Your brain is an amazing, complex machine that not only allows you to think, but is also your body’s main control center. Just about everything you do, your thoughts, words, actions and your feelings are controlled by your brain. It has many parts that all work together to coordinate all the systems in your body, keeping you breathing, your blood flowing, your muscles moving, and even controlling your senses, creativity and your moods. All this power in a spongy, wrinkly 3-pound package tucked inside your head!
The brain is made up of many parts, each with its own job to do. The biggest part is called the cerebrum; the “thinking” part of your brain. It controls learning, muscle movement, speech, memory, reason and understanding things like music, shapes and colors. Another part, the cerebellum, helps you stand up, move around and keep your balance. Another important part of your brain is the brain stem, which connects your brain to your spinal cord and is in charge of your breathing, digestion and blood circulation as well as carrying messages sent between the brain and the rest of your body. Other parts of your brain control how you grow, how your body digests food and your body temperature.
The brain works by sending and receiving signals throughout your body over trillions of pathways (synapses) that connect billions of nerve cells (neurons). These pathways are created when you learn something and do it over and over (like playing a video game or learning how to add fractions). If you stop using the information for a time, the pathway will become weaker and you may lose that knowledge. Like they say - “Use it or lose it!”
Your brain never stops – it works all day and all night too! While you sleep, your brain is busy sending signals to your lungs to breathe, your heart to beat, and is working to process things you experienced during the day.
You know exercise is good for your body, but it’s also good for your brain! When you move, you increase blood flow to your brain; the more blood flow, the more oxygen to feed your brain cells!
Deep breathing calms the area of the brain called the amygdala, helping you think and remember things more clearly. So when you feel stressed or confused, just BREATHE.