Friday, December 13, 2013

Holiday Survival Help: Use Your Brain

So how might the Theory of Cognitive Modes, explained in Top Brain, Bottom Brain, help you during the holidays?

First, identify your own habitual cognitive mode, and think about which mode best characterizes others who will be joining you this holiday season. A scientifically validated 20-question self-assessment test, which can be completed and automatically scored in just a few moments, is available at the official book site. It might be enlightening (and mutually enjoyable) for a group all to take the test. The test is useful as a spark for self-examination, and examination of others—and, as such, can lead to interesting insights.

Second, recognize that although it is difficult to change one’s dominant mode—that habitual way of thinking and behaving that generally characterizes an individual— it is possible to shift into another mode, based on circumstances. Having relevant knowledge is key. And merely being aware of the modes can also help: Not typically utilizing deeply part of the brain doesn’t mean that you cannot do so—it only means that you don’t habitually do so.

OK, now some practical suggestions for your best holiday gathering ever. Let’s say that Stimulator mode-inclined uncle won’t let up with those jokes. Funny at first, but when you’re into the third course and he’s still going… maybe not so funny.

Suggested solution: You steer the topic toward someone else at the table—perhaps a relative who seems to be acting in Adaptor mode, assisting with the meal but offering less to the conversation. Drawn out, that relative could not only contribute to the talk, but shift the dynamic of the gathering.

Read the entire "Finding Holiday Harmony and Avoiding Conflict" post on Simon & Schuster's Tips on Life & Love blog.

And for more relationship guidance from Top Brain, Bottom Brain, click here.

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