JEAN-CHRISTOPHE BEAU : “The brain needs breaks”
My Mental Energy Pro, the first multilingual library of microexercises in mental training, helps you better understand your brain to develop your capacities… Notably concentration. Meeting with one of its founders, Jean-Christophe Beau.
Where did you get the idea to create an application focused on well-being and efficiency at work ?
At the time, we regularly used mental preparation techniques, as well as anti-stress exercises, for the sales teams and the managers. We found it interesting to bring all these methods together in one place. We thought of an application, so that people would have this help with them all the time. There is also the impact of my meeting with Gaël Allain, PhD in cognitive sciences. He says: “To be at work and avoid mental overload, you have to learn to better manage the huge flow of information we face. Indeed, this mental overload is the first cause of stress, exhaustion, burn-out… It is also about helping people gain concentration. This is where we added the “concentration and cognitive skills management” section.
What is the application ?
It is a library of videos, audio files and texts adapted to situations at work. Users can also perform a self-diagnostic to find out if they are managing their mental load well, with personalized advice based on their answers.
So you only target companies ?
The application mainly concerns the workplace. Then I know that some students use it. Concentration obviously affects areas other than work, but we are addressing companies. The priority of situations, vocabulary, etc. are adapted to the work setting.
How to practice mental ecology on a daily basis ?
First of all, it means becoming aware that our attention resources remain limited. They are not infinite, and can run out several times during a day. Today, the brain is unable to process the entire flow of information to which it is exposed. We must therefore prioritize: think about what we will focus on first, avoid interruptions (reduce notifications, pop-ups, etc.). Each micro-interruption exhausts the brain and parasites attention. In fact, the mind needs to recover, so it is necessary to make regular (about every hour) micro-pauses of 3 to 5 minutes. These breaks are an opportunity to do nothing, not even consult a smartphone, and let thoughts wander. We call this a “time of attentional pause”. The brain needs these micro-pauses where reflections come and go. It’s like a smoke break, but alone and without cigarettes, walking, listening to a story, or music. Moreover, it is in these moments of relaxation that the brain digests emotions, memorizes, produces good ideas and solves complex problems as well as possible.
You speak of music as an aid to concentration. Yet, since it is a sound, isn’t it precisely a “parasite” for attention ?
It has to be music without words. Otherwise, it gets attention. Music, and only music, allows you to be in your bubble, in your thoughts. It’s like being in a crowd… You don’t listen to a brouhaha. The brain only hears variations, it does not pay attention to repetitive noises. For example, in an environment like the open space, to tire less, it is better to listen to sounds or music adapted.