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Last Updated on December 18, 2020

Neuroscientists Explain The Untapped Powers Of The Human Brain

Neuroscientists Explain The Untapped Powers Of The Human Brain

The human brain is a powerful tool that we sadly do not make the most of it. Humans generally, base our sense of judgment on emotions, in reaction to physical events. It is however interesting to know that most of the things we do every day in life do not need to involve our conscious mind. What this suggests is simple. There is an unbelievable power in the unconscious brain left to be tapped, just how do we tap this power?

Conscious actions vs Unconscious actions

Neuroscience research results have continually shown that there is a stark difference between performing an activity consciously and unconsciously. Conscious efforts involves burning a lot of energy and time, but it is necessary and an important training to get to the level of performing the activity unconsciously. Conscious efforts spent practicing daily, internalizes the performance of any activity and summarily makes the performance of such activity less tasking in future times. What is however surprising, is how much more people are failing to subscribe to this even as it presents more benefit on the long run.

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Taking effort to train the unconscious mind

“The non-conscious mind plays a much deeper role in our everyday decisions and relationships than we may realize.” Chris Baranniuk in this article points out the essence of training the unconscious mind to perform tasks effortlessly and in fast turnaround.

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Unfortunately, many grapple with the conscious mind in taking decisions, instead of training their sub-conscious to take charge and control their reaction to events and happenings. Training the sub-conscious gives you an opportunity to experience events in the mind first and this helps you prepare and learn how to react to these events in readiness for when they manifest in the physical. This is the truth behind the success of several athletes, designers, advertisers and even addiction to certain behavior.

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Making the most of the physical through the power of the subconscious mind

Our world is bi-layered. Events happen first on a sub-conscious level before they manifest. In light of this, there is an unprecedented advantage embedded in training your subconscious brain to help you gain conscious awareness of these events as they happen. This is a free access to creating the conscious from your subconscious. It may be challenging to get started, especially if the results do not turn out as expected initially, but I tell you that its benefits are far more tremendous.

“Our conscious mind are really just a summary of what our brains get up to all the time.” Through the subconscious, we can take unrestricted charge of what happens to us consciously. If you still find it hard to believe, or you think it is an unrealistic endeavor, then you should read the full article here for a start.

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Brian Lee

Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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Last Updated on January 12, 2021

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.

 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.

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.

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“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

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.

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.

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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]

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

Silence relieves stress and tension.

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.

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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.

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.

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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]

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

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