You’re driving to work one day when you suddenly wonder, Did I turn off the stove? You begin to mentally trace your steps from earlier that morning, but you still can’t remember turning it off. You probably did…but what if you didn’t? Your anxiety begins to build as the image of the stove catching on fire pops into your head. Just then, the person in the car in front of you slams on the brakes. you clutch the steering wheel tightly and hit your own brakes hard, stopping just in time .your whole body is active with as surge of energy and your heart is pounding, but you’re safe. You take some deep breaths. That was close!
Anxiety it seems is around us. If youcarefully consider the events in the scenario above, you’ll notice that they illustrate two very different way that anxiety begins: through what we think about, and through reactions to our environment. This is because anxiety can be initiated by two very different areas of the human brain: the cortex and the amygdala. This understanding is the result of year of research in a field known as neuroscience, which is the science of the nervous system, including the brain.
The simple example above, involving both the imagined stove and the braking car, two separate pathways in the brain can give rise to anxiety, and each pathway needs to be understood and treated for maximum relief .In that example ,anxiety was aroused in the cortex pathway by thought and images of the risks of leaving the stove on all day .And information from another anxiety-producing pathway, traveling more directly through the amygdala, ensured a quick reaction to avoid rear-ending another car.
Everyone is capable of experiencing anxiety through both pathways. Some people may find that their anxiety arises more frequently in one pathway than the other. As you will have to understand recognizing the two pathways and handling each in the most effective manner is essential. Lets us scientific ways to modify circuits in each pathway in order to make anxiety less of a burden in our life. we can actually change the pathways in our brain so that we are less likely to create anxiety.
The most exciting parts of the brain when it comes to neurogenesis — and this is the hippocampus. So this is this gray structure in the center of the brain. And what we’ve known already for very long, is that this is important for learning, memory, mood and emotion. However, what we have learned more recently is that this is one of the unique structures of the adult brain where new neurons can be generated. And if we slice through the hippocampus and zoom in, what you actually see here in blue is a newborn neuron in an adult mouse brain. So when it comes to the human brain which produces 700 new neurons per day in the hippocampus. .
So why are these new neurons important and what are their functions? First, we know that they’re important for learning and memory. if we block the ability of the adult brain to produce new neurons in the hippocampus, then we block certain memory abilities. And this is especially new and true for spatial recognition .We are still learning a lot, and neurons are not only important for memory capacity, but also for the quality of the memory. And they will have been helpful to add time to our memory and they will help differentiate very similar memories, like: how do you find your bike that you park at the station every day in the same area, but in a slightly different position?
So activity impacts neurogenesis, but that’s not all. What you eat will have an effect on the production of new neurons in the hippocampus. So here we have a sample of diet — of nutrients that have been shown to have efficacy.
:Calorie restriction of 20 to 30 percent will increase neurogenesis. Intermittent fasting — spacing the time between your meals — will increase neurogenesis. Intake of flavonoids,which are contained in dark chocolate or blueberries, will increase neurogenesis. Omega-3 fatty acids, present in fatty fish, like salmon, will increase the production of these new neurons. Conversely, a diet rich in high saturated fat will have a negative impact on neurogenesis. Ethanol — intake of alcohol — will decrease neurogenesis. However, not everything is lost; resveratrol, which is contained in red wine, has been shown to promote the survival of these new neurons. soft diet impairs neurogenesis, as opposed to food that requires mastication — chewing — or crunchy food.
So all of this data, where we need to look at the cellular level, has been generated using animal models. But this diet has also been given to human participants, and what we could see is that the diet modulates memory and mood in the same direction as it modulates neurogenesis, such as: calorie restriction will improve memory capacity, whereas a high-fat diet will exacerbate symptoms of depression — as opposed to omega-3 fatty acids, which increase neurogenesis, and also help to decrease the symptoms of depression. So we think that the effect of diet on mental health, on memory and mood, is actually mediated by the production of the new neurons in the hippocampus. And it’s not only what you eat, but it’s also the texture of the food, when you eat it and how much of it you eat.
