The Mind and Body and How It Impacts Learning
There is a very popular tendency of combining different unrelated sciences and making a consubstantial study over them nowadays. However, the sciences are unrelated only at first sight. Studying a phenomenon relating to one science in terms of another one can bring effective results and unexpected discoveries. For example, a completely new branch of brain study called educational neuroscience is popular now: psychiatry, nutrition, sociology, memory, emotions and learning are combined into one science. Human’s brain has recently become an interesting subject to study in such a way due to its unexplored and unused abilities. Every single process in the human body is connected with the general state of the organism. One organ is related to another, and if something is out of order, the whole mechanism feels it. Brain plays an especially significant role in one’s life. Everything that happens to a person passes through his/her organism in a form of a signal. No wonder that the way people feel themselves influences their mental activities. If people are sick, tired, hungry, depressed or emotionally unstable their brain work automatically decreases. On the other hand, when physical state of a human body is satisfactory, one is full of energy, satisfied and happy, brain starts working better. The state of body affects our intellectual faculties in any case.
Each part of human’s brain is responsible for particular activities. The brain stem is in charge of principal functions of the body, such as breathing and heart rate. It exercises physical bodily functions in the learning process. The limbic system is liable for long-term memory and emotions. It activates emotional aspects when one is studying. The neocortex controls hearing, seeing, thinking, talking and other cognitive functions. It gives one an opportunity of extracting value and meaning out of the obtained information (Boyd, 2004). One should use all the parts of the brain to have maximum success in the process of learning.
Studying of human’s brain proved that mind and body are involved in the learning process. The ability of brain to generate new cells allows us to update database maintained in the brain and to continue learning. Our brain is informed by signals sent from an enormous quantity of nerves concentrated in our body. In such a way, it is aware of what is happening in the body all the time. Chemical messages sent by the hypothalamus through blood appear to be a diversity of emotions we feel. People who are learning should realize the role of physical reactions and feelings in the process of studying. The consciousness is suggested not to be constrained in the brain only, but to be activated all the way through the body. A huge amount of different mind-body techniques, such as biofeedback, meditation, relaxation training and hypnosis are practiced during the process of learning.
As a proof of the aforementioned data, there exists a set of the most common learning models propounded by the scientists, such as visual (different forms of visual simulation, such as diagrams, photos, and pictures are used), auditory (learning with the help of class discussions, audiotapes) and somatic (receiving information due to movements and direct involvements) model (Boyd, 2004). The fourth learning model – the tactile – was suggested by Linksman. It implies learning through feeling or touching. Everybody has his own learning model which is the most effective for studying, but all the other models are also involved in the learning process. Educational process accelerates and its quality increases when it is possible to find the most effective learning models.
Human body needs to be fit to reach the best learning results. First of all, we are what we eat. Thus, food must be healthy and contain a large amount of vitamins and nutrients. This will ensure proper functioning of long-term memory. Sleeping enough is also very influential since the learned material has to be recycled and brain needs to have some rest. State of relaxation is proved to be both physically and mentally beneficial. Meditation, yoga and even prayer are good ways of relaxation which help both mind and body. Emotional peace is another important aspect of properly arranged intellectual work.
Physical exercises help brain to relax after intellectual activities. Life is movement, and our body was created to move. Motion during the process of studying helps to enhance mental abilities. Breathing fresh air is not only a necessary component of well-organized brain work, it is a guarantee of excellent health. Walking is extremely good for brain too, because the amount of glucose and oxygen reaching our brain and blood circulation is increased during this process. Physical activities combined with mental exercises help to make neural connections stronger. Physical exercises also renew them. Studying a new language, playing chess, practicing a new skill, solving crossword puzzles are examples of mental exercising. Challenging our brain is a good opportunity to discover new abilities and talents in ourselves.
There is no doubt in the strong connection between mind, body and learning. Body, mind and learning are relative since body contains brain and learning is impossible without brain. Therefore, the state of body affects brain work and intellectual faculties. If the body is in satisfactory physical and emotional condition, brain work increases. Consequently, results of mental activities decrease when body state is bad and unstable. Combining graduated physical exercise, rational and healthy nutrition, sound sleep, and various mental activities is a guarantee of reaching excellent results during studying process. Besides, the points listed above are essential conditions of being healthy. Advancement of brain research will lead to learning process improvement and discovering new abilities.
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