Grid™ helps you to succeed and look after your wellbeing and it achieves this using the principles of neuroscience.
In this blog, you will learn some of the key neuroscience concepts that help explain what makes the Grid so effective. While you don’t need to know this information to make Grid™ work for you, it may help you appreciate it more.
What is Neuroscience?
Neuroscience is a broad discipline that draws on many disciplines – biology, chemistry, physics, maths, computer science, psychology, and engineering – to understanding how our brains develop, function and misfunction. This helps us discover how the mind functions and what happens when it gets sick, such as in neurodegenerative diseases.
Neuroscience literally concerns itself with peeking inside the brain to understand its workings mechanistically at different levels. Studies range from work done at the cellular level, to whole-brain imaging studies across different animals, humans as well as using programming. Neuroscience also looks at how we can apply what we learn about the way information is stored and retrieved by the mind in fields such as sensing, network science, information processing, coding, and robotics.
Brains are Natural Story Makers that are Wired for Cohesion
The brain is constantly working to assemble an integrated picture or a coherent story from different elements: our memories, information coming from the senses. To achieve this, it uses different brain circuits and operates in a modular fashion, with different brain regions having specific functions or expertise. Of course, there is a great deal of overlap as well and how exactly we can process, store and retrieve information remains for micro-level distinct focus and broad focus, as well as how events and information are tagged in time.
One brain region – visual cortext – is devoted to vision. One of the things we know is that when attention is put on the macro-level picture this is what the brain sees. When attention is focused on detail, we see detail.
Brains naturally differ in terms of a preference for big-picture versus detail. True effectiveness requires both, as well as linking information in time between past-present and future. Grid™ uses these insights to support effectiveness by combining big picture and detail in one area, organizing it spatially and by time, and guiding attention to focus on specific tasks that are defined using specific timescales.
Fear Inhibits Cognition and Creativity
Developmental neurobiology shows us that cognitive and emotional development can be easily inhibited when the nervous system gets stuck in freeze and/or fight and flight mode too often. Basically, when our experiences overwhelm the nervous system’s ability to cope, resourceful thinking is inhibited as well. This is often what happens when a person is frequently overwhelmed by too much activity or the resulting paralysis; including procrastination. Brains adapt and learn but for some of us, when events become to stressful or hard to cope with, this can result in trauma and lasting impairment that requires patience and sufficient support to remedy.
Grid™ applies this learning by focusing on the creation of calm through order. Having structure, order and place for everything provides a vital counter to anxiety and panic that can arise from apparent sense of chaos or overwhelm with having to much to do. With calm the fear-based regions of the brain such as the amygdala need not highjack the mind and leave us in panic.
Saving Energy with Effective Habits
The brain through evolution has found a way to conserve energy by converting new learning into patterns of behaviour and habits. This means that higher cortical areas need not stay engaged once a specific series of actions become routine. Combined with circuits for pleasure and motivation, habit making can be a powerful neuronal circuitry to drive performance or inhibit it.
Grid™ applies these insights by focusing on positive habit development that emphasizes good self-management, ability to access information at a glance and register and review progress in real-time.
Taking Advantage of the Brain’s Visual System
Visual cues are incredibly powerful in terms of creating specific brain states and alerting the mind to pleasure and danger. Notice how you feel when you see a smile on someone’s face versus a frown or displeasure. The first will relax you, the second may likely cause you to worry or feel concerned.
The largest brain real estate is devoted to the visual cortex to allow for rich visual information processing. This area is also incredibly well connected with motor and sensory areas, pleasure centres, memory centres, and other key subcortical structures such as the thalamus and the amygdala.
Grid™ makes use of these insights by making the entire gridding process highly visual. From grid drafting and goal plotting to sketching the monthly or daily grids, the method is highly intuitive and adaptable to the user. What’s key is that grids are on paper, easy to track, see, highlight and grasp as a whole.
This is also a key reason why Grid™ has not embraced modern-day technology as an App or a desktop program. Grids need to be created and seen often as they are essentially navigational maps. They are designed to guide action and desired behaviour by aiding focus, clarity, and motivating action.
Influencing Mind States into Genius Flow States
Neuroimaging is revealing more and more about brain flow states. Brain flow states are times when we literally become genius-like. Brain imaging studies of improvisers reveal that one thing these creatives have in common is fewer inhibitory networks being active. Researchers can see this by following neuronal cell activation while people perform various tasks.
Stress is a well-known creativity killer, as are tight deadlines. Grid™ fosters creativity and flow states by moving the emphasis away from the deadline-driven inhibition towards a far more inspired way of working and living. Instead of wondering what to do and spirling into overwhelm or confusion, grids support clarity and focus. Griding practice also uses energy-surfing to guide the person to tasks their nervous system is actually ready for in the moment.
