Your Brain’s Save Button?
Yes, your brain has a save button and pressing it is almost as easy as clicking on the save icon in windows. Well, almost as easy. In order to understand how this works let’s take a look into the brain.
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New Seminar Coming
Evolve Your Brain: Brain Optimization
When: In the next month. Stay tuned.
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Where: 12168 S. 2795 W. Riverton
Topics will include:
How the Brain Works
Mirror Neurons and Empathy
Your Brain’s Save Button
Mindfulness and Imperturbability
Where do emotions come from?
Mammalian Brain – Lizard Brain
Coherence and Longevity
Breaking and Creating Habits
Addiction, including addiction to emotions
Do you think we can cover all of that in one night?
I am excited to discuss these topics with you.
Your Brain’s Save Button?
Yes, your brain has a save button and initiating it is almost as easy as clicking on the save icon in windows. Well, almost as easy. In order to understand how this works let’s take a look into the brain.
Your brain is made up of a lot of wires called neurons. Each wire, at its end, divides into many (sometimes thousands) of smaller wires called dendrites. In order for you to learn something, one or more of these dendrites have to connect or attach to another wire. You make new dendrites that make new connections all of your life. Neurons that fire together wire together.
Your brain has a learning unit as well as an association processor and an efficiency processer. When you encounter something new your brain makes all of the new connections necessary for you to remember the new knowledge or behavior. Your association processor tells dendrites (those little end wires) to seek and connect to anything that is similar to what you just learned. Now you have a broader context for what you know. You know how the new material fits into your world. We’ll explore the efficiency processor in just a bit.
So now, you’ve just learned a new behavior or some new information that is important to you; how do you get it to stick? This is where the ‘save button’ comes into play. A couple of things are important to ‘save’ what you learn. When you are acknowledged or complemented, when something works well, or when you succeed at something important or in keeping yourself safe your brain releases a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine is your ‘save button.’ It also makes you feel great. Dopamine signals the dendrites to make more permanent attachments. It is the “that’s important” signal. But, without some type of feedback the learning doesn’t seem to stick.
Let’s look at in another way. Suppose you are practicing basketball and someone puts their hand in front of your eyes after you release the ball. You get no feedback. No matter how much you practice, you won’t improve because you won’t know which shots were good and which shots were bad. The same is true with adults and learning. Just today I was on a teleconference and the instructor said, “You guys have great questions. I think you are doing fantastic!” She was giving us feedback that what we were doing was on track. Feedback, positive or negative, is critical to learning.
Our children are in the early stages of forming their brains. Every time you say to them, “Great job,” “I really like the way your do that,” or give some form of physical feedback, a touch, a squeeze, dopamine is released – the ‘save button’ is pushed and they learn a new behavior or a bit of information.
There are a couple of things that you can do or not do to help new learning become permanent learning. After studying a subject, it does not become permanent for about six hours. Those little wires (dendrites) take a while to solidify their connections. So before learning something similar it is best to sleep on the first material before tackling something closely related to it. Learning similar things competes for the same brain space and neither will get stored very well. Recalling what you have learned, that is, reviewing it, also improves retention. And, practice ensures that there will be permanent connections in the brain.
Remember I said the brain has an efficiency processor. When you practice a behavior or review some knowledge your brain gets the message that it is important so it turns on its efficiency processor. Actually what that means is the brain puts an extra coating on the brain wires. This extra coating makes that particular connection more efficient, like a coaxial cable for your television. That connection goes faster and static is reduced so you get better recall or performance.
So, if you want better performance, you need feedback regarding what you are doing. With feedback you can improve. If you want your children to learn and progress they also need feedback. Kind, positive feedback is easier to receive.
I would love to read your comments thoughts and inspirations.
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Why Do We Watch Scary Movies?
Why would anyone go to top of a steep mountain and tie two sticks to his or her feet, then go down the mountain as fast as possible, hoping not to run into any of the numerous trees, rocks or other people on the way down? … (Scroll down to read more)
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Why would anyone go to top of a steep mountain and tie two sticks to his or her feet, then go down the mountain as fast as possible, hoping not to run into any of the numerous trees, rocks or other people on the way down?
No, it’s not just to show off you your date or mate. It is for the same reason people take drugs. Only a little different.
People like psychoactive drugs because they all, including alcohol, either directly or indirectly, stimulate the reward center in the brain. This makes you feel competent, loved and that your life has meaning.
The problem with drugs, besides they are addicting, is that the feeling of being competent, loved and having meaning is an illusion. This feeling, is the same feeling, a natural high, your brain releases when you do something that would further your success as a human being. Here are some examples: graduate from school, start a business or find someone who loves you. When you do something that furthers life, your brain releases dopamine, your reward chemical, so your dendrites will make permanent connections and you will be more apt to do those kind of behaviors again. (See the accompanying article in this newsletter.) Dopamine is the success chemical, the signal to do a behavior again. That’s how we learn.
So why do you watch scary movies or ski down steep mountains or bungee jump or any other risky behavior. You do it for the feeling you get if you are still alive after it is all over.
The difference between drugs, risky behavior and real accomplishments is: drugs only give you the illusion of success and they are addictive, risky behavior does take hard work but sometimes is dangerous, where making real accomplishments in your life rewards you not only with dopamine but a better life.