Make the most of a fresh start

I don’t know about you but I’m feeling 2022.

Take a sigh of relief; the new year has begun. 2022 offers the excitement of a fresh start; hopefully one that has already begun on a positive note. As we come to the end of January we may start to reflect on our New Year’s resolutions. Or perhaps, time flew by within a blink of an eye and we didn’t consider resolutions at all.

Neglecting difficult tasks is common. When we have a lot on our plates and when the going gets tough, humans have a natural tendency to give up. In fact, it’s a misconception that we can multitask. When we simultaneously carry out tasks, our brain is constantly switching attention from task to task extremely quickly. When trying to juggle tasks we become fatigued and start to make more errors.

In the pursuit of reward (one that can come along with goal setting) our brains have an “off switch”. This response comes from our nociceptive modulatory system or our ‘pain regulator’. Its response to pain, or difficult situations, is to emit nociception which suppresses dopamine (our happy hormone).

A fitting analogy is that our brains are as stubborn as a child who won’t eat their vegetables. However, when children don’t want to eat their greens, parents don’t just give up and feed them ice-cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner - they find new ways to give them these beneficial super foods. Do the same for yourself: find new ways to succeed in fuelling your goals.

Did you know? Chronic stress has a shrinking effect on the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain responsible for memory and learning.