Mind, Body and Soul / Education focus: Our Brain

Updated: Jan 24

The crazy start to the year is almost over ... for some. We are trying to organize our kids and ourselves, doing some year planning and brain storming. There are so many pressures around us already with so much on the to do lists. Sometimes, like the end of a year, the start can be a bit much too. I reminded myself, already a few times, that less is more and its ok to say no, (politely, off-course!). We are feeling so much better, though, than last years start. At the end of last year Omicron hit us like a ton of bricks, the old fears creeping in, I must say though- I do feel like it is the start to a new way forward, a less serious endemic phase - we hope!


February is the month of "love". As I have written before, I believe real love starts with you, so let this month remind us to take better care of ourselves. By doing this we are not only happier and more confident, we are better able to give love too! So where do we start?


Take care of our bodies

  • Drink enough water

  • Increase you intake of unprocessed, raw food

  • Plan you meals and stick to the plan

  • Get help when you need it, with a Doctor or Dietitian, Physiotherapist or necessary health care provider

  • .Get exercise and stay more physically active, climb stairs instead of lifts, park far away from entrances, every little bit counts

Take care of our minds

  • Practice gratitude - a good start and end to the day

  • Balance you time - in such a connected world our time is one of our most important resources, value it

  • Say no, thank you! Over commitment does not serve anyone! Prioritise what you value and let go of what you don't

  • Stimulate our minds with content that helps us grow as individuals, not content that breaks our spirit or depresses us. You are never to young or old to keep learning!

  • Question yourself and those around you, your motivations and intentions. In an ever changing world, we need to grow, learn and evolve. When you know better, do better.

  • This may the the hardest, but also the most important - accept your failings, learn from them, grow from then and then keep trying to be better.


Education Focus: Our Brain


Our nervous system is made up or two parts:

  • Central Nervous System (Brain and Spinal cord)

  • Peripheral Nervous System (all the nerves leading from the Central)


The brain is one of the most studied organs, yet still one of the least understood. What research has shown us time and time again is how powerful the mind/brain really is and that we have only scratched the surface of its potential.


Understanding the brain, our mind, is one of my favorite topics. I am always reading and listening to articles on better understanding it. Here are some fun facts:


  • The adult brain weighs about 1,5 kg, of which 75% is water

  • The brain will triple in size during our first year of life

  • Your brain continues to work while you sleep, especially during REM sleep and dreaming

  • Phantom limb pain syndrome is when the central nervous system continues to interpret impulses in the brain as pain in the limb that is amputated - the part of the brain that controlled the limb was not amputated!

  • A brain freeze happens when you eat of drink something very cold that chills the blood vessels in the very back of the throat causing constriction which open back up when warm - causing pain in the forehead

  • Your brain starts to loose some memory abilities/cognitive skills by your late 20's

  • Your brain uses 20% of the oxygen in your blood/body.

  • Information runs between neurons for everything we see, think, or do, these neurons move information at different speeds, the more a pathway used, the faster they become.


The phrase, if you don't use it you will loose it holds especially true in the brain. It is a constantly evolving organ, according to what YOU stimulate it with - cognitively and emotionally. Mindfulness is being shown to give enormous mental and cognitive health benefits. What you pay attention too, your thoughts and what you put in (watch, read, listen and study) become the faster pathways, become your default and you should make sure it benefits your whole well being.


Just like what you stimulate your mind with, will affect your thoughts and then deeds, what you stimulate your body with, will speed up those pathways too. The more you do something, the better you will get at it. This is the foundation of the 10 000 hours philosophy. The more repeatedly you do something, the faster the brains pathways for those movements or activities will activate and the easier it becomes.


So what is the bottom line? Feed your mind, body and soul with all the good stuff, affirm yourself daily, affirm your whole self. Your may not control everything, your genetic make up has power, but control the things you can because you have power too!


healthline.com

hopkinsmedicine.org


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