National Brain Awareness Week takes place from March 14th to 20th 2022. So this week, let's talk about brains. What they're made of, how to mind your brain, and about how to keep the brains happy.
Let's start by looking at the matter of brain itself and at a few interesting facts about the human brains. .
Our brains are made up of approximately 75%-80% water.
The remaining 20%-25% is solid tissue, out of which 60% is fat content.
A newborns 0.4kg brain grows at least to 80% an adult brain size by the age of 3 years.
Some gender differences have been noted for average brain weight, with brains of women weighing approximately 1.25 kg and men's brains averaging about 1.35kg.
However bigger does not mean better, Albert Einstein's brain weighed only 1,230 grams, which is less than the average adult brain. We may never truly know, what goes on in another persons mind, but we do know that no two brains are exactly the same. Considering the complexity of a human brain, it's easy to see how our brains are as unique as our fingerprints.
Human brains contain approximately 100 billion neurons, give or take a few billion
Each of these neurons is connected to 100's to 1000's of other neurons by synapses
These synapses are not fixed and they can can change with experiences.
The junctions between neurons can change in strength.
New synapses can appear as new connections are made.
Synapses can disappear due to various reasons
In some regions of the human brain brand new neurons can be born throughout a persons lifetime.
The billions of neurons and trillions of synapses allow our brains to adapt and learn according to experience, making neuroplasticity possible. Considering the brain as a complex control center, we also have to ensure that we provide it with regular maintenance, to keep it functioning well
We can develop neuroplasticity by engaging in mentally stimulating experiences
We can increase the oxygen rich blood flow to the brain by keeping psychically active
We can mind our mind by minding what we eat, by aiming to eat well and to hydrate
we can protect our brain by avoiding using legal and illegal substances known to be harmful to human health, such as widely consumed alcohol and tobacco products or other neurotoxins
We can physically protect our heads from injuries by wearing a helmet when required to do so for our own safety
We can build social networks as human minds and brain health may benefit from social connections
It's not only important to look after our physical brain health, but also our psychological wellbeing, as mental illness is often associated with changes in the brain's structure, chemistry, and function.
Look after your mental wellbeing by doing the things in life that keep your mind happy and your brain active.
Look after your mind by connecting with others, just like the neurons in our brain we need a network of support around us, so that we can improve our functioning over the lifetime.
Sometimes we also need to ask for help from others to cope with all of life's circumstances and challenges. Looking after our mental well being will keep our brains protected from damage and decline.
Because of this brain's amazing ability - neuroplasticity- to change and adapt as a result of experience, things we experience in life can change the brain and its functions.
There are some experiences that may damage the brain health or cause cognitive decline. Not everything is under our direct control throughout our lives, however there are some things we can do to mind our heads that house our brains, and we can mind our minds.
Some of the experiences that we come across during lifetimes which may be damaging to our brain health include, but is not limited to:
Head injuries, small and big, internal and external
Malnourishment and dehydration
Unhealthy habits in our everyday lives
Environmental contaminants that we cannot avoid
Sleep deprivation or quality of sleep
Lack of mental stimulation to keep the brain active
Neurotoxins that are known to damage the brain
Stress which over time can alter the brain
Illness which leads to decline in brain health
Traumatic life events that alter the synapses
Now that we've covered some things that may hinder brain health, there are also many things we can do in our every day lives to promote neuroplasticity, such as:
Engaging with Art, Music, and Dance or exploring own creative potentials
Meditating to improve mental state and functions
Keeping minds active by learning new skills, reading books from various genres or switching between dominant hands to help the brain create new connections
Taking enough time to rest from the hustle and bustle, getting adequate sleep , making time to unwind and destress, having tie to connect to others
Rewiring your brain with Neurofeedback Training, to improve the mental functions or to alleviate symptoms of mental health problems.
Sometimes we also need a little help to build on our internal resources towards becoming the person that we wish to become and towards building the life that we wish to have.
At Dublin Mind Clinic, we are committed to helping you build on your internal resources towards becoming the person that you wish to become, by providing a holistic approach to your body and mind through a range of services.
If you would like to know more about Neurofeedback Training, Integrative Psychotherapy or Complimentary services, please visit ww.dublinmindclinic.com for details.