Did you know that when you are awake you have enough energy buzzing in your brain to power a light bulb? That’s around 10 to 33 watts. Our body is an electrical miracle! It’s a delicate and complicated machine. Our brain is the intricate operating center for the nervous system, which is continually collecting data from the environment, storing it, and processing it for us to function. Our very own three-pound computer is the most complex organ in the body and is far superior and intelligent than ANY laptop or fancy desktop.
The human brain is the size of a small cauliflower and it has a wave-like undulating pattern with over 100,000 miles of blood vessels circulating throughout. The brain produces and floats in cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) within the skull. The CSF provides a cushioning effect for mechanical and also immunological protection. The brain actually feels no pain because it has no pain receptors. The brain is divided into four lobes: parietal, occipital, frontal and temporal lobes. Each area has various sophisticated tasks, for example, skin sensation in the parietal lobe, and processing visual information in the occipital lobe, along with many, many other vital responsibilities. The lobes communicate with each other seamlessly through 100 billion neurons/nerve cells, which also communicate with each other. They send signals across synapses where neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) are released dependent on the pattern of the neural impulse. These neural impulses code our thoughts, actions and experiences. They continually reorganize the structure and function of the pathways enabling our brain to respond efficiently and effectively to our environment. This explanation barely scratches the surface of the detail involved but you get the idea. The bottom line; our brain has the ability to change in response to our experiences! So cool! Therefore we have the capability to re-wire our computer through our actions and attitudes to formulate new habits.
Back in the day it was believed that once the brain developed in early childhood, it remained the same throughout our lives. We now know that is not the case. The human brain is continually modifying cell quantity, revising circuitry, and altering its chemistry based on everything we do, experience, think, and believe. This is so significant and profound, it has the name: “neuroplasticity.” Neuroplasticity is the combination of two words: neuron, which is a nerve cell and plastic, meaning malleable or changeable. When you learn a new activity like playing the piano, a movement pattern in physical therapy, a foreign language or a yoga pose, the body and brain are challenged. The neural circuits start to fire repeatedly in the corresponding areas of the brain to that particular function. With practice the synaptic connections become stronger and the skill becomes easier. We have the power to keep our brains sharp and vibrant. If we protect our brain from damaging habits, feed it nourishing fuel, and give it ongoing stimulation we are capable of learning new skills well into our 90s. Now that really is cool! The gift of longevity keeps giving.
With love and learning,
Amanda Kriebel // @amanda.kriebel