Hit decisions with all the feels
Why is it that the most logical decisions are often the hardest - even when you’re channeling your inner Leonard Nimoy? Because all decisions, even ones that seem clear cut, are emotional.
This week’s science is from a 90s study by neuroscientist, Antonio Damasio (click here for his own take on this whole emotions make better decisions thing) - it may be retro, but it's still super interesting.
He studied people without amygdalas (the emotion-generation part of the brain), and found that they were unable to make decisions. They could see logically what they should do, but found it very tough to make even a simple decision, like what to have for lunch.
Mmm. Lunch. What about the amygdala then?
Well, these findings show that, even with a seemingly logical decision - without tapping into our emotions, we can’t bring ourselves to take the plunge and choose.
It’s all emotional, baby.
This study lead Damasio to come up the Somatic Marker Hypothesis- one of the most influential theories of emotion from the last few decades (see, told you that 90s research was totes still relevant).
Somatic markers are instinctive emotional reactions based on previous experiences with similar situations. These reactions narrow down your options, which are then processed more thoroughly before a final decision is made. So, somatic markers increase the efficiency and accuracy of decision making. Following Damasio’s theory, without this emotional input, decision making would be pretty much impossible - it would simply take too long to sift through all the options.
Ok, got it - can’t make a choice without feelings. So, what?
Think about if you’re trying to convince someone of something, or present your solution as the obvious choice. Using the Somatic Marker Hypothesis, you know that you won’t get the result you want through presenting logic alone. So, take them on a journey - tap into their emotions, and make yours a solution that feels good, as well as makes sense.
Find decisions a strug-fest, emotional or otherwise? Check out this fan-favourite article from a few weeks ago to get those choice muscles flexing.
Make good decisions, tribe.
Want More of This? Get Some Brain Food Every Week.
BRAIN FOOD - SUMMER TROUT WITH PEA SHOOT, STRAWBERRY AND AVOCADO SALAD
This week’s quick summer dinner is from Nutritional Scientist, Toral Shah - founder of @theurbankitchen. It’s light, delicious and nutritious and, if you’re feeling a bit swish, it’s also perfect with a cheeky glass of rosé. Hey, we’re all about balance here.
“This seasonal low-carb meal makes the most of strawberries, basil and pea shoots which are all at their peak and full of nutrients in the late summer. Trout contains omega 3 fish oils which can reduce inflammation and prevent cancer, and the pea shoots are high in all water soluble vitamins such as vitamins B1, B2 and B6 and vitamin C.” -Toral
Why is it good for my brain?
As Toral pointed out, (cos she’s awesome), trout is high is omega 3, an essential fatty acid that makes up the cell membranes in your brain - it’s also low on the mercury list, so that’s a bonus. **Avocados are high in monounsaturated fat**, which can help to lower the high blood pressure linked to cognitive decline; and strawberries contain anthocyanin, which helps to improve memory and focus.
See the full recipe here.
Prepare the marinade by mixing together the mustard, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice and marinate the trout for at least 15 min.
Slice the red onion and soak in a bowl of iced water in the fridge for 15 minutes.
In the meantime, prepare the basil oil by blitzing the basil with the oil and salt in a small food processor. You may need to add a little more oil to ensure that it is not too thick.
Arrange the washed pea shoots on a plate, topped with the strawberry halves, avocado and red onion.
Heat a large non-stick pan and pan-fry the trout for about 3 minutes on each side or until fully cooked.
Arrange onto the salad and drizzle with the basil oil.
FOR THE NERDY: Read more with our handy A-Z of brain food [source: trydawn.co].
WHAT WE LOVE THIS WEEK
Watch: It’s probably not escaped you that I’m massively into music. Turns out we all are; it’s levelling, calming and transcends words - here’s how it worksfrom the folks at School of Life. (youtube)
Read: Here’s what actually happens in your brain when you meditate. (Fun fact: I just completed 365 days of meditation - which is something I thought I’d never achieve. Thanks calm!) (mindful entrepreneurship)
Listen: An interview from Alice Liveing with mental health advocate, journalist and now runner, Bryony Gordonon how accidentally signing up to do the London marathon transformed her day to day life. (spotify)
Follow: GP Dr. Zoe Williams (off the telly), for the latest health news, good honest advice and fitness inspo.
As we set the sun on Dawn and start our ascent as a brand to reach new heights - I hope as many of you stay curious in the coming weeks to see what we have in store for you. It feels relevant that I've returned from Burning Man where the theme was "Metamorphosis" and that is indeed what we are doing here, creating a brand that can help our customers develop new skills whilst optimising their brain's health and reach their potential.
We've changed our instagram over to @yourheights - and so head on over to take a peek at our evolving journey from this point onwards. Some of you have been reading for almost a year, others are new, but for us, right now, marks day 1 of Heights and we cant wait to have you come along for the ride.
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