If you’ve read some of my other blogs you’ll be familiar with the Mirror Neuron System (MNS). If this is your first visit, then Welcome! Mirror neurons do what they say on the tin, so to speak. They are brain cells (neurons) that are involved in mirroring what you perceive. So if you’re watching me flex my fingers, your brain thinks you’re flexing your fingers. These cells mirror what you see me doing so in some ways your brain doesn’t distinguish between whether you’re watching someone doing something or doing it yourself.
In my talks I quite often explain how we catch emotion from people. It’s facilitated by an interconnected network of brain cells known as the mirror neuron system. If you’re with someone who is happy, your brain actually mirrors the activity of their smile muscles signaling your muscles to do the same.
When I was compiling stories on visualization a few years ago, a woman sent in her use of visualization for losing weight. She first started imagining pac man type beings eating all the fat cells from the bits she wanted to lose weight from. She was doing it five times a day. She began to lose weight but then was faced with a dilemma.
Now that the Olympics and the Paralympics are over, I wanted to write a short piece on how the mind can improve athletic performance. Setting aside mental strength, which was clearly demonstrated by Andy Murray when he won the US Open Tennis the other day (I’m writing these words the following morning after having stayed up to 2am to watch the game), visualization – or mental imagery as some call it – can have a huge impact on performance.
I think I’ve been really quite intuitive lately – from making the right choices to even guessing (to the second) when the oven timer was going to beep – so I decided to share what I knew about intuition, how it works, even why we have it. There seems to be different types of intuition, or at least 3 different mechanisms regarding how it works. Here’s the 3 that I’m aware of
The brain’s circuits are not fixed. Our experiences constantly change the wiring in our brains, a phenomenon known as neuroplasticity. The more we do something, the more the brain physically changes as it wires it in. A study of London taxi drivers showed neuroplasticity. It found that the hippocampus of the brain, which is involved in learning new routes as well as with spatial awareness, grew larger the more time they spent driving their taxis.