a longer period of time)

The common reasons for job burnouts are:
  • Stress caused by constant pressure though deadlines and challenging goals
  • Fear of job loss
  • Lack of recognition at the workplace
  • Mobbing
  • Inability to work in a team
  • Lack of positive feedback
  • Massed problems that are hard to influence
  • Pressure from superiors
  • Perfectionism
  • Administrative constrains
  • Excessive demands or too few demands
  • Missing agreement on objectives
  • Lack of resources (staff, budget)

Burnout Phases

Some experts divide the process into 5 phases, some experts into 3. Schaufeli, a renowned expert from the Netherlands, describes the three phases as follows:

Burnout Phase 1

Strong fluctuations in performance, motivation and power. Hyperactivity and total exhaustion take turns. 

Warning signals go unnoticed or are being ignored. During phase 1, a person continues to invest a maximum of energy into their tasks. In their time off, they continue to think about work. They feel the need to be efficient at all times and even in their spare time they continue their search for new ideas or a new solution for a problem. 

The line between work and time off fades. 

At first, they do not realize that missing recreational phases take their toll on the soul. Irritability, lack of patience, a more unpalatable tone towards colleagues can be warning signals. 

Burnout Phase 2

In this phase the person concerned gets more dull. He removes himself more and more and focuses on his work and tasks. 

Resignation starts to spread. A decrease of motivation and driving force is in sight. The performance starts to decrease. Small tasks start to seem exhausting. 

Burnout Phase 3

In this last phase, the person concerned isolated themselves. At the same time, the performance decreases more and more. 

Decreasing performance results in even less positive feedback and that leads to a dangerous downward spiral. Tasks that used to be easy have become big chores that require huge amounts of energy.  

The person feels like there is no way out of this vicious cycle.

Job Burnout Symptoms

Burnout symptoms are manifold. 


  • Frustration
  • Feeling of guilt
  • The feeling of discouragement and indifference
  • Resistance to go to work
  • Distrust, mistrust, and paranoid ideas
  • Mood swings


  • Concentration disorders
  • Projections
  • Rigid thinking and resistance against change


  • Nervous tics like i.e. nail-biting, scratching
  • Tension


  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
  • Hypersensitivity syndrome (MCS)
  • Sleeping disorder
  • Sexual problems
  • Extreme tiredness after work

Physical (in form of disease)

  • Frequent headaches
  • Back pain
  • Dizziness
  • Frequent colds or flu
  • Gastrointestinal disorders

Physical reactions

  • Increased heartbeat
  • Increased pulse
  • Increased cholesterin level

Behavioral level / Behavioral level work related

  • Increased aggressivity
  • Excessive use of drugs, alcohol or coffee
  • Irregular or excessive food intake

  • Decreased efficency
  • Extended breaks
  • Turning up late to work or appointments

Social (clients/colleagues/at home)

  • Unable to focus on clients or listen to them
  • Client contacts skipped or delayed
  • Resistance against customer calls and appointments
  • Negative feelings/feeling of indifference towards clients

  • Isolation
  • Withdrawel
  • Avoidance of team meetings and discussions

  • Relationship problems
  • Loneliness

Attitude towards clients

  • Cynism
  • Stereotyping of clients
  • Reduced empathy
  • Black humor
  • Demonstration of powerlessness

Attitude towards the workplace

  • Negative work attitude
  • Desillusionment
  • Loss of idealism
  • Hyperactivity
  • Chronic fatigue and mental and physical exhaustion
  • Extreme focus on (a) specific goal(s)
  • Anxiety states
  • Inability to take responsibility (for failure)
  • Belittling others to look better and consequently
  • Often not liked by colleagues
  • Seeking distraction (often addiction) in gambling, drugs, internet, sex, alcohol
  • Lack of concentration, sleeping disorders
  • (Pseudo) tinnitus
  • Skipping off-days, breaks
  • Postpone their own needs
  • No (very few) social contacts outside of the workplace (avoidance)

Burnout Prevention

Basically, there are two kinds of things you can do: 
  • Change/remove the negative factors
  • Change the way you react to them
  • Change your mindset
Ok, that is three things. Even better, right?

Suppressing the symptoms (i.e. with pills) or ignoring them would only make matters worse.

