The initial years of our lives are spent in the development of different parts of our bodies. Our brain is one of them. As children, we do a lot of activities that contribute to our brain development. Activities such as colouring, solving puzzles, playing games and learning tables — all contribute to the development of specific parts of the brain.
However, as we grow up, we begin putting an increasing amount of pressure on our brains and forget to exercise our brains for continued development. It does not take an expert to tell us that, with the advent of mobile phones, the usage of the brain to remember anything has gone down significantly. We no longer have to remember phone numbers. Reminders and alarms also remind us to do all our tasks, and calendars remind us of important events. Additionally, scientific research tells us that the human attention span is only plummeting due to the increased social media activity.
All in all, technological and lifestyle changes have become one of the leading causes for altering the way we use our brains. Humans, as we know them, are becoming uncreative and slower by the day. But apart from technology, did you know, a lot of our daily activities also contribute to brain damage?
The Bridge Chronicle looks at different things we do every day that affect our brain.
To much sensory input
Does this ever happen to you? Trying to remember something like a restaurants name or a particular detail about a place that you might remember seeing, but just cannot recall? With increased screen time our brain seldom has the time to process everything completely. It is constantly overloaded with information that it may sometimes choose not to process some of it. That is why we find it hard to remember something that we have seen.
It may be surprising to you the amount of information that we go through every day. According to a report released by the University of California, San Diego, an average American consumes around 34 GB of data and information on a daily basis. Additionally, this data consumption increased by almost 350 per cent in the last three decades.
How do we fix it?
Instead of consuming short pieces of information, consume longer pieces. It's the classic case of quality over quantity. Additionally, put a cap on how much time you spend on social media. Also, indulge in non-technology based activities.
Did you know? When our ears get used to listening to sounds at a certain volume it is difficult to go back to normal. Especially since most of us now use portable speakers and wireless pods with noise-cancelling, our ears are accustomed to listening to music at a certain volume. This limits our brain's ability to hear sounds at normal volume. Which further limits our ability to store something in our memory.
How to fix it?
Avoid using earpods and speakers at all times. Try to focus more on listening to sound in their natural volume.
In one of my previous articles, I discussed the horrors of being inactive. It is not just detrimental to our body but also to our brain. Being inactive for long hours affects the way our brain functions. It throws our brain in a state of idealness, which is why it feels tired. Because it is underutilised. This also has a spiralling effect on our thought such as overthinking, anxiety and depressive thoughts.
How to fix it?
I would not suggest hitting the gym or an exercise regime. But taking time to move around and regularly choosing to
I know a lot of people who enjoy reality TV. They follow them episode by episode, and situation to situation. They are up-to-date with all the controversies and also well aware of all the unnecessary details of people lives. But do you know? Reality TV is like junk food for the brain. No doubt it's intriguing! And may also seem harmless in the beginning, but so does a packet of chips, I mean. But in reality, “Reality TV is junk food for our brain, and in the same way that junk food rots our teeth and makes us sick, bad reality TV rots our brain and makes us rude,” says psychiatrist Dr Marcia Sirota.
Nowadays, one of the most desired qualities in any job candidate is 'multitasking. That is also the advice I got from my manager at my first job — learn to multitask. And at that point, I thought, "Oh I really must train my brain to function like tabs on Google Chrome." But honestly, now that my brain does function in tabs, I realise it is not the most ideal way to work. If your brain is focused on too many things at one time, the amount of focus that each task gets automatically reduces. Leading us to be unjust to the task at hand.
Many researchers and psychologists also believe that if anything, multitasking only damages your brain and makes you waste more time.
The solution however is not to do more work, but to better organise your day. Time management is the key to mastering the need for multitasking. Divide your day into timeslots based on work and focus on one task at hand. This way, you are more focused on what you are doing, while still being able to finish everything on your to-do list.
Sugar is not only an enemy of our body but also for our brain. In our world of processed, packaged and instant food — it is very difficult to monitor how much sugar we intake. Even savoury treats have some amount of sugar. However, this does not mean that you completely go off sugar, rather it only means that you understand that excessive sugar intake has detrimental effects on our brain. A spike in blood sugar levels can cause abnormal blood flow patterns in the brain. This may cause mood swings, anxiety, poor concentration etc. But if we know to control how we eat, or what we choose to eat, we can improve how our brain functions.
If you think carefully, both our body and brain function in a similar manner and need an equal amount of care. For our body to function effectively, it is important to eat the right food, exercise and get an equal amount of rest. The same is with our brains. Eating the right kind of food, exercising and finding the time to rest our brains is very important. However, this form of awareness has more to do with conscious choices rather than active efforts. Sure exercising is an active effort, but most times the understanding is what matters more than the actual effort that we put in. Simply because awareness leads us to choose what's right for our body and brain.