Away from Pressure and Towards Pleasure
Instead of being a slave to deadlines and working under their pressure, Grid™ teaches you how to work with natural inspiration. The framework enables you to catch the right mental, emotional and physical energy wave that matches what a given task demands. Memory and storage enhancement through association and order making
One of the things that people working on memory and storage have found is that brains like to chunk and cluster information to help organize it and use it.
Minds sort, characterise, and store information by association into mental maps for easier retrieval and better function. Grid™ takes advantage of this by facilitating order-making with clear layouts of the quadrants, personalised home bases, and well-defined time-bound tasks.
The presence of order within the mind and one’s surroundings has been linked to trauma recovery and activation of the parasympathetic activity (calm states) and dampening of the sympathetic activation (stress-inducing) states.
The Neuroscience of Motivation and Pleasure
Our brains have evolved for survival and are designed for mobilizing us to action and movement. Not being able to take action or feeling stuck contributes to stress, fear and states of learned helplessness.
In fact, the pleasure system wiring in the brain rewards activity, and the motivation networks are wired to have us always scan the environment for new possibilities and continuous growth. Along with this, our pleasure centres release powerful feel-good transmitters such as dopamine and oxytocin that help us register satisfaction and seek more of it.
Studies have shown that while people differ in their sensitivity to the exact amounts of these neurotransmitters, a steady drop feed supply mode helps people keep motivated and positive.
Grid™ takes advantage of this insight and uses colourful highlighters to deliver regular boosts of dopamine from completed tasks and a sense of forward momentum. It also helps train completion as an important behavioral habit.
Importance of Rest and Resets for Optimal Brain Activity
Neuroscientific research into the importance of rest, exercise, and sleep is mounting. In particular, how these factors impact brain health, as well as physiological health.
Yet many of us struggle to balance these key brain health requirements with today’s busy and hectic lives. So many of us literally are running on empty! Countless studies in animals and humans show this is counterproductive to task achievement as well as can also harm the brain in the longer term.
Trade-offs in sleep and vital recovery time from information overload have been linked to early cognitive decline and dementia. Grid™ is designed to help coach people to honour this critical need for powering down by having dedicated space for self-care.
By tapping into the powerful learning machinery of the brain, Grid™ can reveal imbalances quickly. The framework will trigger auto-regulation or positive behaviour modification to stop self-harming behaviours (sleep deprivation, addictions, depression) sooner.
The Neuroscience of Brain Plasticity and Continuous Optimising
Neuroscientific research shows us that brains continuously remodel and adapt to our changing circumstances and specific needs. Nerve cells and circuits that get more use become stronger while others weaken through a process called neuroplasticity.
Grid™ taps into this key neurological process providing real data on what’s working and where the true blocks are. It helps one clarify what is desirable and what needs to change. This means that irrespective of age and circumstances, Grid™ practice can teach one a great deal about how one works and how one’s brain functions when it comes to motivation, task execution, and mood.
Such awareness can, in turn, be used to constantly improve. Here, conscious reflection and the regular practice of drawing new grids is key because it helps connect conscious (executive cortical networks) and less conscious (default network and brainstem circuitry) processes.
Neurobiological Safety that Fuels Effectiveness
From the moment we’re born, brain development thrives in conditions of safety, connection, and positive experience. The balance between support and challenge, between input, synthesis, meaning-making, and growth helps fine-tune brain function.
Grid™ follows the same process by inviting users to construct grids that are focused on meeting key neurological needs. Where learning and development naturally occur using the neuroscientific mechanisms we’ve looked at in this article.
Grid + Neuroscience in Summary
Taking advantage of what we know about brain functioning provides us with enough mechanical understanding to put this knowledge to use. Starting with how the brain develops and wires up, how information flows in the brain to influence cognition and learning, and also how the mind recovers from trauma and setbacks.
Grid builds on these neuroscientific insights and is able to support general effectiveness by helping us tap into these mechanics.
As well as the principles of neuroscience, Grid incorporates key psychological triggers in its foundations. To find out more about the psychology of the Grid, read the blog on how Grid Psychology Can Help You Live a Better Life.
Where to Next?
If you’re wondering how the Grid might work for you, why not take our Life Satisfaction Quiz?
The Grid Life Satisfaction Quiz is a guided reflection on the four Grid quadrants of your life.
Many people tell us that completing this quiz helped to clarify areas of their life where they felt they needed help. It also helped to highlight where they were already succeeding. We wish you similar gems!
Gift yourself 15-20 minutes to reflect on your life satisfaction and balance.