Advertising
Advertising

Why The More Often You Expose Yourself To The Unfamiliar, The More Your Brain Will Grow

Why The More Often You Expose Yourself To The Unfamiliar, The More Your Brain Will Grow

A new day starts and your brain is like a fully-charged battery- fully active- but as the day proceeds you become overloaded and drained because of streams of information. The world can be overstimulating with ongoing tweets, Facebook flashes, emails, radio, television, and attention-grabbing billboards. By the time the clock says that it’s time to go home you shuffle along like a zombie.

With this daily information influx, how can you develop and expand your ability to learn?

Advertising

Step out of the world through meditation.

Release your mind and let it wander away from task-related thoughts. By “letting go” you boost the capacity of your brain to retain information and to perform at a higher level. Breaking out of your regular routine and rigid structure inspires creativity and allows the brain to recharge.

“Empty your mind of all thoughts. Let your heart be at peace.”- Lao Tse

Stress and tension from excess mental activity are released by meditating. Relaxing the mind and body is crucial to reaching a thoughtless state and for relaxation. Meditation decreases the overload of “noise” in the brain which has been shown to improve memory and scores on intelligence tests. It has many positive effects on memory such as regulating alpha rhythm brain wave[1] – crucial to reducing the volume of distracting information. According to research studies on mindful meditation, brain cells use waves or frequencies to regulate the flow of information like radio stations that broadcast at particular frequencies. The alpha rhythm is particularly active in the cells that process touch, sight, and sound in the brain’s outermost layer, called the cortex, where it helps to suppress irrelevant or distracting sensations and regulate the flow of sensory information between brain regions.

By allowing yourself to become fully immersed during meditation, the brain makes deeper connections and the ability to recall information is enhanced. Silence, or the sounds of nature, relax the mind. Watch your thoughts drift away and breathe away the tension.

Advertising

Get distracted!

There are times when you need good concentration. Those may just be the right times to take a drive or get away to the nearest coffee hangout. Although this may sound counter-intuitive, a slight level of distraction can sometimes be the perfect formula for creativity and heightened focus according to a study in a consumer research journal.  Humans are social creatures. Being in the vicinity of others (on the road or in a coffee shop) can be psychologically reassuring enough to allow better concentration than being solitary.

Advances in neuroscience have good news for all music lovers. Music activates every part of the brain.[2] Music is a universal healing tune that can uplift your mood,[3] motivate you, and even help you to concentrate.[4]

Advertising

Take on a challenge!

Get out your surfboard and take on the waves or go bungie jumping. If you are not ready for an adventure of that sort, there are other relatively simple challenges that can be done from the comfort of your couch. Challenging your brain can be as simple as thinking of names of famous people that begin with the same letter. Even a crossword puzzle or board game stimulates the brain. Research indicates that unlike being glued to a television set, surfing the web activates complex reasoning and decision making. While watching television is passive, the virtual world is interactive and boosts brain power.

Confirm that booking! Venture forth.

Boosting brain power comes from new experiences. Examples include learning a foreign language, learning how to play a music instrument, participating in community activities, and traveling. With the memories of unforgettable experiences, the benefits of travel endure.

Advertising

Neuroscience Professor Huganir described the brain as a circuit board where new experiences create brand new circuits.[5] Emotional peaks with electro-chemical connections causing heightened emotional states can facilitate memory and learning, so turn up those emotions as you step out of your rut and into the unfamiliar.

Reference

More by this author

Nena Tenacity

Screenwriter ∕ Filmmaker

Here Are 30+ Easy High Fibre Breakfast Ideas You Can Try At Home How To Fight Inflammation? Ginger And Other Foods That Can Cure Inflammation! A Wholesome Diet Is What You Need to Gain Happiness: 30 Natural Low-Carb Foods 10 Best Healthy Snacks That Even Gym People Eat When They’re Hungry! Want A Quick Yet Healthy Breakfast? Avocado Toast Is Your New Breakfast Idea

Trending in Brain

1 Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains Than We Think 2 How to Improve Your Memory: 7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways 3 What Causes Brain Fog? (7 Things You Can Do to Prevent and Stop It) 4 How to Improve Your Brain Memory Naturally: Foods to Eat And Skip 5 15 Ways Meditation Benefits Your Brain Power and Your Mood

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on June 6, 2019

Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains Than We Think

Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains Than We Think

In 2011, the Finnish Tourist Board ran a campaign that used silence as a marketing ‘product’. They sought to entice people to visit Finland and experience the beauty of this silent land. They released a series of photographs of single figures in the nature and used the slogan “Silence, Please”. A tag line was added by Simon Anholt, an international country branding consultant, “No talking, but action.”

Eva Kiviranta the manager of the social media for VisitFinland.com said: “We decided, instead of saying that it’s really empty and really quiet and nobody is talking about anything here, let’s embrace it and make it a good thing”.

