Creating a Shared Positive Experience
“We first developed the ideas while picking strawberries in the community berry patch.
After college, a few of us who had joined together to form a wellness support network during undergrad began working in fields with increasing amounts of responsibility, very little direction or oversight, and in most cases, under the tutelage of leadership who had burned out or become resentful, controlling or predatory.
We wanted to compare notes to see whether there were trends or shared personality traits we’d all displayed that may have contributed to our circumstances.
As an avid enthusiast of the wellness app Happify, Monica proposed spending some time together and Rachel coordinated the berry picking trip as a deliberate attempt to do something proactive toward intentionally creating more space in our lives for positive experiences…you know, because ‘Science.’
We wanted to hard-wire a sense of agency and communion with one another because we knew that we could never move forward through these very challenging periods of our lives if we gave up or internalized our roles as victims.
We each listened to one another’s stories and realized that our combined experience in neuro-psychology, physiology, communications, design, behavioral economics, and organizational development created a rich and rewarding interdisciplinary dialogue surrounding research and wellness practices.
The conversation was very meta.
But what we found was that because we couldn’t seem to find those traits in the people and organizations we depended upon from our leadership, we weren’t going to find happiness if we didn’t take responsibility for creating it ourselves.
In an effort to cultivate empathy with one another, some of us had done quite a bit of research to better understand cognitively how aggressive and irrational behaviors were linked to poor decision making. The behavioral economics surrounding the sense of a loss of control, fear, and attachment were often attributed to learned helplessness, social dominance orientation, or unmet expectations.
Once we had a better understanding about the role that the ventromedial prefrontal cortex plays in regulating stress, our executive functions, and our sense of reassurance, we began to wonder how much healthier we’d be as a society if we increased literacy of how the brain impacts the way we make decisions.
It wasn’t, however, until we distilled these connections through the cognitive lens of functioning neurological systems, we were able to come up with really simple explanations of how we could use biofeedback to creating really sensible solutions to common life problems.
Lo and behold the work on our prototype began.
The NeuroTrust was developed out of the realization that many attitudes and choices could be analyzed by mapping neurological systems. We later learned that for certain populations, that education about individual behaviors wasn’t enough. We needed to make sure that we were listening to the feedback we received from vulnerable populations about the barriers they faced which limited the choices they had.
What we realized, was that in both the systemic and individual context, that information could be collected, mapped and measured to identify root causes to the challenges we witness that we would not have otherwise found working in silos. And that if we were able and willing to check in and explore these challenges in a collaborative manner, we could learn from the most impacted communities how we could be of service to helping them address some very complex and real, life challenges.
We’ve learned a lot since then about:
- health equity
- trauma-informed care
- participatory engagement
- user-experience design (ux)
- UDL and accessibility design
- project management
- and regenerative systems design.
Initially designed to be a functioning prototype, several life changes and skill sets later, theNeuroTrust became rebranded as a knowledge based platform for interactive web design, engagement and connectivity.
Perhaps this is what drew us all to fields (tech, design, neuroscience) in which we became co-creators in the shaping of own experiences.
The most obvious question that followed was ‘how do we invite more people to the conversation & build a peer community around it?’
We still have a long way to go. But we are definitely getting closer.
We invite you to Join Us and be a part of history as we make it…”