Why We’re More Creative When We’re Tired and 9 Other Surprising Facts About How Our Brains Work

One of the things that surprises me time and time again is how we think our brains work and how they actually do.

On many occasions I find myself convinced that there is a certain way to do things, only to find out that actually that’s the complete wrong way to think about it. For example, I always found it fairly understandable that we can multitask. Well, according to the latest research studies, it’s literally impossible for our brains to handle 2 tasks at the same time.

Recently I came across more of these fascinating experiments and ideas that helped a ton to adjust my workflow towards how our brains actually work (instead of what I thought!).

So here are 10 of the most surprising things our brain does and what we can learn from it:

 

Continue Reading →

How Stress Can Change the Size of Our Brains and What We Can Do to Lower It

DeathtoStock5Stress is something I’ve been intimately acquainted with since I was a teenager. I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself to perform to a high standard, and often end up losing sleep due to stress. Since I’m working on decreasing stress in my life, I thought it would be interesting to look into how it actually affects our bodies and our brains.

Here’s what I found out.

Stress is normal, and sometimes even good for us

Stress affects pretty much all of us at some point in our lives. The funny thing is, positive events like getting married or starting a new job can stress us out.

Stress isn’t always a bad thing, though. In some cases it protects us from danger—in fact, that’s the whole point. Stress is a leftover survival technique that we don’t have as much use for now. When we commonly fought for survival, our fight-or-flight mode (triggered by stress) was imperative.

These days, the problem comes with having more stress in our lives than we need. Since we rarely need to be in fight-or-flight mode, our body’s stress reactions can become problematic when they’re too strong or happen too often.

Continue Reading →

The Power of Meditation and How It Affects Our Brains

meditationEver since my dad tried to convince me to meditate when I was about 12, I’ve been fairly skeptical of this practice. It always seemed to be so vague and hard to understand that I just decided it wasn’t for me.

More recently, I’ve actually found how simple (not easy, but simple) meditation can be and what huge benefit it can have for my day to day happiness. As an adult, I first started my meditation practice with just two minute per day. Two minutes! I got that idea from Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits blog, where he points out how starting with a tiny habit is the first step to consistently achieving it. So even thought two minutes won’t make much difference, that’s where I started.

Whether you’re as skeptical as I used to be, or you’re well ahead of me with a meditation habit of several hours, I think it’s always interesting to find out how new habits affect our brains. I had a look into meditation to see what’s going on inside our brains when we do this, and what I found is pretty interesting.

Continue Reading →