The human brain tries to direct its actions and decisions in such a way that physical, social or even emotional pain, or stress, can be avoided. The realisation that human action is driven by pain avoidance is not new and should be balanced with motivational needs in relation to one’s own understanding.
As the brain strives for pain avoidance and well-being, it tries to create coherence or congruence between the various conscious or unconscious internal processes. If this does not succeed, the brain experiences this as stress. Predictability and predictability are also human needs to avoid emotional stress (e.g. an employee’s expectation of bonus). In the “classic” stress system, we speak of life-threatening situations (fight, flight, freeze), which basically comes to rest again after the task or challenge has been mastered. In the world of work, one can neither flee nor fight, i.e. the energy, if not used or channelled differently, is directed against one’s own body, which in the longer term can lead to the well-known damage.
Since decisions are not based purely on facts and rational thinking, all memory content is emotionally coloured. Changes of perspective help to get a new perspective and to change memory contents in a goal-oriented way.
Stress does not necessarily equate to excessive demands, but the brain needs situations or challenges to activate the reward system so that it can develop its potential. However, challenges only lead to growth if they are perceived as manageable.
Mirror neurons are active when we observe others or feel emotions (when babies laugh, so do we). In everyday business, this also has an impact on the mood of the workforce. Daniel Goleman, science author, describes in one of his books that leaders make the greatest contribution to the mood created together, e.g. in a meeting. We are all connected and sometimes in ways we are not even aware of. Conversely, this means that mindful leaders have a positive contribution to the productivity and goal achievement of the company.
Research groups today also name a second stress system, the “default mode network”. It is not about coping with concrete challenges, but about a diffuse alertness to stimuli.
Although not yet fully researched, it can be assumed that permanent confrontation with stimuli has a negative effect on concentration, strategic thinking and action. The more a person cultivates and strengthens his or her resilience on the various levels, the more likely he or she is to be able to evaluate the challenges and imponderables from a different perspective and thus influence the desired direction in everyday business through action.