“The human brain is the most fascinatingly organized three pounds of matter on this planet.” -Schiller, 2008
I am pausing my studies in this moment to share with you some really amazing facts about our brain!
Did you know that the brain continues to grow throughout the life cycle? Or that a baby’s brain is the most powerful learning computer on the planet? Pretty cool, huh.
According to the latest brain research findings by Cengage Learning (2011):
- The brain is strongly run by patterns rather than facts. The key to our intelligence is the recognition of patterns and relationships. We learn best when we develop the learning around “themes”. Plan some kinds of “immersion learning” that will encourage you to go deeply into your play and work.
- Stress and threat affect the brain in many ways. Emotions run the brain, bad emotions reduce the capacity for memory and understanding, as well as reducing higher-order thinking skills. Good emotions create excitement and love for learning. Create a peaceful environment in your home and work. A secure environment counteracts the problems that may occur when the stress regulation mechanisms are triggered too often. Good emotions enhance the memory. For me personally, the number one cause of my stress is when I think about things that happened in the past and how I could’ve done things differently. It sends me to a bad direction–I am basically flooding my body with cortisol every time this happens. The answer to why I do this is simply because it is part of the human condition. My current professor at UCLA said that we can’t control the things that has already happened but we can control how we react to it (This is a great mantra!) The brain is like a video recorder that records everything that happened to us in our life, it gets stored in our memory and we remember it when it is triggered by an event in our present.
- The brain runs better when food intake is regular. Insulin levels stay more even, cortisol levels are lower, and glucose tolerance is better. Diet activates memory. Be sure to include foods that are rich in proteins (meats, nuts, cheese), omega-3 fatty acids, and selenium and boron (leafy green vegetables), as well as enough restful sleep so that the brain can reorganize itself. Regular snack times lead to better cognitive functioning and an enhanced sense of well-being. A well nourished person is more likely to be successful in learning and thinking than those that do not eat on time. Our brain needs good fats so it can continue producing newer cells.
- All learning is mind-body. Our whole body is a sacred temple. Our physical state, our posture, and breathing affect learning. Our brain is designed for cycles and rhythms. Practice makes permanent, and memory is kept more accurate when information is revisited. If you want to get good at doing something, take some time figuring out the pattern, learn how to recreate the process, and repeat the process over and over until you have mastered it. Create a balanced lifestyle, if you work hard, be sure to add activities that are rewarding to you.
TRY THIS: Get the brain actively working by practicing Conscious Competence (this term was introduced to me two weeks ago by my brilliant teacher, Dr. Andrews). Understand what you are learning and why you are learning it. It empowers our minds and our well-being when we are aware of the reason why we are doing the things that we’re doing. So go ahead, start getting even more curious!