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.