The chief editor and owner of the resource TrendClub.ru digital-agency Fu2re Dehkanov Daniel wrote for the CPU column on why the human brain is degraded over time, and how to prevent it
Have you noticed that the older you get, the less willing to takes up the work, which is unusual for you, or is associated with high concentration of attention and exploration of unfamiliar skills?
Let me tell you a little secret. Reading newspapers (the authors), work on the familiar specialty, the use of the native language and chat with friends who understand you well, visiting favorite restaurant, watch your favorite TV series ... - everything is so beloved by all of us, leads to degradation of the brain.
Your brain - the lazy bastard (like you), and therefore seeks to reduce the cost of energy on an activity by creating a sort of "macros" - programs that you run from templates.
Biologist Richard Simon in the beginning of the last century called the program "engrams" - a physical habit or memory traces left by repeated exposure to a stimulus. Engrams can be represented in the form of paths that neurons "tread" in your brain by performing the same action. The longer we do it, the less energy it spends on our brains.
Sometimes these paths are transformed into roads, and then completely in highways, such as the Chinese in this collecting pack of cards faster than the robot:
On the one hand, it's a great superpowers - really, why spend extra energy to perform the same type of action? However, the flip side of this ability - reduction of plasticity of the brain.
The fact that the longer we use engrams, the less work the basal ganglia in the brain. Their main function - to produce the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which helps neurons to "cut through" a new path through the information noise of our brain (about it you have going on right now, after reading of the proposal).
Think your way to work or school. If you drive on the same route more than six months, then your actions become automatic so that you can simultaneously perform other actions - to read, listen to music and answer mail. The favorite restaurant you do not have to cough up acetylcholine and think about what you take for lunch, you already know by heart all the menus. For another fake smile, you immediately recognize the alarm, and you will not have to strain to decipher the communication signals.
It would seem, why all this change? And then, that our lives - a continuous source of changes beyond our control. For most of them, we have to adapt, and in this "race chameleons" survives the one who will change the rest of your color in the color of the environment and be able to sneak up close to the insect (which during the crisis less and less).
You can cut (as is done recently with thousands of doctors); your department's objectives may change and you are required to learn new skills (and if you fail, you, again, cut); you fall in love and want to learn Chinese woman Dungan language, spoken by her family, and so on.
Therefore, brain plasticity is necessary to constantly maintain and train. Imagine that your brain - is concrete, which after some time will harden.
The image of the "hardened" your brain will become clear if you look at most of the 70-year old who can not master the timer on the microwave, sensing hostility all new performing the same type of action over the years (or reproducing patterns of thought). These "paths" in their heads turned in their burrows and tunnels in the rocks, and a "breakthrough" in the next cave passage is virtually impossible.
Your task - to constantly stir the "mental mix" and not allow it to harden. Once we relax and start using engrams, some part of our brain is solidified and we do not even notice it.
What to do in order to stop the degradation of the brain
I selected the top ten most simple but quite effective, methods:
Watch out for him. If you ever feel uncomfortable with the fact that something is wrong (for example, your favorite website design changed or disappeared in the store favorite yogurt) clinging to this feeling by the tail and start its "spin." Why not try all yogurts or not to start doing your?
Do not re-read already read the book. Not to revise already viewed movies. Yes, it's a very pleasant feeling psychologically - to plunge into the cozy little world, in the life of familiar characters, no surprises, you already know the end and you can enjoy the little things that are for the first time noticed by swallowing a book for an hour (or viewing season over the weekend). But at the same time you take in new books and films the chance to reveal to you something fundamentally new, depriving your brain of alternative education of neural connections.
Look for new routes. Try to look for new routes to familiar way home and back to find alternative shops, cinemas and other infrastructure points on a map of your life. It may take more time, but can bring a nice bonus - for example, lower prices in the stores or less people in a movie theater.
