Sometimes it is easy to overlook how truly amazing our human brains are. The truth is, your brain is awesome — and its capacity is nearly impossible to grasp. In terms of power and intricacy, even the least developed human brain leaves the greatest computer of our times in the dust. Your brain is capable of processing an estimated 30 billion bits of information each second.
Your Brain is High Density Real Estate. Wonder how your brain is able to create your mind power? Let’s start here: You have about 30 billion neurons — the nerve cells responsible for conducting information throughout your brain. And if you were to stretch those tiny neurons end to end, they would actually stretch about 6000 miles — the distance from the surface of the Earth to the moon and back. And all of this is packed into your 3 pound brain.
Plus think about this: Each of those neurons is actually a tiny self-contained computer with the capability of processing an estimated one million bits of information. This gets even more amazing when you consider that although each of your neurons can act independently and also communicate with other neurons. And here is yet another amazing fact — it is estimated that your brain contains up to 100,000 miles of neural fibers created as your neurons reach out to communicate with each other.
Now remember – we are just talking about the average human brain. When you consider a highly refined human brain like that created through consciously focused mental exercise – your “neural fiber mileage” could easily quadruple.
Why You Can “Think Fast.” Each of your neurons takes an estimated million times longer to send a signal to the next neuron that today’s super fast computers. Yet your brain’s ability to process information makes even the fastest computer look like a slug.
How can that be so? Computers basically make connections one at a time. But a single neuron, on the other hand, can simultaneously send a signal to hundreds of thousands of other neurons in less than 20 milliseconds – one tenth of the time it takes for you to blink.
How the Power of Mind Works. All of your beliefs, your habits, everything making up your mental reality, is contained in physical neural-pathways. Each time you think a thought, it is communicated among your neurons via tiny electro-chemical messages.
The first time you have an experience or learn something new, a new pathway is created. Then the next time you have that experience, your brain will search to see if your have experienced it before. If you have, it will follow the same pathway.
The more often you have that experience or think that thought, the most physically complex and durable the neural pathway holding that thought will become. This is how a thought or action becomes a habit – and a habit is best thought of as more of a cemented highway than a footpath.
You cannot rationally “think” these physical networks away. That’s why it is so hard to break a habit. Habits are wired into your brain as actual physical connections.
How to Change Your Brain. If you have some personal aspects you’d like to change (and who doesn’t), you’ll do well to start by recognizing the fact that you can’t just think or rationalize them away. Logic does NOT reach where you need to go.
You’re going to have to create something more powerful. Something that overrides what you wish to change. And you are going to have to create neural pathways that are stronger that the one you wish to change.
Two things create strong neural pathways: Repetition, and intense emotion.
The basic secret of using your mind power to change is this: (1) Stir up and allow yourself to truly “feel” intense emotion about what you wish to change, (2) select a new positive behavior or thought pattern, (3) associate your new pattern with even stronger positive emotion, (4) reward yourself with praise each time you replace the old pattern with the new one, and (5) make it a point to repeat this as often as possible.
Does this seem too simple? What you are doing is actually creating physical changes in your brain – rewiring the neural pathways that create the power of the
Canadarm2 (NASA, International Space Station)
Image by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center
The International Space Station’s Canadarm2 moves toward the station’s new P5 truss section for a hand-off from space shuttle Discovery’s Remote Manipulator System (RMS) robotic arm. Canadarm2 is a robotic arm that assembled the space station. It is routinely used to move supplies, equipment and even astronauts. As well as supporting the station’s maintenance and upkeep, it is responsible for performing "cosmic catches," the capturing and docking of unpiloted spacecraft that carry everything from science payloads to necessities for the crew. Out of this technology, NeuroArm was created. NeuroArm is the world’s first robot capable of performing brain surgery. It is a highly precise robotic arm that works in conjunction with the advanced imaging capabilities of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems. Surgeons need to be able to perform surgeries while a patient was inside an MRI machine, which meant designing a robot that was as dexterous as the human hand, but even more precise and tremor-free. Canadarm and neuroArm were developed by MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates.
Image credit: NASA
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An animated tour around the human brain (commissioned for Brain Awareness Week)
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