Creativity and Your Brain

Creativity is a process that involves three thinking patterns: Verbal language, music and math, as well as visual thinking. Verbal creatures thrive on words. If you can, for instance, imagine a world without words. Just how the brain functions was somewhat of a mystery, until recently. Little was known about how the brain processes creativity, about what functions are involved in the creative processes.  One facet of a creative mind is mind wandering. If one so chooses to do so, wind wandering can function as an escape from boredom. It is well to know that, at least for once, something that some of us partake of could be construed as ‘excapism.’ Along with this understanding, you might be pleased to know that mind wanderers score high on creativity. Mind wanderers  have been shown to be highly creative. However, while mind wandering is a healthy thing, it is good to be conscious of when one’s mind is wandering and make some attempt to catch the creative idea(s).  Mind wandering is generally best in small doses. This brings up a most interesting quote I once heard the Bealtle’s made. The lot of them were asked, ‘what taking LSD and various halucinogenics was like/about. The seemingly predominant response was, “Great. Marvelous. We could see so many things about life…phenominal insights about life, others and ourselves. The difficulty was that most of the time, we couldn’t wirte down or remember our experience.” My note: For those of you doing biological brain research, find a way for one to remember and perhaps ‘live’ one’s ‘extraordinary’ experience(s), when and if one so wishes.

Different brain areas are specialized for different functions. Listening to another’s voice for instance involves the temporal lobes, while watching others involves the occipital lobes. Thinking about lecture points involves the frontal lobes.  Emotional responses to others’ words involves the right hemisphere and the limbic system. The two hemispheres, left and right, are highly specialized . The left hemisphere is more important for verbal and symbolic processing, and it is the main language center for reading, writing, speaking and calculation. James Thurber’s ‘The secret life of Walter Mitty‘  is a good example of how the left hemisphere can function as an escape from boredom. The left hemisphere also analyzes the right visual field and controls the right hand. On the other hand, the right hemisphere is important for processing information such as reading a map and driving in unfamiliar surroundings. It is also involved with emotional perception and expression of language, such as sarcasm. The right hemisphere helps analyze the left visual field and controls the ‘other’ hand.


How You Think Is How You Live

In the ancient Hindu text, the Bhagavad Gita, it is written, ―The mind acts like an enemy for those who don’t control it. 

We cannot control life, but we certainly can control our experience of it. The amazing thing is that when we control our experience of life, or how we respond to life’s challenges, we seem to create the life we desire. It is an infallible Law.

As Jesus said in Proverbs 23.7, ―For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.

If we can manage to trust that good is coming of a situation no matter how bad it appears; if we can know that order is coming no matter the appearance of chaos; if we can speak words of gratitude even when there appears to be nothing to be grateful for, then we will have dominion over our lives (emphasis mine). It is at that point, we will have the life that we desire. The Buddha gave us a poetic yet completely logical explanation of the infallible workings of the Law:

The thought manifests as the word;
The word manifests as the deed,
The deed develops into habit;
The habit hardens into character;
So watch the thought and its ways with care,
And let it spring from love born out of concern for all beings…
As the shadow follows the body,
As we think, so we become.

“To learn how to think is to learn how to live” because our thoughts go into a medium which is infinite in its ability to do and to be. Our thoughts are the seeds we are planting. Explore the seeds we can plant now that will support the evolutionary harvest of good

Make An Effort: Increase the Power of Your Brain

Too Old For Your Brain To Develop? Afraid Not!

You are able to take an active part in influencing your brain’s plasticity. The brain is dependent upon your experiences and will continue to evolve throughout your lifespan.When you make an effort, you are able to increase the power of your brain. Plasticity enables your brain to change in response to experience. Understanding plasticity is key to knowing how your brain develops.

You must understand how your brain works, in order to improve your brain. The brain is highly organized. Understanding how it develops, and how messages are transmitted through your brain’s electrochemical pathways is key to understanding how you are able to play a role in your brain’s continued development. To quote Neuroscientists, “cells that fire together wire together.” Maintaining and enriching your brain’s circuits, much as one maintains friendships, enables those circuits to endure. Neglect will surely cause neuro-circuits to disappear, much as neglected friendships cause others to ‘disappear’ from our lives.

Your environment plays a key role in the continued development of your brain. Tests show that the brains of animals, when provided with toys, companions, and spacious living conditions, grow additional brain cells. In humans, an increase in intelligence, emotional health, and adaptation is dependent upon the richness of environmental stimulation, and is NOT limited to early development. Your brain is modified in every moment by your activities and thoughts. Unlike hair and eye color, intelligence is not something you are born with and cannot change. The development of your brain is a dynamic process that you are able to influence by choices you make.

Want to make a difference in your brain? Then develop proper diet, excercise and sleep regimens, as these are critical for optimal brain functioning. It has been said that, “what is good for the heart is good for the brain.” When we cut down on empty calories, we avoid obesity. Tests have clearly shown that obesity is a risk factor for late-life dementia and other cognitive deficits. Regular excercise brings about positive changes in the brain function. More sleep leads to positive results: High-achieving students characteristically get more sleep. Power naps have been shown to enhance memory consolidation and cognitive performance.

Attention: The Key To Developing Your Brain

Attention, focus and concentration are the necessary efforts you must marshal, if you wish to  improve your brain’s performance. These aspects are, to the mental sphere, what endurance is in the physical sphere. In order for an athlete to perform optimally, endurance is required. You are more likely achieve a superpower brain as a result of focusing, concentrating and/or bringing attention to your mental energies. Otherwise, just as the athlete who has no endurance, your mental capacity will not develop to its full capacity. In your current culture, two key factors that must be managed, if you are to succeed, are distraction and multitasking. You are more likely to learn and remember something when you bring attention to it. Your power to retrieve and use information is directly proportional to the how much you learn and remember.

The reason it is important to remember information rather than simply retrieve it via a Google search is because the activation and retention of circuits within the brain contribute to the brain’s optimal functioning, which is brought about as a result of the act of remembering something. Deliberate efforts to improve memory can overcome the over reliance on electronic information aids. Over reliance on electronic information aids can result in a disuse atrophy of your memory powers. Future writings will reveal how to enlist all of your senses in exercises and techniques that can enhance brain function in visual imagery, imagination, and long-term memory.

The key to the most important mental operation carried out by the human brain, manipulating stored information, is short-term memory, also known as working memory. Improve your working memory and you increase your intelligence. This has been shown to be true in standardized tests and indirect measurements such as occupational achievement and creativity. The key to improving performance and creativity in all areeas of human endeavor, including work and play, is deliberate practice.

Modern technology can be used to improve brain function. Technological aids can be thought of as co-extensions of your brain, and can act as brain boosters. The laptop computer, much as the earliest writing instruments, functions as a powerful and refined electronic extension of the brain. In general, and when wisely used, video games can help you notice more, concentrate better, respond more quickly, and acquire specific real-world skills.

Challenge yourself to learn new information throughout your life. If you do so, you will build up what is referred to as cognitive reserve. Much like monetary reserve: The more you accumulate during your lifetime, the less susceptible you will be to deficits in your later years. The more education and knowledge one acquires over a lifetime, the less likely one will be diagnosed with dementia in later years. There are definite steps you can take to enhance your brain function. A more in-depth look at ‘cognitive reserve’ will be included in future writings.