Nicola Morgan

Author, Speaker, Supporter

Understanding and Supporting Your Teenagers – few spaces left and I’m not doing it again!

Ten Ways to Build a Brilliant Brain – 5

The fifth of ten quick posts about TEN WAYS TO BUILD A BRILLIANT BRAIN which comes out on Aug 4th. I’m giving away free copies – see here – and insights from the book.

For previous posts in this series:

  1. Grow Brain Connections
  2. Fuel Your Brain
  3. Be Active (NOT “DO Exercise”)
  4. Sleep Well

Today’s way is Make Friends.

How does making friends and other human connections help your brain become brilliant? The human brain is strongly wired to make connections with other people so there must be an evolutionary advantage. And sure enough, humans overall do better both individually and as a species, when they collaborate. (We can also have great ideas and success working alone but even then we have benefited from shared knowledge. And if you have a success or idea, what’s the point if you have no one to tell about it afterwards?!)

For as long as homo sapiens has been on this planet, we have benefited by sharing knowledge, skills, shelter, work and play. We could not produce enough food on our own and if we tried, we wouldn’t have time for maintaining our shelters, doing any job, or any of the myriad activities that fill our days. We would not have built machines and buildings, harnessed electricity, developed medicine – and the list goes on. Also, very importantly, if we lack a network of human connections, our mental health suffers. Loneliness is a big deal in mental health.

Your brain does better when it is not lonely – even if sometimes your brain does need to be alone. Mine certainly does!

But Ten Ways doesn’t just explain that, it also does two other very important things: reassures those who prefer being quiet and often feel unsociable (they will not suffer as long as they do take a few steps to build necessary human connections) and gives lots of simple, fun ideas for how you can make friends with the right people for you and how you can access those people who will be on your side.

Today’s tip: Let’s do my Know Your Team activity from the book. There are two parts.

  1. Think about the following sets of people in your life and write down the names of the people who you feel positive about, people you like seeing or who make you feel happy if they greet you by name. They are your team.
    • people in your household
    • friends at school
    • friends who live nearby
    • friends who live far away
    • relatives who don’t live with you
    • adults who work at your school or work or youth group or elsewhere
    • people from other places you’ve lived, worked or studied
    • any other people who make you feel positive
  2. Then pick five people from that team and think about a time when they made you feel happy, positive or good in some way. Which ones would you talk to if you felt down? Or if you needed help or advice? Or if you wanted to share something exciting? Spend a few minutes being grateful for your connection or friendship with them.

I’m giving you a day of rest tomorrow. Next post will be Monday. You can spend tomorrow building one or more of your friendships – or maybe making a new one!

* * * BOOK GIVEAWAY * * *

For a chance of winning one of FIVE free signed copies of Ten Ways to Build a Brilliant Brain, add your comment beneath at least TWO of the numbered Ten Ways posts. Today is number five. Details/rules here.

Look out for TEN WAYS in your local bookshop. And if you don’t see it there, ASK! You can pre-order from Bookshop-org from my own page and if you do, you help independent bookshops AND me! Thank you!

4 Responses

  1. I wonder do the connections that YP have online count in the same way as IRL? My guess is that it’s better than nothing, but my 19 y/old just never wants to meet up IRL, so different to my young adulthood!

    1. Yes, they definitely count. They count as much, in my view, but not in exactly the same way. Some relationships work well online but less so in person. What matters is whether they genuinely feel that they can get and give support to that connection. Online friendships are not enough on their own, though – there’s a value and a skillset in managing face-to-face – but they do count. You might be interested in my book Life Online.
      Thanks for your comment!

  2. Lockdown has made friendships very difficult and going back to school a real challenge. Being able to socialise again has made a huge difference.

    1. I agree, although online friendships also make a big difference and are way, way better than nothing. They are not always easy to manage either, for different reasons.
      yes, I think going back to school, work, “normal” life has been difficult for many.

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