Although we’ve been studying it for decades, the human brain remains one of the biggest mysteries in our bodies. The NeurosculptingⓇ Institute was formed to help clients train and shape their brains — and in doing so, we also educate clients about neurobiology and neurophysiology. Here are a handful of surprising facts you might learn about your brain in a NeurosculptingⓇ program:
1. We use far more than 10 percent of our brain.
One lasting neurological myth involves the percentage of brain matter that humans actually “use.” A commonly cited “fact” is that humans only use 10 to 20 percent of their brains. In fact, every part of your brain is responsible for a different thought or life-maintenance mechanism. We might only use a certain part of our brain for movement or critical thinking, but there is activity throughout an entire (healthy) brain during a typical day.
2. Brain damage is not necessarily permanent.
Neurons, the processing cells of the brain, are amitotic — meaning they do not reproduce and divide like most other cells in our bodies. For a long time, the scientific community believed that the amitotic nature of neurons meant that any sustained brain damage was permanent; after all, if you can’t grow a new neuron to take over a damaged neuron’s job, then how will you repair the damage? The answer is through neuroplasticity. The connection/messanger space between neurons — known as synapses — can reroute to new, undamaged areas of the brain, and those new areas can “take over” tasks that were previously assigned to the damaged area.
3. You can manipulate levels of neurotransmitters in your brain without the use of prescription drugs.
There are several neurotransmitters that are important to human health and activity. As our understanding of neurobiology and neurophysiology has deepened, we have learned more about why certain substances have the effect that they do — and how to mimic those effects naturally. Scientists have found that meditation and mental entrainment techniques can detectably change the levels of certain neurotransmitters. We can intentionally spike dopamine, our feel-good neurotransmitter by thinking of something funny or cute, or intentionally spike norepinephrine by remembering a stressful event. It’s becoming clear that we have some say in the chemical landscape of our brain.
4. The food you eat affects your brain.
Certain foods support brain health more than others, and there are absolutely foods that are detrimental to your brain function. Recent research indicates that grain consumption has been linked to dementia, ADHD and many other maladies. Your brain’s energy and fuel requirements far surpass those of any other organ in the body; it’s the temperamental diva of the grand opera, and if everything isn’t set up exactly right, the diva will refuse to perform — or simply won’t perform to the best of her ability.
5. You have the ability to reprogram your thoughts.
Neuroplasticity is proof that we have a great deal of control over the behavior of our brains — more than many of us believe. The ability to reroute thought patterns, even those acquired in childhood, at a deep neurological level is a quite literally life-changing skill — and it’s a skill that can be taught and learned.
Our thought patterns influence our lives at multiple levels — in fact, for many people, their thoughts are the only things holding them back from their dreams. By harnessing neuroscience and pairing empirical knowledge with foundational meditation techniques, we can take charge of our brains and reshape them, eliminating boundaries and overcoming trauma.