10 Ways to Know If You’re Performing at Your Mental Best 10 Ways to Know If You’re Performing at Your Mental Best Photo Courtesy of Discover Magazine The brain represents three percent of your body’s weight yet it consumes about twenty percent of the body’s energy. Believe it or not, your brain is firing when you’re pouring coffee and walking to the water cooler. Your brain is even active when you sleep. But just because your brain is working doesn’t mean it’s working well. Since getting ahead in this world requires some brainpower, it’s important to pay attention to what’s happening with your grey matter. Fortunately, if you find that you aren’t performing at your mental best, there are some things you can do. First, let’s identify whether your brain is performing at its best. Here are ten ways to know whether your mental energy is being used well. 1. Your decisions are balanced between emotion and logic If you find yourself making purely emotional decisions, you may not be performing at your metal best. People who are mentally strong understand that the best decisions are based on equal parts emotion and logic. Try not to make any important decisions while you’re feeling a powerful emotion, such as anger or grief. 2. You face fears head-on Mentally-strong people don’t let fears hold them back. They understand which fears must be confronted and they face them head-on. It’s true that some fears, like standing at the edge of a 12-story building, are valid. Other fears, like starting your own business or writing a book, are based on personal insecurities. If you think your insecurities are holding you back, it’s time to strengthen your mental aptitude and charge forward. New experiences improve brain function, so there’s no way you’re performing at your best if you are stuck in the status quo. 3. You’re comfortable with change You’ve probably encountered someone in your professional career who has an extreme resistance to change. Not only is this person holding himself back, but he also stands to handicap the entire company. It’s clear that extreme resistance to change is unproductive, but we’d all be wise to see where we may be resisting in our own lives. The strongest women won’t waste a minute on the resistance. Instead, they’ll jump straight to adaptation mode. 4. You learn from your mistakes A Psychological Science study found that people who believe they learn from their mistakes have a different brain reaction to mistakes than people who don’t. The difference seems to make sense from a logical perspective. Wouldn’t you be more willing to try something if you have something to gain regardless of the outcome? If you succeed, you get everything you wanted. If you fail, you win by learning something. 5. You show gratitude while striving for more Results from a NeuroImage brain scanning study suggest that the more you practice gratitude, the more gratitude you will feel over time. When gratitude replaces feelings of ungratefulness or apathy, you make room for more positivity in your life. 6. You’re constantly working on yourself A PsychCentral study suggests that you may be able to strengthen the medial prefrontal cortex by learning new ways of doing things. The medial prefrontal cortex is the area of the brain that is believed to be responsible for noticing details outside of a person’s immediate focus. People who are mentally strong understand that there’s always room for growth. To strengthen your mental performance, consider kicking any bad habits or addictions you may have and focus on positive growth. 7. You start your day with a cup of coffee If you’ve heard mixed things about consuming coffee, you’re not alone. The key takeaway is that it has benefits when consumed in moderation. And it may also have brain-boosting effects. A British Nutrition Foundation study found that coffee has positive effects on mood, cognitive function, and performance. If you’re not a fan of coffee, you may get some of the same effects from caffeinated tea. Photo Courtesy of The Blog Abroad 8. You plan regular vacations Mentally healthy people may know how to work hard, but they always find time for play. It’s important to achieve a work-life balance that works for you. So if you’re starting to feel too stressed, it may be time for a vacation. Even the act of planning a vacation can boost your mood, according to a 2010 Applied Research in Quality of Life study. If you truly cannot get away, at least plan some vacation time close to home. 9. You play to your strengths Doubts and fear can really hold a person back. The strongest among us know to tackle their strengths before moving on to more challenging tasks. Even small achievements can boost your confidence enough to help you tackle more difficult projects. 10. You’re comfortable relying on other people When you are performing at your mental best, you should be comfortable letting go of the reigns a bit. You understand that one person cannot handle everything alone. As people, we need relationships to survive. If you’re comfortable delegating and relying on others, you’re showing positive mental aptitude. The brain is a powerful organ that’s responsible for virtually everything we do. If you want to succeed in work and life, evaluate whether you’re performing at your mental best and make improvements if necessary. Trevor McDonald Trevor is a freelance writer and recovering addict & alcoholic who's been clean and sober for over 5 years. Since his recovery began, he has enjoyed using his talent for words to help spread treatment resources, addiction awareness, and general health knowledge.