You carry it in your head. I carry it in my head. Every person in the world carries around a three-pound mass of wrinkly material in his or her head. Nobody can doubt how much important role this wrinkly material plays in our daily lives. From enabling you to think, learn, create, and feel emotions to controlling every blink breath and heartbeat—this fantastic control center is our brain. The beauty of its structure is so incredible that a famous scientist once called it “the most complex thing we have yet discovered in this universe.” We certainly know its contribution to our daily lives but we never think of its amazing functioning.
Let me tell you about some amazing facts about the brain. You must have heard people saying that tour brain is much faster and powerful than a super computer. Your kitten is on the kitchen counter. She is about to step onto a hot stove. You have only seconds to act. Accessing the signals coming from your eyes, your brain quickly calculates when, where, and at what speed you will need to catch her. Then it orders your muscles to do so. Your timing is perfect and she is safe. No computer can come close to your brain’s awesome ability to download, process, and react to the flood of information coming from your eyes, ears, and other sensory organs.
Your brain also generates enough electricity to power a light bulb. Can you even imagine such a thing? Your brain contains about 100 billion microscopic cells called neurons—so many that it would take you over 3000 years to count them all. Whenever you dream, laugh, think, see, or move, it is because tiny chemical and electrical are racing between these neurons along billions of tiny neuron highways. Believe it or not, the activity in your brain never stops.
Another astonishing fact is when you learn, you also change the structure of the brain. Riding a bike seems impossible at first. But soon you master it. How? As you practice your brain sends “bike riding” messages along certain pathways of neurons over and over, forming new connections. In fact, the structure of your brain changes every time you learn, as well as whenever you have a new thought or memory.
Lastly, exercise helps make you smarter. It is well known that any exercise that makes your heart beat faster, like running or playing basketball, is great for your body and can help improve your mood. But scientists have recently learnt that for a period of time after you have exercised; your body produces a chemical that makes your brain more receptive to learning. So if you are stuck on homework problem, go out and play a game of soccer, then try the problem again. You just might discover that you’re able to solve it.