Gnome The Ruler and The Secret of Your Prefrontal Cortex
Science has always been my favorite kind of voice.
I love the way it talks about the brain, its plasticity, its limitations and other aspects of its functioning.
We all have it and we all use it, so we just have to know more about it.
But I am not a scientist.
I am a writer!
So, I am going to talk about it as a writer of my kind would.
Lift your hand up to your face and put your palm on your forehead.
This is where the story of today’s conversation begins.
This is where your prefrontal cortex is.
What is prefrontal cortex
Prefrontal cortex is a very important part of your brain that sits right under the skull of your forehead and is responsible for your conscious interactions with the world.
It is a room where decisions are made, problems are solved, goals are set, and different kinds of thoughts are generated.
More so, it is where our creativity inhabits.
It is where all those fabulous stories that only exist in the world are coming from.
In fewer words, prefrontal cortex is where your true social self lives and manifestation of self as such comes from.
A few years ago, I had a severe loss of concentration and in some way, conscious responses to the world around me.
It was like sleeping with open eyes. Like being a friendly but hardly responsive zombie.
My ability to learn new stuff rocketed down and most of the time I struggled to recall even the things that were said to me just a moment ago.
It was then I had a six-months of writing block that put me in a repetitive reality where I would wake up and sit for hours trying to produce at least a few sentences.
I felt like a complete loser.
When I tried to think, it ended up with a cricket’s noise in my ears.
It was the first time I knew what brain fog really was about.
It was a complete inability to live, respond, and process social life.
But there is something I wish I knew back then.
Such a severe collapse of my abilities happened not because I was hopelessly dumb. It was all because something stopped working well in my prefrontal cortex.
Caused by a lot of biological factors as well as by a bunch of psychological ones that condition became my long-lasting nightmare.
Even more so, because I had no idea what it was and how to handle it.
Now, if your prefrontal cortex is a room where so many important processes happen, there must be something or for us, creative minds, someone to manage those processes. And this is exactly what we are going to talk about here.
Meet Gnome The Ruler
Let’s see how it works.
Inside the room (your prefrontal cortex) lives someone (gnome) that manages all the important processes happening there.
But those processes are not easy.
Especially so in the environment of constant multitasking, distraction, and daily load of pressure and responsibilities.
In order to keep up with the demands of high-tech world, the gnome needs a constant access to glucose to stay fit and active for the job.
But sometimes, despite how much glucose the gnome receives, its work just does not go well and you stay face to face with inability:
to focus on important things
to respond wisely and rationally to the world around you
to be productive
and even to stay enthusiastic about the things you do in your life.
That is when the brain fog can easily swoop you up and carry into the land of losers, or rather to say into the land where you will feel like a loser.
How to cheer Gnome The Ruler up
As I said before, sometimes, glucose is all it needs.
This is why they recommend to grab a bar of chocolate when going for an intensive intellectual work.
But when connecting with the gnome becomes hard on daily basis, glucose might be simply not enough.
For this case, I have developed some tricks that help me to nudge the gnome and activate my prefrontal cortex.
These are easy tricks that you can use anywhere at any time.
Nudge it with a palm
Use your palm to give a slight push to the gnome and remind the ruler that it is time to rule, damn it!
Turn this simple action into a habit.
Now, each time you struggle to focus or think properly, stop for a moment and press your palm to your forehead.
Give it a slight push.
You will feel like all your awareness goes to the area beneath your palm and sometimes, this is all you need to make the gnome get back to work.
Use your facial muscles
I am serious!
Put that stiff, lifeless, emotionless expression of your face aside and let your inner child (or inner crazy you) to take over for a few minutes.
Make faces or smile so wide that each muscle on your face is forced to move up.
This is actually beneficial not only for activation of your prefrontal cortex but also for uplifting your mood and energy level.
Just do it!
You can smell that candy you have hidden in your desk for times when the gnome in your prefrontal cortex needs glucose.
You can smell plants or flowers outside your office.
You can smell long cold coffee in your cup.
It can be anything.
I have a few of my favorite essential oils always in my bag or on my desk which always helps me through hard times when I struggle to concentrate or think clearly.
It is actually marvelous how a mere sniff of something pleasant can recharge the gnome slacking around in your prefrontal cortex.
I have been using these simple tips for almost year now and it significantly improved my ability to handle occasional brain fogs and manipulate my own focus more efficiently.
Have fun and make sure from time to time to give a nudge to the gnome living in your prefrontal cortex to stay active and responsive to the social life around you.