Brain Functions: Develop both your left brain and right brain for maximum benefits
A Brain Development Challenge!
More than achieving maximum satisfaction from external sources or stimulants, humans should aim for inner balance or integration in order to abide in a stable and meaningful existence . We often hear of body-mind-spirit integration exercises to promote the balance that is sought. In fact, a variety of ways are available to make this happen- yoga, meditation, NLP, fun games, social interactions, music, etc. Obviously, any and all methods or techniques have to engage the brain since it is a major organ of the body. Integration starts from the brain. The plasticity of the brain is a scientific phenomenon. All man’s need to be able to live a fulfilling life are potentially available in the brain’s left and right hemispheres , provided, both sides are developed and integrated the best way possible. This is a challenge everyone should be willing and encouraged to undertake.
Brain as the central organ of the nervous system
"We all woke up this morning and we had with it the amazing return of our conscious mind. We recovered minds with a complete sense of self and a complete sense of our existence - yet we ever hardly even pause to consider this wonder." - Antonio Damasio via ted.com/quotes.
Now we pause to consider this wonder called brain.
- The brain is the central organ of the nervous system that is located within the skull in the head.
- Generally, the brain functions as the primary receiver, organizer, distributor of information for the body. It exerts centralized control over the other organs of the body.
- The human brain which is the most complex organ of the body has a left half and a right half, each of which is called a hemisphere.Each of these hemispheres has an outer layer of grey matter called the cerebral cortex that is supported by an inner layer of white matter. The two hemispheres are linked by a huge bundle of nerve fibers called corpus callosum. Smaller commissures also join the hemispheres and they function as transmitter of information between the two hemispheres to coordinate localized functions.
- Popular psychology broadly ascribes "logical" functions to the left brain, while the right brain is known for its "creative" functions.In a nutshell, below are the attributes they give to each of the brain hemisphere:
"[Images of the brain] are very beautiful, but they're also very powerful. They have great explanatory power." - Carl Schoonover (How to Look Inside the Brain)
The brain powers up the entire body and here's only a very few examples of how knowledge of these specific functions can be of great help:
1) For public speaking- As we prefer to use one hand over the other hand, we also prefer to use one side of our brain more than the other. For instance, it helps a speaker to know whether his audience is a left-brained or right-brained audience. Do they listen with their heads or with their hearts? Knowing this information beforehand, then, he can develop his speech and its presentation towards his audience' inclination. And in the process, both the audience and the speaker can benefit from this smart and keen observation or awareness practice.
2) For personal interactions, relating or communicating- In fact, this skill can be used and will be very beneficial as well in any relational exchanges or communications, especially so between husbands and wives, between parents and children, among friends, boss and subordinates, and so forth and so on. Does this person trust his feelings or thoughts? Relations can become more fulfilling and less stressful if people are aware of how other people in their lives, close or distant, tend to use their brains. Reactions can be largely predicated by this factor.
3) For adaptive movements- For neuro-scientist and engineer Daniel Wolpert the real reason for the brain is not for the common belief that is to think or feel, but to control movement as it creates the agility and grace of human motion. (If interested on this topic, watch his video at ted.com- the real reason for brains.)
Check which side of the brain you tend to use. View the video below.
Caring for and developing the brain
Best foods for the brain - If we want a sharp mind and alert mental function, we have to nourish our brains with the right foods. Here are examples of these top brain foods: blueberries (high in antioxidants), mixed nuts and salmon (high in omega-3 fatty acids), avocados (for healthy fats), flax seeds, coffee (without the creams and sugar), eggs (high in choline), broccoli, whole grains and chocolates.
Exercises for the brain - Our brains are sharpened and formed or developed by movements. Thus, doing regular physical exercise will serve the brain well. What is good for the body is good for the brain as well. Interestingly, below are some focused yet easy exercises that will help improve your brain functions. Practice makes perfect.
(1) Enjoy listening to soothing music to relax the brain. You may also want to memorize the lyrics of an unfamiliar song to boost memory function.
(2) Read more. Read books. Read magazines and newspapers. Expand your vocabulary. Be attentive to new words and understand their meanings. This will improve your language skills.
(3) Play challenging video games or do puzzles a lot. Perhaps, most adults have the idea that video games are only for kids or it is an activity that is just a waste of time. Cutting-edge studies has dispelled a big part of this assumption. Right video gaming can be great for the brain functions. Watch the video below.
Your Brain on Video Games
(4) Recall. Recall. Recall. Recall at least five items from a room or any place that you've been to recently.
(5) Change your routines once in a while. Reorganize your room. Change your curtains. Intersperse your walking with jogging.
(6) Socialize more outside in the physical world (not only virtually). Go and visit your friend. Chat! Chat! Chat!
(7) Meditate regularly- either sitting or mini meditations daily. Or, practice mindfulness like mindful eating, mindful walking, mindful anything. In the video below, Sara Lazar, a neuroscientist explains well how a regular meditation practice can reshape our brain for more adaptive, longer and a happier life.
(8) Get enough sleep- Sleep well. Sleep tight. Your brain needs enough sleep and sufficient rest period to function well during waking hours. According to studies, the early part of sleep has the greatest positive effect on the brain recovery.
Favorite brain quotes
"This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness." - Dalai Lama
"Plants don't have a brain because they are not going anywhere." Robert Sylwester
"To let the brain work without sufficient material is like racing an engine. It racks itself to pieces."- Arthur Conan Doyle
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