Jill Hewlett - Brain Fitness Authority Toronto - Brain Health and Exercises


Have you ever considered the massive amount of power and potential you have residing between your ears?

If you did, you’d be extremely astonished and humbled by the technology you have been gifted. This knowledge may be incentive to better care for yourself and optimize this incredible potential.

Let’s take a closer look…

There are 7 billion human beings on planet earth – a massive number, right?

When you think about the size of the human population and the amount of activity going on in the world, every millisecond of every day; the level of order and organization is quite mind blowing.

If that isn’t incredible enough…YOU have many more brain cells than there are people on the planet. These neurons are constantly interacting and communicating with each other on a moment to moment basis.

Here’s some context…

If you take the world’s population and multiply it by 12, then add 2 more billion – you’ll have the number of neurons inside of YOU. Yep, a staggering 86 billion!

Many scientists believed we had 100 billion neurons; however researcher, Dr Suzana Herculano-Houzel, questioned this number and found that no one in the scientific field knew where it came from. So, she made it her goal to discover the actual figure.

Her team took the donated brains of four adult men who had died of non-neurological diseases and turned them into “brain soup”. They took a sample of the soup, counted the number of cell nuclei belonging to neurons and scaled up to get the overall number.

This method is accurate because it avoids the problem that different brain regions may have more or less densely packed neurons.

So, there you have it: humans have an average of 86 billion neurons that are performing countless tasks around the clock.

John Kounios and Mark Beeman illustrate this well in their book, “The Eureka Factor”.

Consider human society as an analogy for the brain. Society consists of billions of people interacting with one another in a multitude of ways. Each of us influences the people with whom we come into contact. Sometimes we facilitate the actions of others. When you buy something in a store, your money enables the owner to pay salaries to her employees, empowering them to do things they want to do. Conversely, a person may inhibit the actions of others, such as when the presence of a security guard discourages a potential shoplifter from stealing a desirable item.

All of these individual influences combine to create activity at the level of society. Various groups emerge such as nations, ethnicities, religions, political parties, nations, tribes and corporations. The activity of people within each group is coordinated or synchronized so that they can work together to accomplish various goals. For example, some groups work together to make, sell or buy products.  Others collaborate to develop and propagate ideas. Yet other groups heal people or make war. From the apparent chaos of billions of people functioning independently, arise relative order and purpose. Brains work this way too!”

What else does this mean…

On top of our massive number of neurons, the connections between them are far greater in number. Each neuron may be connected to up to 10,000 other neurons; passing signals to each other via as many as 1, 000 trillion synaptic connections!!!

Inside your head is a massive electrical network where billions of electrically excitable cells process and transmit information by electro-chemical signalling. These all have to work in harmony so you can function in the world and do things like write a novel, reply to an email, cook a meal, give a presentation – anything really!

As you do these things there is synchronous phenomena going on called BRAIN WAVES as the neurons fire and go quiet together. When one neuron sends a message to another, it does so by sending a small ‘electrical burst’ of action potential between the two brain cells.

As you perform your daily tasks, millions of these electrical pulses are happening at the same time, in a rhythmic pattern throughout your brain!

There are different types of brain waves associated with different levels of brain activity:

  • GAMMA waves are the most intense variety and occur during extreme concentration and when your brain is working at high capacity
  • BETA waves are slightly lower in intensity and occur when you are focused and engaged
  • ALPHA waves are produced when you are relaxed, even approaching a meditative state
  • THETA waves are seen when you are daydreaming or drifting into sleep
  • DELTA waves are the slowest kind of brain wave that are only seen when you are deeply asleep.

Super cool, right?  It should be – it makes up who you are and how you function in the world!

By implementing strategies you can better care for your neurons, their ability to interact with one another and even leverage the specialized characteristics of each particular brain wave state: include being mentally productive across a wide range of activities, such as: intensely focused, relaxed, creative and restful sleep.

Are you ready to up your brain game and catch your brain wave?