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Showing posts with label brain. Show all posts
Showing posts with label brain. Show all posts

BUFF YOUR BRAIN

 

In the last two decades, brain science has advanced to phenomenal levels. However, the fact remains is, whatever we discovered is only a tiny fraction of what there is to know about human brain !

Look at this 3 pound mass jelly which consists of 100 billion intricate network of neurons. Each neuron makes synaptic connection (points of contacts where information is shared between neurons) anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000. The permutations and combinations it could make is beyond the elementary particles of known universe. The fuel oxygen is 20 % of our total intake.

Numerous studies have been made on the cognitive abilities of humans which indicate that if we learn a second language, the cortical circuits that hold both languages, become active. The prefrontal cortex which is just behind our forehead, the so called CEO of our brain then steps in to choose the right word.

During brain anatomy studies, researchers observed that the gifted writers and poets may have excess connections between word and language areas of the brain. Likewise gifted painters and graphic artists may have excess connections between high-level visual areas.

Brain scans of London cab drivers gave an interesting insight. They have been found with larger posterior hippocampus, the region which files the spatial memories. These findings reiterate the fact that any skill can be cultivated by repetition which will not only improve our motor abilities but activate the non-mechanical parts of brain and fine-tune those abilities.

Brain is simply not a processing machine but a data warehouse. All the events of our life are stored in memory which is categorized into three kinds: procedural memory (new skills like bicycling), semantic memory (factual knowledge) and episodic memory. If we don't take enough care about what we are reading, seeing or hearing, it won't be retained in our mind.

Research also reveals that handwriting engages more sections of the brain than typing. It becomes easy to remember something written down on paper. So next time when your child faces any memory retention problems, ask her/him to write down which  solves the problem.

Scientists believe that our greater cognitive capacity comes from having more neurons or synapses. The compounds such as BNDF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) stimulates the production of new neurons and synapses. Physical activity gives enormous boost to the brain power. Walking 30 minutes a day stimulates the production of BNDF for creation of new neurons and synapses that underlie learning. Laboratory studies reveal that exercise increases grey matter in the region of the hippo-campus that processes new knowledge and dispatches it to permanent storage in the frontal cortex.

Meditation increases the thickness of regions that control attention and processing of sensory signals from the outside world. Indulging too much in gizmos will only lower our natural abilities. See how our mathematical ability has fallen drastically after the advent of calculators !

Engaging in constant activity will seriously jeopardize the brain performance. Those who want to ride with time should also listen that a nap in the afternoon not only restores brain power to its fully awake best, but can also raise it beyond what it would have been without some shut-eye. Studies also show that 15 minutes after-noon nap is ideal to refresh the mind. That's why the search engine giant Google went a step ahead in providing nap pods for their employees and others must follow the suit to increase the employee productivity.

The more you know about your brain, the more still remains to know. The old myth about human body as a structure should be replaced with what mind-body medicine expert Dr. Deepak Chopra calls as "Energy and Information Field.'

To put it in a flash of insight : an intention to excel in any activity is the prime driver to keep your brain at best!

TIME TO FLEX THE MUSCLES IN THE BRAIN

We are groomed in a system where books are treated more as an academic tool than life enriching experience. We see only a minuscule percentage of people who nurture reading as a habit beyond student life.

When I undertake journeys, it is appalling to see few people with books. In this respect, our Western counterparts are a wiser lot, because their society is more knowledge centric. This behavioral deficiency can be cured by taking a conscious decision to nurture the habit of reading as a daily dose to make life more blissful.

“Books” according to American critic E.P. Whipple, “are lighthouses erected in the great sea of time. “ Through reading, we get the endurance to accommodate the view point of others. Reading is more a sort of exercise to the mind. A book will give the necessary impetus to withstand the pulls and pressures of daily life. Books are messengers through which a person’s ideas, experiences and insights are shared with the whole world.

The great people of past have already recognized the importance of books. The Catholic archbishop, poet and writer François Fénelon sagely said “If the crowns of all the kingdoms of the empire were laid down at my feet in exchange for my books and my love of reading, I would spurn them all

Books should not be chosen casually as we are generally deceived by the title of books but be rather  intelligent enough to choose a book.  Then comes the task of ‘reading’. The ‘how’ of reading a book is better interpreted by Sir Francis Bacon: “some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested”.

Reading makes a complete man. Moreover, reading is not a passive activity. To read a book, you have to prepare the mind in that direction and a conducive atmosphere needs to be created.  The decisive factor involves in choosing a good book is to gaze into its reviews which form a central plank in deciding the fate of the book.

In fact the holistic approach for book reading is to take important notes in the course of reading that book which will aid  you  for future reference.  Book reading is not for sensual pleasure. The books that kindle our imagination and elevate our thoughts are the right kind to read. “No entertainment is so cheap as reading” says 18th century writer Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. We cannot bring any radical change in people’s perception regarding ‘books’ unless we first achieve cent per cent literacy.

According to UN Human Development Report - 2020, adult literacy rate of India is pegged at 74.4%. We are in shambles with regard to Human Development Index (HDI) which is 0.645 (Rank 131), lagging behind our neighboring island nation Sri Lanka which is at 0.782 (Rank 72).

A multi-pronged approach is needed to achieve the objective . Yearly Book Fairs that are now held only in some select cities need to spread to every district headquarter and a coordinated approach is required to attract local people. Moreover State Libraries need to be strengthened with adequate funds to mould them into ‘modern temples of knowledge’. School children must be nurtured to go to libraries and parents need to give them books as gifts for occasions. There is also a need for Self Knowledge Groups’ among students and other stakeholders for sharing of knowledge.

Other than governmental interference in the form of financial aid and policy planning, a parental approach will only bring a perceptible change. Otherwise we continue to remain in dirt.