Look for new music. If you are a music lover in your iPod tens of thousands of songs, and it seems to you that your taste is very rich and diverse, then I hasten to disappoint you - often we hear the familiar tracks 50-100, pleasant to us all for the same reason - we adapt to them and our brains do not need to spend additional resources for processing and interpretation.
In a world of hundreds of thousands of Internet radio stations, and even if each day to switch to a new, still our life is not enough to re-listen to them all.
Search for new friends and acquaintances. Yes, it is, of course, great to have friends with whom pleasant to gather every Friday and discuss football or a new dress Beyonce. Psychologically comfortable.
But most of us live in metropolitan areas, why limit your range of 4-5 people, with most of us are not selected, and "imposed" by circumstances - school, college, work?
Social tools inherent in us is very strong influence on our way of thinking, and sometimes it happens that we are under the influence of certain friends, change point of view, a set of interests, and sometimes even the type of activity.
Start children. Children are a permanent source of uncertainty and chaos in your life. They - live "mixer" in your head, all the templates and crumbling reshapes your routes established anew.
I have three sons of all ages, who every day bring something new to the questions, conduct, inquisitive mind and continuous experiments with everything around. You will not notice how your mind liberated and you start thinking differently.
If you have kids you still can not, then you can start with the dogs. It firstly requires walking (and fresh air is good for brain). Second, the draws you into an involuntary contact with other dog lovers. And third, can also be a source of chaos (mine, for example, when running after flies, does not pay much attention to the obstacles encountered in its path).
Stop criticizing. "What an awful design!", "How disgusting, they made the denouement!", "How uncomfortable to sit in these new chairs!" - These and millions of other posts to Facebook, from the lips of your colleagues and your own are indicative of resistance to change, suddenly matured in life. Changes which, most often, you can not change. Or you can, but it has put a lot of effort, which are not worth. Agree, because there are more interesting things to do than to require restaurant complaints book and write slander on hamovatogo waiter?
Much more useful for your own development will take these changes and to motivate the brain continue to live in a new reality.
Your dialog should look something like this: "The new menu? Well, and then the old dishes have become boring, "" New repair roads need to look for a detour? Well, it means a month there will be no such bumps, and while there is a repair, I know this area is something new! "," The new operating system? Super! I now have a new entertaining adventure - get the panel! »
Stop hanging on people "shortcuts." It is very convenient - rather than to understand the person to think about why he did it - to succumb to weakness and a "brand" it, adding to this or that psycho. To fool? Whore! Drinks with friends? Alcoholic! See "Rain"? Belolentochnik!
Each of us is under the influence, perhaps even greater pressure of life circumstances than the same Rodion Raskolnikov, but many are his reflections described by Dostoevsky, interesting, and a neighbor, a divorcee with two children - something vulgar and unworthy of attention.
Experiment with flavors. Despite the fact that evolution is replaced by the wayside, our olfactory receptors, the smells still have a huge impact on us. And if you have a favorite perfume, you do not change for years, it's time to change it. And do it with a certain periodicity.
Learn foreign languages. And it does not necessarily fall in love with a Chinese woman, you can find another motivation related, for example, with professional interests or hobbies. Foreign words and related semantic fields are often different from your native language, and their study is perhaps the most effective tool for training the brain plasticity (especially if you continue to move away from the tourist vocabulary and delve into the cultural characteristics).
We should not forget that our brain is designed much more complex than many people think. Engrams associated with listening to the same music, affect the way we communicate with friends. Unexpected feelings from the smell of food in the new restaurant may awaken in you the desire to overestimate the words and deeds of a loved one (to understand and forgive). A walk after work on an unfamiliar street, push on the idea of how to find a suitable solution to the problem that has arisen at work. Therefore, the above life hacking is best combined.
And maybe one day, years of commercials at 30, when your grandson will bring you their new gadget, representing a cloud of nano-robots, you do not say, "Oh my God, remove from me the humming crap!" And plunge in his hand and said, "Wow!" and immediately asked, "How does it work and where is possible to buy?».
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