I don’t know about you but I remember being told as a child: “Do your best”, “Try your best” and questioned: “Is that the best you can do?” I worried a lot that I wasn’t trying hard enough or I should have done better. Whether that led me to being a “perfectionist” (which some will dispute) I’ll never know. After reading about the neuroscience research what I do know is, from now on, I’m DECIDING to strive for GOOD ENOUGH.
Alex Korb, UCLA neuroscientist, maintains: One thing to try is making a decision about what’s got you worked up. It doesn’t even have to be the perfect decision; just a good one will do.
“. . . Trying for the best, instead of good enough, brings too much emotional ventromedial prefrontal activity into the decision-making process.”
“In contrast, recognizing that good enough is good enough activates more dorsolateral prefrontal areas, which helps you feel more in control …” Korb: “Actively choosing caused changes in attention circuits and in how the participants felt about the action, and it increased rewarding dopamine activity.”
Making decisions includes creating intentions and setting goals:
- Decisions, intentions & goals – all three are part of the same neural circuitry and engage the prefrontal cortex in a positive way, reducing worry and anxiety.
- Helps overcome striatum activity, which usually pulls you toward negative impulses and routines.
- Changes your perception of the world — finding solutions to your problems and calming the limbic system.”
“A key thing here is that you’re making a conscious decision, or choice, and not just being dragged to a resolution. Your brain gets no reward for that.”
“If you’re still reluctant to make a choice between one option or another, the science suggests don’t worry, you’re likely to gain a positive bias toward the decision you make anyway.”
“We don’t just choose the things we like;
we also like the things we choose.”
Alex Korb, UCLA neuroscientist author of The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time