Job related measures

If possible, involve your employer. Admitting "weakness" might seem like the wrong step for your career, but it is damage minimisation really. If you do not take action you could find yourself in a position that will be riskier for your career than suggesting certain changes and setting boundaries

No matter if you are a top manager, high performer, a stay-at-home mom or part of the service industry. It is your responsibility to suggest changes when something is off. 

Whether it is asking for more staff, realistic goals, additional training/tools, confronting a mobbing situation or asking for feedback - once you identified the negative factors in your working environment you can come up with suggestions and solutions. 

If you are not able to implement or suggest changes that allow you to be successful and healthy, it might be time to consider if owning this company or working for this company is the right long-term career, health and happiness strategy. 

Personal changes

  • Setting realistic goals. A good goal scares you a little bit but is neither too challenging nor too undemanding.
  • Positive thinking. The more you practice positive thinking, the more opportunities and resources that aid you and your goal you will see. Throughout this blog, you find recommendations for great tools and at the bottom of this article you will find a form to contact me. 
  • Relaxation. Whether it is through yoga, meditation, acupuncture or a neuroscientific approach. Calming your mind will help you to recreate.
  • Say NO. Often, problems are created by our inability to say "no". Setting limits and saying no can be a great step towards greater happiness - at your workplace and in your home. 
  • Success and life coaching with a personal coach or through a program. A burnout is always also a sign of a problem with the feeling of self-worth. A burnout also is a disease that changes your self-perceptions. There are tools and coaches that enable you to change that. The more you love yourself and deem yourself worthy, the easier it will become for you to change unhealthy behavioral patterns and circumstances.

Burnout Recovery

Recovery presupposes a diagnose. Many cannot recognize the feeling of being burnt out and physically and mentally exhausted as an actual burnout. 

What makes the disease even more difficult to diagnose is that it is a creeping process. Also, doctors and psychologists are not always burnout experts, so that the diagnose often takes some time. 

Several tests can help to distinguish depression from burnout. Especially in phase 3 the symptoms can look similar to a depression. 

In phase 2 and especially 3 it is time to immediately seek the help of a professional. At this point a spa weekend will not make it go away. Psychotherapy is needed. The good news is: Recovery is possible. 


People affected can be able to self-diagnose that they have a problem. That requires absolute honesty. 

Generally, self-diagnosis can not replace the diagnose by a qualified expert. 

To read articles like this can help you gaining a better understanding where you stand and whether you need to take action.  Once you identify a problem it is time to seek help.

Burnout Quick Test

Are you at risk of suffering a burnout? Depending on your results you might want to consider taking an in-depth test that takes about 30 minutes and/or seeking professional help.
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These 4 Foods Sabotage Your Success

4 Foods That Impact Your Brain Function

Did you know that your diet could be sabotaging your success?
4 Food That Harm Brain And Success
The food we eat is not only important for our overall health, but is most important for our brain health and therefore, your success in all aspects of your life.

A short while ago the German media was going berserk on a producer of salmon spread. Why? Because he was honest. The translation of the part marked red is: 

"Can affect activity and concentration of kids." (ADHS)

Let´s ignore for now that this is not a problem of one producer who was honest enough to print it on the label. Most processed food and junk food contains these or other as harmful additives. 

4 Foods That Can Sabotage Your Success

Let´s also ignore that ADHS is widely unknown in countries that eat natural foods and just consider it established that food and food additives do influence our brain functions. 

Food producers know this. What you eat might not make or break your career but definitely make it easier or harder. A simple "2-day healthy food" test would surprise unhealthy eaters as they would immediately notice that they have way more energy, better concentration, less fatigue.

In our competitive times we all want our brain to perform at its peak, right?

Let’s look at 4 foods that are bad for the brain and could be harming your effort to be successful.

Foods That Are Bad For The Brain

1. MSGs

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavor enhancer that is added to our food. There are many afflictions that happen to lab animals after consuming MSG. We, as humans, are five times more sensitive to MSG, particularly when consumed over a lifetime.

MSG causes the brain to miswire, especially during the first few years of life. This messes up nearly all aspects of brain function. This includes behavior, intelligence, and hormones. When fed MSG, animal studies have shown a significant increase in the failure to complete complex tasks.

