Dr. Jenny Brockis
Tell us a bit about your role
I work in the wellness area promoting brain fitness at all ages. I see my role as a brain fitness expert a bit like a brain mechanic, fine tuning people’s brains so they run better 🙂 As a former GP I became increasingly frustrated with the realisation we were always working upstream: dealing with the consequences of poor lifestyle choices or lack of coping strategies to deal with the fast paced, complex and challenging world we find ourselves in today.
I made a conscious decision to leave clinical practice to devote my time and energy to working down stream at the source. That led me to start up my Brain Fit practice in 2011. Today I work with business leaders, managers and educators to develop brain friendly cultures where all brains feel safe, respected and valued. That’s because I believe that is what really motivates and empowers us to stay healthy and operate at our best. I have found many people are interested in finding out more about their own brain and how it works. Building brain awareness provides the foundation for improving other brain functions such as how to pay better attention, learn more effectively, manage change, collaborate more and develop leadership skills.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
Gosh that’s a tough one because that is a mythical beast. However on thinking/researching/preparation days the morning starts with a 30 minute bout of exercise (walking or swimming in the am) and a 20 minute meditation practice. Then it’s a quick jump onto the computer to check email, load up a blog or brain fit tip or share an interesting article before having brekkie (home made muesli with fresh fruit and greek yoghurt) During the day I schedule my time into 60-90 minute blocks unless I am presenting or running a workshop. I always take a break for lunch and get outside when ever possible to see the sky and hopefully something green.
If possible I schedule meetings for the afternoons as the morning is my creative thinking space. My working day finishes when the family come home between 6 and 7 pm and start making hungry noises! My rule no work after 9 pm and I like to spend evening times with my family, perhaps take the dogs out for another walk or go for a power plate session. Whenever I can I unplug from my phone and computer – it helps to avoid feeling “always on”. This is a legacy from those early days as a junior doctor when “on call” with a pager that I often wished I could flush down the toilet when overtired and sleep deprived.
Do you have a particular area of clinical interest?
I’ve long been fascinated by the human brain, partly because it has always been a bit of a mystery until fairly recently. I always enjoyed exploring the psychological aspects that affect why we think and behave the way we do. As the area of neuroscience has evolved (in many cases providing the scientific validation to what was often previously believed) the area of social cognitive neuroscience has remained especially intriguing. You could call it an area of clinical interest, others might call it a bit of an obsession!
What do you enjoy outside of work?
Catching up with friends, catching a movie, and enjoying sensational food that someone else has cooked. I love being outside, enjoying the beach and spending quality time with my husband and two young adult children. My family are the reason I do what I do.
Are you an early bird or a night owl?
Definitely an early bird. I love the early morning light and getting outside when the world is still quiet and waking up (not quite so much in winter though!) It’s my best thinking time.
A favourite quote?
Hard to pick, but I think I’ll go with Maya Angelou.
“…people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
I love this because it is a beautiful reminder that we are human, and humans are hard wired to connect and relate with each other. The world would be a kinder, gentler and happier place if we could relate better, communicate effectively and be more compassionate towards each other. Too often we think we are humans that do, when the reality is we are humans that feel and our feelings trump anything we do.
What keeps you passionate about your industry?
Knowing that we can all do so much to change ourselves for the better using our wonderful plastic brains. I’m excited by the prospect for the future with the development of the brain-technology interface. Fundamentally I’m passionate about spreading the message that we can achieve optimal brain health and mental wellbeing using low tech techniques based on lifestyle. Mum was right after all. It’s about reminding ourselves we have permission to press the pause button to stop and reflect, and to reimplement all those things we know are best practice choices, but often fail to do, such as: eating healthy food, doing enough exercise, getting enough sleep, staying curious about our world and staying in touch with each other. Steve Jobs wanted to put a ding in the universe with Apple. We can make a far bigger ding in our universe to reduce future cognitive decline, dementia, depression and anxiety by choosing to become more brain fit.
3 words that best describe you....
Determined, Empathetic, Happy
Where can we find you?