Eat Your Blueberries, Stop Acting, Start Thinking, & Ask Yourself Why

Dawn's Big Three

1) Eat your blueberries, and if you’re feeling generous, give your kids some too.

2) Stop acting, start thinking. Reduce your impulsive behaviour for better outcomes.

3) Ask yourself why you are procrastinating - analyse the root cause, discuss it with yourself, forgive yourself, and move on to tackling it.

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Happy Monday, people. You’re looking smart this morning.

A big welcome to the newcomers. We hope this dose of brain food gets your week off to a roaring start.

This week: 
Are blueberries your ticket to MENSA glory? Does velocity lead to your demise? And is procrastination synonymous with laziness?  

Let’s find out.

🥑 Food For Thought 💭

Blueberries Or Bust?

The TL;DR ⌚️
('Too long, didn't read', for any of you too embarrassed to ask.)

Blueberries boost memory better than Jelly Babies. (Yes, academics invested time and energy proving so. Waste of time? We think so.) Don’t worry. There’s better research out there.

Your brain on blueberries
Dr. Joanna Bowtell, hailing from The University of Exeter, denied her sweet tooth and examined the short-term effects of nature’s blue superfood on adult brains. No Jelly Babies here—just a twelve-week study using two groups, one placebo, loads of blueberry supplements, and, as they put it, “a battery of cognitive function tests and a numerical Stroop test.” (No disrespect to the Jelly Babies team.)

So what did they discover?
Adult brains thrive on blueberries, even after just twelve weeks. Using MRI scans, the team discovered significantly increased activity in brain regions dedicated to cognitive function, specifically working memory. They also noted that the placebo group’s results declined over the 12-week period. Conclusion? Even an “easily achievable” serving of blueberries over a short period boosts cognitive function in adults.

What about kids?
They don’t know how good they have it. Blueberries are a superhero snack for young minds. A similar test for 7-10-year-old children exposed astonishinggains in cognitive proficiency.  Now for the real question: private tutor or blueberry farm?

In short: Whether it’s a quick fix or a long-term solution make sure to prioritize these bundles of brain power.

For the nerdy 🤓: All the blueberry scientific studies around.

Make It Brain 🧠

Lights, Camera, Inaction

The TL;DR ⌚️
Nike might want to consider rebranding with “Just Don’t Do It.” Professional athletes (and people in general) subconsciously prefer taking action over staying put, even when inertia is the key to winning.

Diving Lessons
Researchers analysed professional goalkeepers’ responses to 286 penalty kicks. Turns out that even though 28.7% of shots landed in the middle of the net, the goalies only stayed centre only 6.3% of the time, preferring to dive to the left or the right.

It’s not that athletes enjoy landing in a heap at the goal post—they want to be seen doing something. They chose to dive to the side even though it reduced their change of saving the goal by about 17%.

So what?
We like diving too. To some extent, we all struggle with something experts call an action bias. We default to performance and activity, even when deliberately staying put pays better dividends. Impulses are nasty little buggers.

So what’s the lesson?
It’s time to rewire our reflexes.

“Individuals with effective impulse control, by contrast, have the capacity to think first rather than responding reflexively. It allows them mental space for weighing alternatives and assessing options so that their actions and expressions are reasoned and well considered. This leads to wise decision-making and responsible behaviour”

(Stein & Book, 2006, p. 206-207).
 

Essentially, learn to pause before you pounce. 

Training day
You can start taking control of your action bias today.

If you’ve got more time to invest, consider reading FYI: For Your Improvement, a coaching and development guide written by Lombardo and Eichinger.


For the nerdy 🤓: The longer finding and research study.

🥇Motivation Station 🏃‍♀️

Procrastina........................tion

The TL;DR ⌚️
Good news for procrastinators (and no, you’re not alone in the corner. One in five people are classified as chronic procrastinators). Despite what you may think, your problem has less to do with time management and laziness and more to do with emotional regulation. You simply need to get your Sitzfleisch on.

In English?
Sitzfleisch is the German concept of working at tedious challenges long enough to reach the tipping point and cruise to the finish line. Productivity comes through perseverance.

Procrastination (or the lack of it) relates to anxiety towards the task at hand.

In an article for Psychology Today, Timothy Pychyl, Ph.D. explains that:
 

"When we face negative emotions like frustration, resentment, boredom, or anxiety that are associated with a task, we procrastinate on the task in order to regulate our emotions."


Don't put off reading this...
There’s good news—you are in control. After a lengthy study, German scientists declared, “The ability to modify aversive emotions (‘emotional regulation’) reduced subsequent procrastination.”

Essentially, emotion-focused strategies decrease procrastination. If you target controlling your aversive emotions, you will stop procrastinating. That’s the first step in making sh*t happen.

The challenge is getting around to step one. Oh, the irony.

Ok, how do I begin?
1) Change your mindset. See tasks as challenges, not threats. When you set off to accomplish something hard, see it as an opportunity to overcome adversity and turn your stress into invigoration.

2) Be honest. Ask yourself why you’re putting it off. Your answer is likely valid but it’s also bullshit. You’ve got it in you. Move on.

3) Be gentle with yourself. Rewiring your brain takes time. Go easy. Action bias, remember?


For the nerdy🤓: Original research here.

Dawn's Big Three

1) Eat your blueberries, and if you’re feeling generous, give your kids some too.

2) Stop acting, start thinking. Reduce your impulsive behaviour for better outcomes.

3) Ask yourself why you are procrastinating - analyse the root cause, discuss it with yourself, forgive yourself, and move on to tackling it.

What We Love This Week

🎧 These “Binaural Beats” should help you concentrate past procrastination and towards productivity and output. I listen to Binaural Beats for various concentration related tasks & find it effective...

📖 Eat That Frog, by Brian Tracy. It’s the ultimate procrastination killer. And you don’t have to enjoy French cuisine to reap the benefits.

📽This amazing interview with Dr. Dale Bredeson on The End of Alzheimer's.

One more thing before we sign off. Your feedback fuels our work at Dawn. Thanks for taking the time to tell us what's working and what needs improvement. Feel free to keep the feedback coming. We’re striving to reach our potential too.

Until next week ✌️,
Dan