It has been found to damage the centers of the brain that control learning, social control, memory and social interaction.

MSG is found in foods that are labeled with the word “glutamate”. Avoiding this additive could be the very best thing you will ever do for your brain. Food producers hide MSG´s behind several different names as well. 

Read more about the dangers of MSG´s HERE

2. Sugar

It’s estimated that American’s eat 79 pounds of sugar per year. The not-so-sweet effects that consuming sugar are inflammation that causes neuronal and vascular damage and constant insulin spikes.

Large amounts of sugar cause the brain’s memory control center to become inflamed, resulting in this center not working at 100%. Also, increased intake of sugar has been shown to be linked to depression. It is safe to say that depression is not a career helper.

Studies have shown that people eating higher than normal amounts of sugar performed more poorly on a memory test than those people who didn’t add sugar to their diets. It concluded that eating a high-sugar diet for as little as one week, was enough to impair our memory. 

Even worse are artificial sweeteners. Artificial Sweeteners the Silent Killer

Read how to detox from sugar HERE

3. Trans Fat

If you see “partially hydrogenated oils” in the list of ingredients on the food that you are eating, you are harming not only your heart but also causing major brain drain. These “partially hydrogenated oils” are code for trans fats.

Diets that are high in trans fats have been shown to increase beta-amyloid, a peptide plaque, that deposit in our brains and is associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

A study published in the magazine Neurology found that people that ate high levels of trans fats had a lower cognitive ability.

Foods that are the main culprits include baked goods, processed foods, and fried foods. 

This type of fat is not to be mistaken for "good fats". Our body needs good fats, they are good for us and our brain and they are even essential for weight-loss. Trans fat is bad fat.

4. Saturated Fat

A small amount of saturated fat is okay, but if your diet is high in this, it can decrease your brain’s ability to battle the formation of Alzheimer’s brain plaque. There are some exceptions to the rule like in example coconut oil. 

Vegetarians who are looking for healthy protein alternatives can read HERE

If you binge on saturated fat, the onslaught will hurt your brain in the short-term. It impairs the brain’s ability to form new memories and learn, as soon as 10 minutes after consumption. Saturated fats in the amounts we typically consume it can lead to other health problems as well. 

Saturated and Unsaturated Fats

You can learn more about which food contains which kind of fat in the pdf I came across:

While several studies suggest that saturated fats cause disease and brain problems, in my personal opinion and experience this is partly true. 

A large part of the problem is a) that we eat too much animal-based food and b) that we eat too much processed food (and in general) and meat of low quality - often in combination with other unhealthy foods, like sandwich bread, sausage and such.


As you can see, these 4 foods can cause numerous harmful changes in our brains. When our concentration, memory, and intelligence is compromised, our success in any venture in life will ultimately be damaged. We aren’t able to move forward to fulfill our dreams and goals, whether they be in our business life or our personal growth. 

We must keep in mind that the small mistakes we make do sum up until they finally punish us in the form of a disease. We can make sure that our brain functions at peak level by consuming the right food. 

It´s not about eating the perfect food all of the time. That would be the ideal but is often hard to realize when you have a busy career. 

If you just implement the minor or major changes you can your brain and overall health will thank you. 

Related articles: 
5 Great Foods to Detoxify Kidneys and Liver

All health, nutrition and weight loss related article HERE

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5 Habits that Damage your Brain

5 Easy Wellness Tips for your Brain5 Easy Wellness Tips for your Brain

Self-help books, media, tv shows - on a daily basis we receive wellness and health tips for different areas. Shouldn´t we give the 46 ounces of nerve cells the same level of attention we give the rest of our bodies? Your brain will love the following tips:

1. Use salt sparingly

I do not want to be the bearer of bad news again after recommending to remove sugar from your diet but sodium is another "bad guy" that needs some attention. 5 Habits that damage your Brain JAMA Neurology published a study that came to the conclusion that sodium is one of the factors that promotes high blood pressure. Studies prove without a doubt that sodium is a major contributor to high blood pressure. A high blood pressure will increase the susceptibility for cognitive decline. On average the mental decline caused by high blood pressure was rather small but high blood pressure also increases the likelihood of suffering a stroke. Most of the time a stroke causes severe brain damage.  

