How Brains Wire for War or Prepare for Peace

      13 Comments on How Brains Wire for War or Prepare for Peace

Are you wired for war when conflicts strike? Have you ever heard military personnel speak as if they’d walk into a bear cave in spring with a steak strapped to their foot? Or do you lean toward peaceful possibilities to take care of pesky problems when they arise?

Both war and peace strategies are learned behaviors and both grow with practice.  As a citizen of both countries, I see the United states as wired more for war along with boast of clever military maneuvers, while Canada prides itself more on a love for peace along with expertise in its mission. It’s a matter of choice at first but eventually it’s based more on habit.

Imagination and word choice at first …

How we imagine war affects the way our brains wire to support or reject it. Replace words such as war on terror with peaceful expressions that grow stronger communities, and our brains shift from expectations of violence to proposals for peace. Yes, even across differences. Imagine a place of prosperity where no brain is left behind, and you’ve spawned a peace possibility.

Peaceful interventions rarely follow rhetoric for battles though, and often come in brain based bits. We all suffer through a country’s growing addiction to fix-it-with-violence trends, just as we can all benefit from caring and peaceful solutions?  War’s opposite to holding out a mental olive branch, yet some insist peace is mere fantasy and myth, suggesting that without war bullies will benefit.

Some say peace offers a natural escape from our broken world. I say it not only rewires brains,  but can blast open communication to rewire for togetherness where all benefit. What do you say?

Check out facts about war and peace as they germinate in the human brain:

1. Visuals matter: Images of violence or caring change your brain’s plasticity to engage in more. Have you noticed that violent responses are far more popular than highly intelligent peace plans to heal our nation?  Recent research shows that repeated media violence diminishes the brain’s response for solutions.

2. Nations can change mentally: It’s possible to rewire our collective brains, as Ireland’s leaders discovered when they made a conscious decision to increase the country’s prosperity through peaceful means. It took a radical risk for leaders to promote peace in exchange for violence that Irish people had grown accustomed to. What would it take in our nation?

3. Enemy or amity zaps morale: Increasingly people claim to dislike their workplaces, and indication is everywhere that people see more cortisol hormones being spread at work, than serotonin or the mental chemicals for well being. The National Institute of Mental Health reported well over 58 million people suffer from anxiety disorders.  Have you noticed growing anxiety in your circles?

4. Brains are hardwired for challenge: The mind can adapt to peaceful plans past differences through actions that engage opposing views on controversial topics. People who learn the art and science of disagreement tend to ask, “What if…?” and engage tools such as brainstorming, listening, admitting mistakes, trying out other people’s ideas, and evaluating alternative solutions that remove guns from the equation. Act vulnerably or compassionately and serotonin becomes the brain’s fuel to find common ground together.

5. Flame wars create stress: Harmful chemicals such as cortisol surge with flame wars where people fail to step back and consider value from an opposing view.  Good tone, on the other  hand, enables people to communicate understanding and prosperity across differences. Consider the wide mix of intelligences that benefit groups who create a peaceful climate to challenge  high-impact minds.

Since human brains rewire for war or peace depending on what we do daily – how might you and your circle reflect peace that trumps battle plans of the past?

100 Peace Prompts that will stretch brain power, add refreshing new activities to celebrate Veterans Day and foster peace building strategies that work well.

20 Questions to amp up peaceful character, will help to build talented and peaceful leaders.

Debate both sides with brain based tools – to heat up both sides as you articulate strategies germane to both war and peace.

YOUR TURN! Join our Brain Based Circles! Would love to meet you at any of the following!

Brain Leaders and Learners Blog
Mita Brain Center Facebook
efweber on Pinterest
@ellenfweber on Twitter
ellenfweber on Instagram
Ellen Weber on Google+
Ellen Weber on LinkedIn

Created by Ellen Weber, Brain Based Tasks for Growth Mindset