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How about a personal trainer - for your brain?
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How about a personal trainer - for your brain?

| Text: Carl-Gustav Lindén, Photo: Richard Nordgren

The Nordic Labour Journal can now add another job to the list of new occupations: ‘personal brainer’. The title holder is Finnish Reidar Wasenius. He recently made a 20 years old dream come true and opened a training centre for brains - BRIIM Center - in Helsinki.

Wasenius, who used to work with product development at companies like Nokia and Samsung, and who was a teacher before that, has spent the past few years concentrating on brain training. 

“I cried a bit this morning. This is something I’ve been thinking about for 22 years,” he says during the opening of his centre. 

Wasenius feels the demands on modern employees are unsustainable and that people need help to relax and recharge their batteries. 

People are expected to do many things simultaneously and still manage to perform each task to a high standard.

  • They must make quick decisions based on poor information.
  • They must constantly learn new things and remember a whole lot of details.
  • They must be creative and innovative under stress - while being expected to keep their motivation and be positive.

This is unsustainable and within certain trades, like in IT, employees are having considerable problems. 

“But I wanted to separate this from mental health. We work with people who have not been diagnosed with anything - we don’t promise anything - and we have not established any kind of centre of happiness.”

Briim man

Wasenius focuses on strategies and concrete methods which anyone can use in order to train their memory and increase their ability to concentrate and to be mentally present. Sound, light, smell, shapes, human contact - all means are allowed. Play and games are important ingredients even if Wasenius is not convinced that anything will do.

“Sudoku is fun, but can it help you in your working life?”

He is also keen to kill off certain myths, like the one saying people are creative and others are not, or that our memory deteriorates with age. 

Wasenius is convinced brain training, which mainly is about various types of learning, could become a protection against burning out. More than 100,000 Finns have been forced into early retirement because of metal problems or behavioural difficulties. They make up nearly half of all Finns on early retirement, and psychological problems are by far the most common reason. 

The idea is for BRIIM Center, which is full of Finnish design, to go international. Wasenius plans to open similar centres in the Netherlands, Singapore and in Germany.

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