2. Get enough sleep

Slowly, we are starting to understand the full impact of sufficient sleep on our brain health. How important recuperative and recreative sleep is, clearly shows when we did not sleep enough. Irritability and concentration problems are obvious consequences, but a lack of sleep also affects our memory. In addition to that, a lack of sleep has negative long-term consequences. While we sleep our brain removes degradation products. If the length of sleep is not sufficient, these degradation products can lead to inflammatory processes that impact the brain health negatively.

3. Protect your hearing

Our ears are one of the organs that suffer most from environmental changes. A few generations ago, church bells were probably the loudest sound. Nowadays our ears are exposed to constant background noises and loud sounds. From the noise in a club, headsets to traffic noise - our ears hardly get a break. The number of people with hearing impairment is on the rise. A study of the John Hopkins University showed that hearing impaired people have a 30 - 40 % higher chance to suffer cognitive declines. Therefore, it is recommended to protect your ears as much as you can. Meditation also is a great form of treating your body and mind to silence.  

4. Mind your weight

Did you know that healthy weight is a big contributor to your brain health?
Winning the Game of Weight LossIn 2012 Neurology (a leading specialist magazine) published a long-term study. 6000 participants, on average 50 years old, have been examined for their cognitive functions. 10 years later the participants have been examined again. Overweight participants showed a 22 % larger decline in cognitive abilities than participants with normal weight.  

5. Maintain friendships

A person with few social contacts is not necessarily lonely. A person in a huge crowd of people can feel lonely. The number of "likes" on social media is not reflecting the number of meaningful relationships a person has.
As with many things in life, it is about quality and not quantity.
Loneliness leads to stress that can promote inflammatory processes in the brain. A study by the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago came to the result that of 1000 participants (aged over 80) the ones with the least amount of social contacts showed the largest cognitive decline.
Our brain health depends on many factors. Some factors we cannot influence - like our genetic disposition. Others are in our control.
The purpose of this article is to remind you that your brain is a precious treasure that needs your attention just like other parts of your body.
Read more brain, weight loss and health articles HERE

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The Neuroscience of Weight Loss

When the Soul makes you Fat

Neuroscientists discovered that obesity starts in your brain. Stress and anxiety are two of the major causes. Another important factor is your feeling of self-worth. Cognitive Neuroscience - When the Soul makes you Fat In this post, we will look at a few facts, go to the root of the problem and find solutions. As you all know I am originally from Germany. I am still learning medical terminology - but I am positive that even though the post might not be perfect grammar-wise you will still be able to understand the meaning.

1.4 Billion grown ups are overweight worldwide

2.8 Million people die from conditions related to being overweight. The list of possible diseases is large:
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes type 2
  • Alzheimers
  • Infertility
  • Joint pain
  • Breast cancer
  • Colon cancer
Not to mention depression and other psychological conditions.
For the first time in the history, the number of overweight people is as high as the number of underweight people. Sadly, because fewer people are starving.
In some countries, including the United States, overweight people are in the majority.
More and more children and teenagers become overweight at a young age.
Winning the Game of Weight Loss Cognitive Neuroscience
Food Research & Action Center

What are the reasons for this epidemy?

Until recently high calory food and lack of workout have been seen as the reason for weight gain. That would make it a side effect of our affluent society.
It turns out that it is not that easy.
In the last years, doctors and neuroscientists came to a different conclusion. Becoming overweight is not so much a physical problem but has psychosocial reasons.
The process is like this most of the time:
People have a hereditary predisposition. Their environment adds to that.
  • Stress
  • Poverty
  • Loneliness
  • Traumata
  • Existential fear
  • Angst
  • Environmental conditioning
  • Feeling of being overtaxed (burn-out)
  • Stressful job - lack of sleep
When I ask them most of my clients know which "weight" they carry (as in what is their reason for being overweight).Leading scientists, doctors and neuroscientists agree that the role of the brain in getting overweight or obese has been underestimated until now.

How does the brain influence the control circuit of hunger and feeling full?