Finland may be on to something very big. You could be seeing the very beginnings of using silence as a selling point as silence may be becoming more and more attractive. As the world around becomes increasingly loud and cluttered you may find yourself seeking out the reprieve that silent places and silence have to offer. This may be a wise move as studies are showing that silence is much more important to your brains than you might think.

Regenerated brain cells may be just a matter of silence.

c021f7eaf726bd5dbe1d0771e21e9a8e

     A 2013 study on mice published in the journal Brain, Structure and Function used differed types of noise and silence and monitored the effect the sound and silence had on the brains of the mice.[1] The silence was intended to be the control in the study but what they found was surprising. The scientists discovered that when the mice were exposed to two hours of silence per day they developed new cells in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a region of the brain associated with memory, emotion and learning.

    Advertising

    The growth of new cells in the brain does not necessarily translate to tangible health benefits. However, in this instance, researcher Imke Kirste says that the cells appeared to become functioning neurons.

    “We saw that silence is really helping the new generated cells to differentiate into neurons, and integrate into the system.”

    In this sense silence can quite literally grow your brain.

    The brain is actively internalizing and evaluating information during silence

    066f12d4b43c32a9a66c692b52826153

      A 2001 study defined a “default mode” of brain function that showed that even when the brain was “resting” it was perpetually active internalizing and evaluating information.

      Advertising

      Follow-up research found that the default mode is also used during the process of self-reflection. In 2013, in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Joseph Moran et al. wrote, the brain’s default mode network “is observed most closely during the psychological task of reflecting on one’s personalities and characteristics (self-reflection), rather than during self-recognition, thinking of the self-concept, or thinking about self-esteem, for example.

      “When the brain rests it is able to integrate internal and external information into “a conscious workspace,” said Moran and colleagues.

      When you are not distracted by noise or goal-orientated tasks, there appears to be a quiet time that allows your conscious workspace to process things. During these periods of silence, your brain has the freedom it needs to discover its place in your internal and external world.

      The default mode helps you think about profound things in an imaginative way.

      As Herman Melville once wrote,[2]

      Advertising

      “All profound things and emotions of things are preceded and attended by silence.”

      Silence relieves stress and tension.

      da47b0582836795829a5b6b716a314f1

        It has been found that noise can have a pronounced physical effect on our brains resulting in elevated levels of stress hormones. The sound waves reach the brain as electrical signals via the ear. The body reacts to these signals even if it is sleeping. It is thought that the amygdalae (located in the temporal lobes of the brain) which is associated with memory formation and emotion is activated and this causes a release of stress hormones. If you live in a consistently noisy environment that you are likely to experience chronically elevated levels of stress hormones.

        A study that was published in 2002 in Psychological Science (Vol. 13, No. 9) examined the effects that the relocation of Munich’s airport had on children’s health and cognition. Gary W. Evans, a professor of human ecology at Cornell University notes that children who are exposed to noise develop a stress response that causes them to ignore the noise. What is of interest is that these children not only ignored harmful stimuli they also ignored stimuli that they should be paying attention to such as speech. 

        “This study is among the strongest, probably the most definitive proof that noise – even at levels that do not produce any hearing damage – causes stress and is harmful to humans,” Evans says.[3]

        Silence seems to have the opposite effect of the brain to noise. While noise may cause stress and tension silence releases tension in the brain and body. A study published in the journal Heart discovered that two minutes of silence can prove to be even more relaxing than listening to “relaxing” music. They based these findings of changes they noticed in blood pressure and blood circulation in the brain.[4]

        Silence replenishes our cognitive resources.

        049da49ea55fb677185adba10795f01f

          The effect that noise pollution can have on cognitive task performance has been extensively studied. It has been found that noise harms task performance at work and school. It can also be the cause of decreased motivation and an increase in error making.  The cognitive functions most strongly affected by noise are reading attention, memory and problem solving.

          Studies have also concluded that children exposed to households or classrooms near airplane flight paths, railways or highways have lower reading scores and are slower in their development of cognitive and language skills.

          But it is not all bad news. It is possible for the brain to restore its finite cognitive resources. According to the attention restoration theory when you are in an environment with lower levels of sensory input the brain can ‘recover’ some of its cognitive abilities. In silence the brain is able to let down its sensory guard and restore some of what has been ‘lost’ through excess noise.[5]

          Advertising

          Summation

          Traveling to Finland may just well be on your list of things to do. There you may find the silence you need to help your brain. Or, if Finland is a bit out of reach for now, you could simply take a quiet walk in a peaceful place in your neighborhood. This might prove to do you and your brain a world of good.

          Featured photo credit: Angelina Litvin via unsplash.com

          Reference

          Read Next