Just like computers, we need some sort of input, which elicits an output. We use our senses (smell, taste, hearing, touch and sight) to gain information (input) from the environment, our brains process the information – mostly in our prefrontal cortex – and then decide what to do with that information.
If we successfully commit sensory information to memory, we can identify people by simply hearing their footsteps, smelling their scent or by touching them. Likewise, it is very easy for us to remember information that we associate with a sensory experience and the emotions that went with it. Our senses are such powerful tools to elicit memories that reminiscence (using sensory stimulation to encourage a person to talk about old memories with the aim of exercising the brain and memory to slow down brain degeneration) is a common therapeutic activity used with Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients.
For children, multisensory learning (learning by engaging many senses at once) is far more effective than learning that takes place through just one sense.
The senses we were born with is not static. The more we train our senses the more neural pathways (links between the right and left hemisphere of the brain) are formed which allows overall improved brain function.
Without being too technical, we need our senses to be in good health so that the information they send to our brains is accurate. We then need our brains in good health to be able to process the information and lastly we want our neurons that carry messages to and from our brains to be in good health so that the messages they carry don’t become distorted.
Here are five ways in which you can help your sense and your brain:
- Stock up on those OMEGA’s – Omega is an important part of our diet to keep our brain cells healthy.
- Avoid SUGAR – Sugar is simply not healthy for our bodies. It is particularly bad for brain function, since neurons require a delicate balance of glucose in order for neurons to move messages back and forth.
- EXERCISE – Physical exercise is very important for overall brain health, but exercising our brains and our senses are just as important.
- Make time to RELAX – If sugar is enemy number one, then stress is number two.
- Challenge your brain – Seek activates and hobbies that can push your brain and senses, like learning to play an instrument, reading and playing games that involves problem solving and perception. Other ideas includes, joining a cooking or art class, or simply do that course have always been interested in.