Until a few years ago scientists were of the opinion that food intake is a simple process: If the stomach is empty agents send a signal to your brain that then makes sure you feel hungry and fill your stomach. If the blood sugar levels go down or the fat depots get empty, it is being reported back to the brain that takes care of starting the process of making you feel hungry again. But this is only half of the truth. There is hunger, and there are cravings. Everyone knows the phenomena of being full and fed but still having cravings that make you eat more. Also your stomach stretches out when you overeat. So the more you overeat, the more food you will need to even satisfy your hunger. Then come the cravings. Maybe someone is frustrated, at a fun social event or indulges just because it tastes so good. Your brain tells you that you want more even though you do not need more food. Especially highly addictive sugar can make you feel like you "need" it. The food industry adds to the damage with MSGs and other artificial additives. The whole "diet" stuff only makes us eat more, and the correlation between the number of new diet products and more obese people is not a coincidence.

Cravings are regulated by the strongest lust and frustration center

That part of our brain region is active when you are climaxing, feel drunk of love or on a heroin kick. This region of your brain also plays a key role in depression, chronic stress, and burnout. I will try to translate 3 German expressions and hope they make sense in English:
  • Frustessen (frustration eating)
  • Kummerspeck (grief bacon)
  • Stressessen (stress eating)
Obviously the people knew before the scientists. It is pretty obvious why diets fail. Isn´t it?
Even the strongest will could fight the neuronal power of the emotional centers.
You might have read in some of my other posts that this is why it is not your fault when your diet fails. The approach is wrong. The people who told you that you just have to develop willpower or work out a little bit have been lying to your face. Or let´s say: They were poorly educated on the matter or wanted to sell you some "wonder diet". Legal diet pills could never trick your brain in the long run. A change in nutrition will make a difference and is the way to go. But you will have to remove the original cause of overeating first - or you will not be able to see it through. Obesity is an addiction more than anything else.

So are obese people addicts?

Yes. Sugar AddictionA PET-scanner (uses a radioactive substance to scan for disease and shows how tissue and organs are working)  shows that some regions of the brains of obese people have changed - the reward center that is activated by drugs, sex, or a tasty meal. The reward center releases dopamine, a happiness hormone, which motivates us to repeat something. The points of connection for dopamine shrink in the brains of obese people. To feel the same level of happiness, they need to eat more than a thin person. These changes in the dopamine metabolism are similar to those visible in the brains of cocaine addicts. The other brain region that shows changes known from other forms of addiction is the part that handles planning and trained behavior. Scientists of the German Max-Planck University for cognitive neuroscience conveyed a psychological experiment: They separated obese women and women with normal weight into two groups. Then they put in front of them two decks of playing cards. The goal of the game was to make as much profit as possible. The first deck contained cards that brought high winnings at first but losses in the long run. The second deck was sorted just opposite. Losses first, high profits in the long run. The astonishing result of the study was that while the thin Ladies after a while ignored the first deck of cards the obese Ladies kept taking cards from it. Similar to cocaine or alcohol addicts it was problematic for them to follow a long-term strategy. Luckily, those changes are reversible. Let´s do it.

Diet needs to start in the brain

If you are one of the many people who felt like a failure for not being able to shed those extra pounds I hope you feel better now. Now you understand that no diet or powder or whatsoever you tried and people sold you could do the job. Most people that are trying to lose weight have gone through uncountable expensive and useless diets, powders, pills, workout and recipe programs. And all the "before/after" pics. Yawn. The only picture I would take as proof for a good diet is a before and after the brain scan. Luckily, the solution to the dilemma is way more easy and inexpensive than you might think. You will likely save money after you successfully implemented the changes needed.

The good news: Retraining your brain is possible

It is not even that hard.
Start HERE

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Cognitive Neuroscience and Fear

