BrainSPACE is a simple language that describes the key triggers of threat (stress, fear, anxiety, frustration, anger, paranoia) and reward (optimism, focus, creative thought, mindfulness).
Evidence of how the brain works tells us that our brain defaults to the negative when our sense of safety or security is compromised, whether it is real or whether we are imagining it (the brain doesn’t know the difference). This can happen anywhere, at any time and can compromise our thinking, our feelings, what we say, what we do and ultimately, our performance at work.
The brain is constantly scanning the environment at a sub-conscious level, which is why we are often not aware that it is happening and the impact it may be having on us and others.
BrainSPACE tells us what may be triggering our emotional responses and if we aware, we can do something about it and be more effective day-to-day.
Being in sync with the brain develops smarter thinkers and doers. Being out of sync can compromise our wellbeing and our ability to achieve what’s possible.
The BrainSPACE® model below describes the key triggers of threat and reward in the brain
The brain is a Social network – tribal by design, we are wired for social connection. The brain needs to feel connected to others, it needs to feel part of a group or ‘community’, hence our strong relationship focus and need for social support and recognition. We are wired to work as a team, to achieve something bigger than going it alone. It does not respond well to being isolated, ostracised or ignored – strong feelings of isolation register in the same areas of the brain that pain registers after a significant injury.
The brain needs to feel connected to a higher purpose, to contribute to something meaningful, hence our need for values and a strong orientation toward plans, goals, objectives. It constantly scans our ‘social standing’ relative to others (we may not even be aware that this is happening) causing us to make judgements about ourselves.
The brain is a Prediction machine –it needs to know what’s up ahead, where we’re headed. It needs clarity, certainty and reliability to feel safe and secure; it needs to understand expectations and have a sense of control over events and outcomes rather than ambiguity and chaos.
The brain is an Autonomy tracker – it likes us to have the freedom of choice, of being able to choose our own actions and behaviours, to decide for ourselves what our next steps will be and have a sense of independence. We are motivated by a sense of responsibility and empowerment, enabling us to make choices and decisions for ourselves – this is what drives creativity and innovation.
The brain is a Categorising web – it categorises and maps everything we see, hear, taste, touch and smell so that we can make sense of the world, distinguish threat from reward. It simplifies how we perceive everything we encounter – it takes in new information then seeks out patterns and relationships from information it already has stored. This in turn influences our opinions & decisions. If it doesn’t have a reference point, the unconscious brain does the best it can to make sense of incoming data. When the brain creates information maps, it then organises itself according to the relationship between categories by creating pathways (connections) that are orderly and grid-like.
The brain only likes to deal with 3-4 chunks of information at a time – it filters out unnecessary data, retaining only the information that may be needed at the time. It does this work as logically as it can based on existing networks of information. All this work is done without us being consciously aware of it – this way we can go about our daily lives unencumbered with thoughts of what’s going on inside our head.
The brain is an Equality radar – it likes consistency and fairness. Perceptions of unfairness or injustice can drive strong negative emotional responses and impact both mental and physical wellbeing. The emotional brain overrules the rational mind – when faced with a conflict, the brain’s default position is to demand a fair deal. Transparent communication fuels understanding of why certain decisions are made and specific actions taken, helping to remove assumptions and potential bias. Perception of fairness will be different depending on our culture, our experiences, our values and our preferences.