In its normal state a healthy human brain is constantly active. Its constantly busy monitoring, adjusting and repairing the body in order to make it function with optimum efficiency. Out of all that activity arises the mind which is also perpetually busy and active in associating, sensing, perceiving, retrieving and storing data in order to keep you alive and well in a competitive and challenging society.
This constant activity is one of the biggest obstacles to good focus and concentration. It can be very difficult to focus and concentrate when thoughts and emotions are always interfering with our attention. But this is the normal way in which the brain and mind work.
If you don’t know it by now the brain works and behaves much like a muscle. So to train it you exercise it like you would a regular muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. To most people the brain does not feel as if it’s a muscle, it’s just a organ in the head that stores memories and enables thinking. But I assure you that with proper guidance and training you will soon discover that it behaves very much like a muscle. As you start to exercise it you will start to feel it. You discover that you can do more things with your brain and mind than you ever thought was possible.
How You Grow a Better Brain
Craig Ramey of the University of Alabama says that the brain and education are almost synonymous. Children need to rehearse in order to learn new skills. Without practice, new skills are lost. If you don’t use it you lose it; this is as true for cognitive skills as it is for muscles.
Brain cells, like muscles, need exercise in the form of education or other stimulating experiences to stay healthy. Researchers have found that the brain’s great capacity to physically change and become more powerful with experience – once thought to be limited to childhood – remains throughout life.
Mental exercise, scientists are finding, causes physical changes in the brain, strengthening connections between brain cells called synapses and actually building new connections. Such physical changes can occur within seconds, as when we shift attention, or they may take hours or days, as some memories are cast into the biological ingots that last a lifetime.
Research indicates that certain exercises can build up specific brain areas, and some scientists are setting up programs to use this new knowledge to help learning-disabled children. New research also shows that the aging brain retains much of the same capacity as a child’s brain to rewire itself.
When you direct your thoughts or attention to a given perception, you are activating specific areas of your brain. For example, when you look at something your occipital lobe fires up, when you listen to something your temporal lobe fires up, when you plan for the future your frontal lobe fires up.
In an experiment the subject was encouraged to touch a rotating disc with only the three middle fingers of its hand. After several thousand disk rotations, the area in the cortex devoted to the three middle fingers was expanded at the expense of that devoted to the other fingers. The same applies when you train a specific ability of the mind. The neural network which controls the specific ability grows in number and connections and the ability gets stronger, more efficient and precise. It expands and develops in maturity and capability.
The mental patterns which you use the most during your lifetime get more and more ingrained, habitual and fixed as you get older. In the terms of brain and mind activity, you become more of the same.
When you use your mind rigorously, the brain grows new dendrites. These are the thin branch-like structures that stimulate and carry information between brain cells. If you work hard on solving logical problems, language and math, you grow dendrites in your left brain and it gets more connected and becomes more powerful. If you work on solving abstract problems, spatial and emotional you develop your right brain and it grows to become more powerful. If you work hard on solving future related problems, multitasking, planning ahead, prospective memory, meta-cognitive tasks you develop your frontal lobes.
It may be hard to change new behaviors because you may have to make physical changes in your brain as your neurons and tendons grow. Challenges, problems to solve, exercises etc. all have the effect of forcing the brain to form more connections between brain cells, more tendons, enabling it to function at a higher level of performance.
To exercise your body you may go to the gym where you have specially made tools to exercise and train specific muscles. We have developed specific “mental weights” for you to exercise and train a specific mental muscle, the master muscle of your brain, your focus and concentration muscle.