Building brain friendly community

What do worker bees, living in Hulbert St. Fremantle and cancer survivors at a group meeting have in common?

They are all connected by community.

At the TEDx Perth event last Saturday, Mat Welch, Shani Graham and Professor David Joske were some of the great speakers who talked about connection, happiness and wellbeing.

Mat spoke about the lives of honeybees and how their inter-relatedness is essential to the success of bee society. Shani shared her personal story about how she instigated sustainable community in the street in which she lives, and how social connectivity has since spread rapidly like the ripples on a pond.

David shared some of the lessons he has learned from his patients who have cancer, and his desire to see humanity restored to a much higher level in the practice of medicine.

The premise in these talks and in many of the others on that day was simple:

As humans we are wired to socially connect with others.

Social cognitive neuroscience. Yes, it's a mouthful and will definitely impress your friends when you introduce it into your next conversation. There are some amazing people who work in this area of brain research, and my one all time favourite social cognitive neuroscientist on the planet, is one Professor Matthew Lieberman.

Matt Lieberman has a gift. Not only is he an extremely intelligent person with an amazing brain, he has devoted over 15 years into the study of social cognitive neuroscience.

I have had the pleasure of hearing Matt speak and I wanted to share with you his TEDx talk where he talks about our social brain and it's associated superpowers.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNhk3owF7RQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNhk3owF7RQ

He has also just published a book called Social: Why our brains are wired to connect.

People matter. Our ability to connect with each other matters.

It's why in all of our relationships, knowing how to successfully engage with others, relate to others, empathise with others allows us to be compassionate, collaborative and community focused.

Mother Theresa once said, "Loneliness is the greatest of human suffering".

Social pain, whether it is a broken heart, being on the receiving end of cyber-bullying or being overlooked for a promotion, is real pain and pain that is often deeper and longer lasting than physical pain. We ignore it at our peril.

Where businesses and organisations struggle with increasing levels of disengagement or lack of motivation, the solution lies less in offering financial incentives and bonuses and far more in ensuring a person feels respected, valued and part of the team.

Knowing how to reduce social pain, so as to enhance relationships, effective communication and leadership is not only desirable, it is eminently possible.

Your plastic brain is capable of rewiring itself in response to our ever-changing environment. The Brain Change program examines our social brain, why we find change so difficult and how to incorporate social intelligence to promote a higher level of contribution, wellbeing and happiness.

Which would you rather have?

An extra $100 in your pocket or feeling acknowledged and respected for the work and effort you have put into a particular project?