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How the Brain Works

A short overview of how the human brain operates and how it affects us all in everyday life

So how does the brain work anyway?

Unconscious and conscious minds

I like to build a visual explanation here, so let’s think of the brain as a pair of brains that work together.

Imagine two computers that sit in the same room, linked together by a cable, but both run completely independently of each other. One is very large and has a high capacity for memory and can process a lot of information very quickly, but it can’t innovate. This computer represents your unconscious mind.

The other computer has little memory capacity, but it can create innovative solutions, imagine, visualise and dream. It can think forward and suppose, but it is much slower at processing. This represents your conscious mind. There are obviously many other parts and factors to how the brain works, and I’ll save that for later.

Our brain has one purpose and that is to keep us alive and survive. That’s it!

However, our thinking is a bit more complex, which is what makes us the person we are and why we do the things we do, our personality.

We need to refer to thinking in two ways also, some of our thinking is run by the unconscious brain and is not much different from an operating system on that computer that has huge memory and a fast processing ability. It has a set way of getting things done based on its knowledge and learnt behaviours. And then when we think creatively, this is more from the conscious brain, more ‘on the fly’ and ‘seat of the pants’.

Our brain has one purpose and that is to keep us alive and survive. That’s it! However, our thinking is a bit more complex, which is what makes us the person we are and why we do the things we do, our personality.

Unconscious versus conscious

Conscious mind vs unconscious mind

We need to refer to thinking in two ways also, some of our thinking is run by the unconscious brain and is not much different from an operating system on that computer that has huge memory and a fast processing ability. It has a set way of getting things done based on its knowledge and learnt behaviours. And then when we think creatively, this is more from the conscious brain, more ‘on the fly’ and ‘seat of the pants’.

So when we are facing life and dealing with our day to day living, we tend to operate from the subconscious mind 95% of the time, this controls our heart, our immune system, our digestion, our reactions and enables us to deal with things that we take for granted.

However, be warned as it can also trip us up.

It will usually resolve issues in a way that previously enabled you to survive, not matter how ridiculous. Getting on a table when a mouse runs across the floor is a good example and we know that the little mouse can’t harm you, but if you’ve seen someone else survive by jumping on a table during your formative years, then yep, that’s a learnt behaviour that your unconscious mind believes and before you know it, you’ll shrieking and 3ft up on a table!

Sign up to BrainSparx now and continue to read or watch me explaining why we do the things we do and I’ll explain how our saviour is the conscious mind! See you on the inside!

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