Human beings have a feeling called consciousness. Consciousness is one of the fundamental facts of human existence. Each of us is conscious. Consciousness also is what makes life worth living. If we weren’t conscious, nothing in our lives would have meaning or value.
The centerpiece of the science of consciousness in recent years has been the search for correlations, correlations between certain areas of the brain and certain states of consciousness. Now we understand much better, for example,the kinds of brain areas that go along with the conscious experience of seeing faces or of feeling pain or of feeling happy.
It is consciousness which helps us connect to this world.Consciousness is a temporary mental activity.Its basis is on the present times.We only have a memory of the past moments.We cant experience the same in the present.Each moment , our consciousness is getting evolved.Our surroundings have been influencing us.
Our consciousness has some limitations.In deep sleep we are not conscious of our existence.But the truth is that human beings tend to accept and process information continuously even during sleep.This happens due to the continuous change in the neuron connections in the nervous system.Even when we are awake, we are not aware of the various kinds of activities happening in our body.We dont even know what is happening at each moment inside the brain cells whichmaintains out consciousness.The feeling of consciousness is created by the brain’s activities.The consciousness in human beings is formed as a result of the combined functioning of various parts of the brain.The consciousness changes according to the state of the brain.The primary duty of the consciousness is to understand the surroundings, the changes happening to the surroundings and the influence it creates.
We are all conscious of an ‘I’ within us. The consciousness, ‘I’ , is a collective form of our emotions, thoughts and the ideas , intelligence, memories, imaginations which we are filled with.We dont have this consciousness by birth.It is formed in the same manner as social consciousness is developed within us.
The extra sensory experiences happening to many people can be explained based on neuroscience.Today a neuroscientist can make us experience these extra sensory experiences using one or two electrodes.For each experience zone , there exists corresponding areas on the brain.Sometimes we might not experience pain when a rod passes through our head.A person having epilepsy or a similar brain related disorder may consider herself to be an extra ordinary person, an incarnation to save the world; she/he might even experience that her/his body is being lifted up up in the air.
The functioning of brain, one of the organs of human body,is called mind.Mind is a phenomenon taking its shape from the complexity of the connections between these neurons. It is these neurons in the brain that create the things which we get to know through the five senses, the memories , thoughts, consciousness, emotions etc.The cells in the neurons communicate with each other.It is for this reason we are able to gather information from our surroundings, interpret the information, remember the experiences etc. and survive by responding to the situations.
The human brain is always provoked by the external stimuluses coming from the five senses.At the same time it also coordinates many activities in the human body happening at multiple levels.But our consciousness gets to know only a very few of these activities.We identify only those which occur to our consciousness as our thoughts and actions.But we only get to know about few of these things.And we only identify those which we get to know as our activity or thought.We might not even identify some of these things. We might not even have answers if been asked how these things happened. With the help of FMRI scanning, scientists have been able to understand that we get to know about these thoughts only after a minimum of 350 milliseconds to 6 seconds after the activities have happened in our brain.
The function of FMRI is to show the changing patterns in the blood flow occurring in the brain as we think or do each activity.By taking that into consideration in a proportionate manner, the scientists can tell, to a certain extent, what we think in accordance to a particular situation. It has been discovered that the distribution of blood through various parts of the neo cortex will change based on the amount of metabolic activities in the brain cells.More blood flows towards those parts where more activities tend to happen.The reflection method called Regional Cerebral Blood Flow – RCBF has been formulated based on this fact.It has reached a stage where activities happening in the brain can be observed while a person is in the process of thinking using the help of imaging techniques like PET (Positron Emission Tomography).
The most remarkable characteristic of a neural system is its ability to handle the information.Gathering information from the surroundings, interpreting the same, remembering a certain part of them and thereby deciding how the body should be reacting to the surroundings- The neural system performs all these functions (duties) as a result of the activities of the neural centres.Even though the development of the neural system is based on the genetically coded system, plasticity is another specialty. Here plasticity means how the connections between the interior parts of a neural system change with the external stimuli. This special characteristic is the basis for learning and memory. We can the think that as this ability increases that much developed is our brain.An organism can show different kinds of plasticities.The latest studies say the neural system produces far more neurons than necessary.
