What if our lifestyle choices influence the level of motivation, focus, and mental energy we bring to the task of Salesforce development? What if a person’s “work ethic” isn’t just a matter of will-power and virtue?
I’m sure you’re aware of the old adage attributed to Mahatma Gandhi (among others): “To change the world, start with yourself.” Brain health and the functional medicine approach to well-being have so influenced my life and work that I am compelled to encourage others to explore their possibilities.
As Salesforce professionals, we can carry some long days of intense focus. There might be days when you get engrossed in your work, and the hours pass quickly, but then there might be days where the focus seems elusive. Throughout a career in data systems, we might find it harder and harder to perform at the same level we once did.
Is this a state of affairs we have to accept, simply finding ways to cope with the oscillations of our mental life? Or can we make changes and build habits that genuinely impact the biology of our brains and, therefore, our brain’s performance? Is there any actual proof that lifestyle interventions are effective?
Brain and Body
It’s easier to see the outworkings of healthy lifestyle choices on our bodies, and it’s been more accessible for the health industry to capitalize on our desire for fit bodies. Our body-fat might lessen, our muscles get bigger, and we might even notice having more energy.
However, although I appreciate benefits “below the neck,” my impact on the world and my ability to earn an income are largely dependent on what’s happening in my brain. Furthermore, if my brain’s not working as it should, I’m going to find it harder to eat right and exercise. But with the relatively little scientific research available due to the brain’s inaccessibility, how are we to know what to do?
Where to Start
There is already a glut of health articles and quasi-scientific listicles about job performance on the internet. Instead of vague advice about “self-care” in the workplace that may or may not be evidence-based, the real game-changer is in the work of those researchers who can show which interventions impact the biology of the brain. One way to “show your work” in this realm of research is through brain imaging, as in the work of Dr. Daniel Amen, the double board-certified clinical neuroscientist and founder of the Amen Clinics.
Indeed, trailblazing clinical neuroscientists are currently challenging long-held assumptions about brain research, performance, and mental health, making it an exciting time to be alive. I’m thankful for the evidence-based information emerging from the work of people like Dr. Amen. His clinics have carried out over 160,000 brain SPECT scans, and they’re publishing more findings every year. If you’re interested in caring for the only brain you’ll ever have, I highly recommend picking up one of his books.
Dr. Amen explains that for decades the fields of psychology and psychiatry have been plagued by an inability to directly study the organ they are trying to treat—the brain. He refused to accept that status quo and has since become the leading authority on the clinical applications of a type of brain imaging referred to as SPECT, which shows blood flow in the brain.
When this work started, critics were loud and numerous, but over several years of practice, Dr. Amen’s clinics have amassed treasure troves of clinical research. Dr. Amen’s work has helped thousands of people overcome various kinds of mental illness and has helped thousands of people optimize their brain’s performance well into old age.
Other figures I trust in the brave new world of evidence-based health optimization are…
- Dr. Mark Hyman, the Head of Strategy and Innovation of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine
- Dr. Michael Ruscio, Doctor of Natural Medicine, Doctor of Chiropractic, clinical researcher and author
- Dave Asprey, founder of Bulletproof
How do you stay sharp and care for your brain as a Salesforce professional? Please share your experience and ideas in the comments below!