In last week’s video – “The Learning Brain” you learned that the brain controls everything we do and is the center of all thinking, remembering and feeling. The brain generates up to 25 watts of power which is enough to illuminate a light bulb! The largest part of the cerebrum which is made up of two halves. The left half control the right side of your body while the right side controls the left side of your body. The “bridge” between the two hemispheres (halves) of the brain is called the corpus callosum. The cerebrum is where our short and long term memory centers reside and is also responsible for creativity and imagination. The cerebrum is what helps us to reason and solve problems. The brain is made up of 100 billion neurons – nerve cells that communicate with each other to make everything we do possible. Learning creates pathways between neurons. These pathways strengthen the connections between neurons the more we learn. Once we’ve learned a skill it becomes easier and easier to perform.
The brain is also where our emotions reside. Emotional states can impact the way we learn. Feeling threatened or worried causes the brain to release chemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol into the body. These chemicals will affect how we think, feel, and behave. Scientists believe that we learn best when we are happy and relaxed because this is when our brains process information most efficiently. Our brains ability to function well is also impacted by our diet – including hydration. Diets high in sugar and artificial chemicals found in processed foods can make it difficult to concentrate. Being tired, hungry, too hot or too cold can also affect the brain’s ability to work efficiently. When studying, it’s good to take short breaks and get blood flowing through the body with physical exercise. Exercise increases oxygen in the blood stream which helps neurons to fire.
In this video, we also learned that intelligence is not fixed and that it possible with effort and practice to become smarter. Challenging yourself and setting goals helps the brain to grow stronger neural connections. Over time, you will be able to do things that you may have thought difficult or even impossible in the past! Doing puzzles, reading, playing music, and drawing are some good ways to challenge and expand your brain.