How to use Fear to your advantage

Cognitive Neuroscience says behavior is connected to fear

And neuroscientists provide explanations that lead to solutions. Read on if you want to learn how thousands of people successfully overcame their fear and achieved more success in their personal and business lives. Everyone feels fear from time to time. The people who are never afraid have mental disorders in the majority of cases. Psychopaths are an example for a group of people who often do not feel fear. Interpersonal relationships become difficult for them at a young age and later they often become criminal. The other kind, sociopaths, often hold high managerial positions. Beside the scientific proof that is pretty convincing for how fear controls our behavior and ultimately decides how successful we will be. For the rest of this post, we will just ignore this tiny group of people and focus on the healthy ones. No worries. This post is not intended to teach how to become a sociopath but to show how everyone can overcome the fear that is holding them back. The human race would be distinct soon if we would not feel fear. Fear keeps us out of dangerous situations. Fear can also make us sick and hinder our business success. When fear takes over it harms our health, relationships, and business success. I in example hold back a lot of good stuff because I am afraid when writing in English (my native language is German) I might sound like a moron. While this is a very light fear and very easy to overcome, I want to show that even when you know all of that stuff you are not free of fear. Fear is a fundamental color of our emotions. It is easier to make kids afraid than to put them in a relaxed state of mind. Therefore, fear is frequently used for educational purposes and to gain control. By parents, authorities, government and our partners.

Fear is more powerful than Felicity

Fear can crush down your whole body. It can overpower you in a way that makes logical thinking and rational decisions impossible for you. Fear does not have a good reputation. Admitting fear is considered weak and unacceptable especially for Executives. We try to deal with it ourselves. Also, especially with deep-rooted, strong fear, it is hard for others to understand our situation. Anxiety disorders are the most common disease in industrialized countries. That can range from procrastinating or sleeping disorders to panic attacks, phobia, and even schizophrenia. Depression is often linked to an anxiety disorder as well. Even eating disorders. Fear also costs our economy a lot of money. I am not talking about sick days or medical bills but underperformers. People who stay below their potential as a result of their anxiety disorders. It is easy to become a "what if" person.

Fear is also the most powerful enabler

Cognitive Neuroscience and Fear
Some people get addicted to the adrenaline. Overcoming fear makes us happy, proud and feeling healthy. Endorphins rock our body and we just feel great. Fear can motivate us, push us forward, make us creative and innovative. The inner system of fear is easy to fool. That is why we feel afraid when watching a horror movie even though we know that it is just a movie. Good to know, right?

Many Fearful people are extremely successful

They know how to turn their fear into their fuel.
A few example of people who were fearful young adults or are still afraid include:
  • Bill Gates
  • Warren Buffet
  • Steven Spielberg
Charles Darwin was afraid of nearly everything. Snakes, traveling, crowds, loneliness.
Barbara Streisand and Sir Laurence Olivier were struggling with social phobia.
Fear can release the energy for extraordinary achievements.

How to make fear your super fuel

So what do these groups of people do differently? The ones who are fearful and become successful and the ones who develop anxiety disorders or even disease and keep procrastinating?
Why is fear a growing problem in our society that has become so much safer than it used to be?

Cognitive behavioral training to overcome fear

The amygdala is an ancient primitive structure and plays a key role in deciding if an impulse is "good" or "bad". That is a very simplified explanation, but it will do for making the point. You actually have two of them. The word is derived from the Greek word for almond, as this is how they are shaped.
If it considers an impulse "bad" (which is often false alarm) it can put the body into a protective mode in an instant. You breathe faster, your muscles become tense, the adrenals release stress hormones, You will not be able to behave and think rational.
Imagine you ride your car. Some tiny bug collides with your windscreen. You close your eyes, right? You probably even push your head away.
Even though you know that you are safe in your car, and the tiny bug cannot crash your windscreen and hit your eye.
The amygdala decided for "bad" and made it impossible for you to think and make a rational decision.
One day, maybe long ago when you were a kid something hit your eye. And it hurt.
Now this was just a silly example. It neither hurts your life nor your career if you blink because of a false alarm.
But the same goes for "false alarms" regarding anything hurtful we ever experienced in our lives. Failing a diet, being left or cheated on, making a wrong business or hiring decision and so on and so on.
Unconscious of it, we frequently react to the past. Not the presence. We let whatever has hurt us or failed us control our existence and future. We write our self-fulfilling prophecies.
Time to change that. Isn´t it?