A child is born with crores and crores of brain cells.The neuron connections are formed even before the birth in order to perform the most fundamental activities in a body like heartbeat, breathing etc. While the neuron connections which help the child to acquaint and react to its surroundings are formed as it goes through similar experiences.As the child grows neuron connections are created to determine each of its behaviours.
Actually mind is only a hypothesis, interpreted in a presupposed manner, of the internal communications as understood by us. Conscious mind, sub-conscious mind, unconscious mind are all just hypothetical ideas.They all indicate the same.They are just presuppositions used to describe the brain functions or the internal communications .Actually they all just exist in the imaginations. It is that the brain functions, which have been formed as a result of evolution for over billions of years, or the mind has achieved a state of oneness due to an evolutionary necessity. The intuition that there is someone inside us , spiritual knowledge etc. are just mere intuitions.Actually the reason for such intuitions happening within us could be due to problems in the brain. Self consciousness is just a coordination of billions of cells and organs – formed by combining these cells, found necessary (as suitable for survival) as part of evolution.
A neurologist has the ability to make the spiritual experiences amazing with the help of electrodes. Certain kind of spiritual experiences may happen to people who have been taking medicines or drugs for a long duration. Quaint sensory experiences may also be felt when brain is affected in an accident or any disorder in the brain functions happen due to some disease. The consciousness we tend to experience different from our body is an evolutionarily obtained speciality. There is nothing surprising in it than that it is a coordination that has happened as an evolutionary necessity.
News papers, Television and other modern media all bombard us with negative stories –human cruelty, recession, terrorism, war. The list is endless. Our brain can take over these pessimistic world and the natural tendency of our brain to zone in on bad news, this pessimism can be overwhelming. Actualy the media is infused by a pervasive attraction to pessimism.
Human brain highlights danger laden information, relegating the potentially pleasurable to second place. Even the faintest hint of threat is picked up instantly, putting a halt to all other processes in order to concentrate on the danger. Such a proclivity to notice the negative rather than the positive makes it more difficult to be optimistic. Once the fear brain is activated, logic tends to get shut down for a while, and in many modern situations this can be a real problem. it makes more difficult to experience pleasure and develop an optimistic outlook, but they can also lead to more pervasive anxieties and worries that can take the lustre off life.fear unleashed in an instant can lead to lingering anxieties which can nudge us towards a pessimistic outlook. The constant reminder of dangers and bad things that have happened makes it difficult to see the world as a rosy place. This system also makes it hard to become more optimistic.whether it’s the fear of stepping out of our comfort zone. Apprehensiveness about taking a risk, or the apprehension that maybe we aren’t good enough, its our fears and anxieties that frequently hold us back, turning us towards the darker, more negative side of life.
It is note that the optimist sees every single thing as rosy,just as the pessimist does not see everything as bleak. Instead, it is the emphasis of one over the other that,overtime,makes a difference. Confirmation bias is a great example of how low-level biases can shape our beliefs. For example, if you are convinced that women are worse drivers than men, then you will confirm this beliefs by noticing lots of examples of bad driving by women. What you miss are the examples of poor male driving or good female driving. Things that don’t fit with your core belief don’t get noticed. Our belief system determines what we notice about the world around us, but the same time our beliefs are determined to a large extent by what we notice in the first place.
We have to learn to regulate our pessimistic outlook effectively by simply re-evaluating how we interpret things. if overwhelmed by distressing thoughts, we can attempt to modulate them by using strategies to tell ourselves that maybe they aren’t that bad after all. Postive direction leads to a gradual change in social reinforcement and mood over time. In other words, once a bias is shifted in a more positive directions, the pessimistic person responds more positively in social interactions, which eventually lead to an upward spiral of positively.
Psychological therapies such as cognitive behaviour therapy, mindfulness based rational emotive behaviour therapy all work by changing negative biases. while the psychological therapies affect our ability to regulate and control our pessimism, we can change the deep rooted distortions, neither our genetic makeup nor our experiences should set the course of our life in stone .while our nature and our nurture certainly make it more likely that we will react in one way or another. There would a human potential which, by shifting our mindscape –the patterns of biases and distortions unique to us- we are able to shift the way we see the world.