There is no doubting the fact that the human brain is a complex and incredible organ, responsible for controlling everything from how we feel to the way that we move. However, while we acknowledge its incredible importance in our lives, we often fail to realize just how incredible it is.
A true understanding of the human mind and how it operates can open doors to great success in your life, empowering yourself to make any necessary changes to optimize our efforts on a daily basis. Are you using the true power of your brain to propel yourself forward, or are you ultimately holding yourself back? In order to truly understand and embrace this, you must first understand just how capable it truly is.
Here are 12 incredibly things that you may not realize the human brain is capable of:
#1 – We Manifest What We Think About Most
Have you ever noticed that the moment you start obsessing over that tropical vacation in Jamaica, you start to see travel agencies advertising Jamaican vacations everywhere you turn? The idea of being able to manifest reality is one that has dated back over generations, and psychologists agree there is some truth to it. How does it work? That which you focus on may actually alter your perception. While there likely wasn’t an increase in Jamaican vacations being advertised, your perception led you to notice them more. This approach can also lead you to change habits or become the person you need to be to achieve specific goals. For example, if your thoughts are focused on how good you are at budgeting, you may actually notice your budgeting skills improving over time.
#2 – In Order to Remember, We Must First Forget
We have all been in that situation at one time or another when we look back on something and become frustrated that we can’t remember because ‘I know I knew that once’. The fact that you have forgotten something from your past may be annoying, but it’s actually an essential part of remembering. Is this confusing? Forgetting is actually a necessary part of the process of remembering as we are only able to retain and retrieve a certain amount of information at any given time. As such, our brain will make the decision to forget the less important facts and details in order to make room for those that we deem to be more important. The lyrics of your favorite song in high school holds far less importance long-term than the computer processes necessary for your job, for example.
#3 –The Brain Can Be Physically Changed By ‘Thinking’ It
This may sound completely crazy, but did you realize you can actually physically alter your brain by thinking the changes into existence? Each time we engage in a specific thought or way of thinking we create new neural connections within the brain. Therefore, if we can actually influence the makeup of the brain by controlling which neural connections are created. Focusing on positive thoughts that establishing our self-worth will, in time, strengthen and build up those connections while allowing the those associated with self-deprecation to weaken. In response, the brain will encourage us to find reasons to believe in ourselves rather than looking for reasons to tear ourselves apart.
#4 – We Don’t Tire From Mental Work
Have you ever heard someone complaining about how ‘mentally exhausted’ they are after a long day at work or school? While we are often led to believe that this feeling of fatigue is the result of thinking too hard, mentally straining our brains and essentially ‘wearing it out’ as we would the muscles in our legs from running, scientists have a different theory. What we are experiencing is actually referred to as ‘emotional exhaustion’. It’s your emotions that are wearing you out, not the actual mental work.
#5 – Most of the Brain is Used At All Times
This is possibly the biggest myth that exists regarding the brain and the way that it works. We are told that the average person only uses a really small portion of their brain, and therefore tapping into the larger, unused portion of the brain will give us a massive advantage. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. A study published in the journal ‘Frontiers in Human Neuroscience’ completely debunked this idea, using brain scans to prove that a good majority of the brain is used for even the simple actions that we do every day.
#6 – Your Brain Requires Exercise
From a young age, we have been pushed to believe that we need to engage in regular exercise in order to work out our muscles if we want to retain the same level of physical ability as we age. However, have you ever stopped to consider whether you’re offering the same level of dedication to your mental health? Much like the body, the brain requires exercise to continue to function at its optimal level. Examples include puzzles, playing music, and even the use of video games to encourage multitasking and problem-solving.
#7 – The Blurred Line Between Fact and Fiction
While we would like to believe that we have a clear understanding of the difference between what is actually happening around us in the world, and the lies that we are told, experts say that this line may not always be as clear as we would like it to be. In fact, studies show that our level of belief may actually be most closely related to what we’re exposed to repeatedly than what actually exists.
What does this mean? If someone were to show you the truth once, and a life 5 times, you are actually more likely to believe the lie moving forward than the truth. Unfortunately, this is a fact that many brands and organizations have come to understand and are working to their advantage, driving many decisions in the marketing world.
#8 – Your Brain Allows You To ‘See’ Through Your Ears
This may sound crazy, but it’s a fact that anyone living with visual impairment has experienced first hand. While we generally associate the concept of ‘seeing’ with just the visualization carried out by our eyes, studies show that our brain can actually adapt to compensate for those that lose their sense of sight. Rather than relying on our vision to see, the brain can actually rewire itself to receive and process sound as a visual aid. We actually envision the world around us based on what we are hearing.
#9 – No Rest For the Wicked
Your brain is incredibly hard-working, always on the go. While your physical body is given the opportunity to rest, relax and recuperate when you are sleeping, your brain isn’t as lucky. Instead, our brains actually become more active during REM sleep, the deepest form of sleep. The brain never actually shuts down or has the opportunity to rest, always on the go. Think about that the next time you wake up feeling refreshed.
#10 – Down Time is Essential
While the brain never completely shuts down, there are steps that you can take to lower the strain you are putting on the brain giving it a ‘break’ during which it’s working less than it would normally. Known to some as self-care, this is the quiet moment when we shut down for a little and just relax. Push the thoughts from your mind and embrace the silence, even if it is only for a moment. This is the closest thing you are going to get to a ‘rest’ for your brain, and it can be incredibly effective in helping to avoid the emotional fatigue we were talking about in point #4.
#11 – Your Brain Requires A Full ‘Cleanse’
If you’ve been interested in the ‘positive thinking’ concept, one that has once again been gaining popularity in our society, there is some background work necessary for success. First, you need to actually cleanse your brain of the negative thoughts from the past. Many of the thoughts you have today will actually be nothing more than a recollection of yesterday’s thoughts and feelings. Therefore, while you want to ‘think positive’ today, yesterday’s negativity is still going to dominate your mind. This may mean addressing the problems that are causing some of these negative thoughts.
Once you have completed your cleanse, it’s time to address one more big problem with the current ‘positive thinking’ movement. When you do decide to set your intentions, you need to focus on smaller, tangible goals in order to convince yourself to stick with it. If you wake up each morning and telling yourself that you’ll be the CEO of the company you currently work for, which is so far off in the distance, you likely won’t truly buy into it, therefore destroying the whole purpose of the exercise. Instead, start picturing that next promotion, or the big project coming up that you know you can blow away which will bring you closer to moving up. Make it realistic and tangible.
#12 – The Brain is Insensitive to Pain
If you were to accidentally cut your finger or stub your toe, you will instantly feel a sensation of pain. This is due to the process of messages being relayed to the brain, pain receptors letting you know that something happened and responding accordingly. This is a biological function designed to help keep us safe. If you touch something hot, for example, you will quickly recognize that it hurts and avoid continuing to touch it or holding onto the hot object, causing further pain. However, what you may not realize is that the brain doesn’t feel pain in the same way. In fact, the brain is so insensitive to physical pain that neurosurgeons will operate on your brain without applying any form of anesthesia to the brain tissue.