Retraining your brain is the key

It is possible to retrain your brain so that new neural pathways form that allow you to take control of your behavior and reactions.
How much does it cost you not to make changes? Fear comes with an expensive price tag including:
  • Missed promotions
  • Less success and money
  • Failed business ventures
  • Broken relationships
  • Missed opportunities

Enough theory let´s get factual

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Social Cognitive Neuroscience – NeuroWisdom 101 Mark Waldman

NeuroWisdom 101 and Cognitive Neuroscience

There are many places where you might have heard of or met renown neuroscientist Mark Waldman.
Social Cognitive Neuroscience and Mark Waldman
I first met him as one of the coaches in John Assaraf´s program Winning the Game of Money Game of Money. Soon I learned that Mark Waldman is not only a leader in neurosciences but also a splendid coach. I dug deeper into his offering and here is what I learned:
Do you find yourself a little bit in the question below?
Do fear and stress dominate your thoughts and feelings? Does it take control of your life and affect your actions every day? These things can leave you paralyzed and feel trapped.
Mark Waldman´s NeuroWisdom might be the answer. Let us have a closer look at how NeuroWisdom 101 will help break with counterproductive thinking and aid in eliminating negative thoughts about yourself that are holding you back.

What Is Mark Waldman´s NeuroWisdom 101?

This revolutionary program was created by Mark Robert Waldman, who is a leader in neuroscience research.
NeuroWisdom 101 is the direct result of 10 years of his research in discovering ways to improve brain health and the most efficient way to do this. It has 58 Simple Micro-Exercises that help you replace the self-limiting fears and doubts with emotional resilience, positivity, and work satisfaction.It is based on a model of human awareness the incorporates over 31,000 studies from renown institutes like the National Library of Medicine. This program teaches you how to access increasingly higher states of consciousness and brain activity, This program will teach you how to apply core strategies of cognitive therapy, positive psychology, and brain-training to all aspects of your life.
Mark Waldman put together a collection of meditations, exercises, and lessons that are proven scientifically to improve all areas of perception, memory, cognition, and also improve your health.
Some of the things you will learn with this program are:
  • Turning obstacles into allies
  • Improve the effectiveness and quality of your meditation
  • Learn how to deal with difficult emotions
  • Reduce your physical pain
  • Increase your work productivity
  • Learn how to eliminate stress and worry
  • Helps to find happiness
  • Improve your relationships
Some of the other great things that you will experience with NeuroWisdom101 are:
You will
  • Discover purpose and your true meaning in life
  • Change your negativity into dedicated optimism
  • Acquire more peace and joy in your life
  • Get rid of worry, self-doubt, and stress
  • Build cooperation and trust with other people
  • Improve communication at work and home
  • Optimize neural functioning, life satisfaction, and longevity
  • Discover and use the intuitive wisdom and creativity of your brain

Why NeuroWisdom 101 for social cognitive neuroscience?

Our brains have well over 85 billion neurons that are continually connecting and disconnecting every day. What I think is fascinating, is a slight part of our frontal lobes, handle our self-awareness and the many choices we make. However, what we believe and think has the power to change the functioning and structure of other parts of our brain.
Pain, hurt, failure cause certain neuronal pathways to form that force us to react a certain way. This way is often counterproductive and also referred to as Emotional Intelligence.

New neuronal pathways will be formed

This 8-week program will enable you to change your mindset to experience more happiness, mindfulness, positivity and be more accepting of others, yourself and circumstances. By committing to your daily goals, you will be able to make decisions based on your core values. It will help you to deepen your meditative state at any moment and realize that the words “I’ve changed my mind” has a whole new meaning. This is the ONE brain training program that is
  • Endorsed by leading universities
  • Based on extensive research
  • Endorsed by peer-reviewed studies and worldwide experts
  • Guaranteed to improve clarity, mood, and performance
  • Working with only investing 20 minutes a day for eight weeks
People spend thousands of dollars each year on business coaches and therapists that take months and years to complete. With NeuroWisdom101, you will permanently change your brain and life in just eight weeks. I highly recommend this program if you want to eliminate those inner voices that keep you from having it all and transform your mindset today.
The product comes with a 30-day money back guarantee and on your right (side of this post) you will find a free eBook as well.
30-day money back? Yawn...everyone offers that. Here is the difference in Mark Waldman´s: He wants you to return the program if it is not the BEST program you have ever used.
If you already know that this program is what you need and for even more information click on the brain below:
 NeuroWisdom101 Mark Waldman
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