A Masterclass in Neuroscience in Change solved that puzzle for me. Sue Langley, a thought leader in positive psychology, emotional intelligence and neuroscience gave me the missing insights. It can be summed up in a few points:
The simple truth is that people growing up in the change don’t have to change their habits. Their upbringing is within the social norms around them. Of course that goes for developing good and bad habits.
- Our habits are on autopilot. It takes less effort. So we relate better to people with communality because differences are more difficult to process and outside our habits. Keeping habits means less brain fuel (or energy) is needed than what’s necessary during change. To retain energy we choose the lazy way to deal with the world. So we stick with what we learned when we were young.
- Because of the way our brain is wired we see the negative in the new before we see the positive. And in change we promote the negative of the new so we can retain the status quo. It is possible that we might just loose something in the change such as status, power, connections or reward. So keeping the status quo is a fight and flight brain thing.
- serotonin, which is in dark chocolate, unprocessed foods, massages, light and exercise;
- glucose, which is in in carbohydrates and of course sugary food (not advocating eating it);
- oxytocin, which we get from touch (including sex); an
- dopamine…which pretty much combines all of the above and sleep.
There is a sweetener here. Chocolate fundraisers now have another great benefit. A lack of car parking near shops can help you get exercise by walking…it helps get rid of that extra chocolate and saves on parking and gym fees. And eating good food also keeps the body healthy which helps save the proposed $7 GP co-payment.
All in all we should really welcome social change….it helps us live better and enjoy it more consciously. What habit are you going to change today?