Think Your Way to a Better Life

There is a revolution occurring in brain science. Not long ago it was thought that the brain you were born with was the brain you would die with and that the brain cells you had at birth were the maximum number you would ever possess. The brain was thought to be hardwired to function in predetermined ways. It turns out that this is not true.

The brain is not hardwired; it ,s soft wired by experience. It has been a common belief that our genes dictate our thoughts, our emotions, and our behavior. Throughout the 1980s and the 1990s, the press was fi lled with stories on how genetics predetermine everything we experience. There were also stories about identical twins who were raised apart but who nevertheless had the same mannerisms or favored the same color. Popular culture saw these stories as evidence of the power of genetic hardwiring

Nurtured Nature

In order to rewire your brain, the first thing you should do is learn how the brain works. Your brain works in response to and in relation to the world around you. We have moved far away from the old debate on nature versus nurture; now we are able to nurture nature.  Since your brain is not hardwired but is really  soft – wired, your experience plays a major role in how you nurture your nature. The brain weighs just three pounds, yet it ’ s one of the most advanced organs in the body. It has a hundred billion nerve cells, called neurons, and many more support cells. That ’ s equivalent to the number of stars in our galaxy

Let ’ s start with the brain ’ s architecture. The neurons are clustered in the parts of the brain that have been called modules: the cortex (the outer layer, which has two hemispheres), the four lobes, and the subcortical (below the cortex) modules

There has been a lot of hype about the character of the two halves of the brain.  Right – brain people were said to be more creative, even more spiritual than  left – brain people. The left – brain people were described as more rigid and picky. That hype, born in the 1970s, still exists, but many people who were instrumental in starting this fad have long since abandoned it.

The truth is that the two hemispheres work together in everything you do. The brain contains a band of fi bers called the corpus callosum that binds the two hemispheres together. It serves to connect distant neurons that fi re together, adding dimension and depth to everything you do and think.

Neurons and Their Messengers

Within all these lobes, hemispheres, and modules are a hundred billion neurons waiting to be used. They are highly social; if they weren ’ t used by working with neighboring neurons, they would die. Each neuron is capable of maintaining connections with about ten thousand other neurons. These connections change as you learn things, such as a new tennis swing, a new language, or the layout of a new supermarket.

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