For a gray organ that can’t move on its own, the brain sure is a force to be reckoned with. The phrase “mind over matter” isn’t just a figure of speech–it’s possible. Our brain is so powerful that it can override feelings of intense fear, pain and panic if it gives us a better chance at survival.
Sometimes our amazing mind-body connection is obvious, like when we’re finally able to dunk a basketball or catch that buzzing mosquito. Other times, we barely notice the tireless work our brain does to keep us safe, happy and healthy. That’s because our brain is hardwired to make decisions on our behalf in mere fractions of a second. We may assume we’re doing things out of impulse or habit, but it’s just our trusty old brain, constantly working to save time and free up mind-space for other more important stuff.
But what about the times when our brains seem to leave us in the lurch? Like when we lock our keys in the car, or forget a really important birthday? Most of the time, these lapses can be explained by something we did to the brain ourselves (poor thing!). A bad diet, too little sleep, and too much time in front of a screen can all have detrimental effects on the organ we need so much.
The good news is, the brain doesn’t hold these things against us. It’s ready to change when we are.
“…unlike in the days of old — when scientists believed the brain was “fixed” after childhood, only to start an inexorable decline in the middle to later years — today, research is showing that the brain is perfectly capable of changing, healing and “rewiring” itself to an unexpected degree,” explains this Care2 post about things that affect brain health.
“It turns out that the age of your brain may be a lesser influence on its structure than what you do with it. Pursuits that require intense mental focus, like language learning, ‘switch on’ the nucleus basalis, the control mechanism for neuroplasticity.”
You don’t have to be a neuroscientist, brain surgeon, or psychologist to know more about how the brain works. Scroll through the infographic below for 10 facts of everyday psychology that prove how lucky we are to have a brain! (Click to view a larger version)
Image via Thinkstock