The human brain is a product of millions of years of evolution and is a compact miracle of about 1,000 billion nerve cells forming a network that some scientists believe to be the most complex system to be found anywhere in the universe. The human brain is continually adapting and rewiring itself and is the source of the conscious, cognitive mind. It is constantly learning by trail and error, inducing conclusions from past experience and creating new methods to deal with the situations it comes across.
This insistent mental chatter is one of the main reasons it’s so hard to improve mental 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 by which the brain and mind work.
It’s good to know that the brain behaves much like a muscle. The more you train it the stronger it gets, so to make it more powerful you exercise it like you would a regular muscle.
To most people the brain does not feel as if it’s a muscle, it’s just an 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.
Craig Ramey of the University of Alabama states that the brain and education are almost synonymous. Children acquire new skills by rehearsing again and again until they can do it automatically. We need to practice regularly, or else we lose them. “Use it, or lose it” is as true for cognitive mental skills as it is for muscles.
Brain plasticity is the brain’s natural lifelong capacity for physical and functional change. Basically it is the mechanism that allows the brain to be molded or changed by learning and experience. Research has revealed that this ability to re-generate and re-structure brain cells is active throughout our 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.
The areas of your brain that you use the most grow stronger over time and get more ingrained, fixed and habitual as the years go by. In effect you become more of the same.
In order to keep your memory sharp, it has been thought that you have to grow new dendrites. Decades ago, it was discovered that we can grow new dendrites, the microscopic tentacles that reach out from each neuron to make connections with other neurons. If you repeat something you have learned, your neural pathways will become more and more efficient in that part of the brain. Work hard on solving logical problems, math and language to power up your left-brain. Work on abstract, spatial or emotional problems to make your right brain more powerful. And last but not least work on improving concentration, solving future related problems, multitasking and meta-cognitive tasks to develop your brains master muscle, the frontal lobes.
To exercise your body you go to the gym where you have specially made equipment to exercise and train specific muscles. The same goes for your brain. To exercise your brain you use “mental weights” to exercise and train the specific mental muscles you want to develop and make stronger.