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brain mental-health neuroplasticity neuroscience senses

You Have a Sixth Sense You Never Explored

Challenging the traditional notion about the five senses from the frontiers of brain science

Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash

I am reading this book on neuroplasticity: “The Brain That Changes Itself” by Norman Doidge. It challenges all the wrong assumptions we have about our brain.

Here are some ideas that are still prevalent in our society. Even some educated people believe the following false ideas:

  • The human brain stops growing in the mid-twenties. Then we reach the cerebral saturation. It’s wrong!
  • Mental health is incurable after a certain age, say in the seventies. Again, wrong!
  • A human brain is a machine. It is plain nonsense to say you can be a productive beast all-day!

I aim to bust many myths about the human brain in future blogs as I read this book. For today, I will cover the topic of the sixth sense organ.

The idea about the five senses

The idea which I had since I adopted science as my religion — we have five sense organs: hear, touch, taste, smell and vision.

It took me a long time to recite these. After this, I felt kind of cool to show off at my home that I know about how we receive information from the environment — a little too much knowledge for a 10-year-young me.

The sixth sense

Now comes the new idea. Some people might even object the concept of the sixth sense because you think I am challenging your scientific knowledge of, say, 20 years?

But hear me out and read this excerpt to feed your curiosity. In the book I mentioned in the starting, Doidge puts it this way:

“We have senses we don’t know we have — until we lose them: BALANCE is one that normally works so well, so seamlessly, that it is not listed among the five that Aristotle described and was overlooked for the centuries afterward.”

How does the balance system work?

I read more to learn its working. From the book:

“The balance system gives us our sense of orientation in space. Its sense organ, the vestibular apparatus, consists of three semicircular canals in the inner ear that tell us when we are upright and how gravity is affecting our bodies by detecting motion in three-dimensional space.”

A real-life example of the balance system at work: remember when you’re spinning ( like Shaktiman ) and when you stop abruptly you feel dizziness? It will happen right now also. Try reading this piece after zooming in Shaktiman mode.

You feel like you can’t stand straight for a moment. You take some time to balance on your feet. That’s how the balance system is helping you stay put.

It is because you when you were in motion, you set the fluid in the semicircular canals in action too. When you halt abruptly, the fluid is still moving, and until it gets settled, you will feel the dizziness.

Your head might spin. You might’ve needed wall support if you seriously tried the Shaktiman signature move I mentioned earlier. Did I get you to do that? Hahaha.

Takeaways

Balance is not the sense we thought mattered so much when growing up. But we were unknowingly practising in improving it. Either you consider from the neuroscience perspective, or otherwise, balance is vital in other parts of life too.

It is dynamic, subjective and different person practice them up to a different extent. But the message I am leaving with today’s article is: our ears work as two sense organs, one for hearing and one for balance. And also, hearing loss is a common illness you face in the old age. Take care of that master organ to improve your hearing and your balance!

This blog belongs to a series of posts I am publishing on a daily streak. Target-1 was 21 days. Target-2 was 100. Target-3 is day 150. Today is day 111. Here is the first blog that started the streak.

Thank You for reading! See you tomorrow!

~ S.


You Have a Sixth Sense You Never Explored was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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brain mindset neuroplasticity perseverance visualization

Did you know your brain has the ability to change?

Use the power of visualization to reach your most impossible dream!

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Do you have a dream of doing something that you think is impossible to ever reach? You need to rethink that thought, and get ready to think BIG!

Have you ever heard of visualization? Visualization is a mental technique that uses your imagination, mental images, and the power of thoughts to make your dreams and goals come true. Extraordinarily successful people have been using this technique for ages. It enables you to have a laser-focus to do what is necessary to reach that goal. In fact, we all have this power within, but most have never been taught how to use it. It actually activates your creative subconscious mind which provides you with ideas to help the journey. It is a systematic process of mentally training your brain to think it has already achieved the goal. By visualizing it in steps over and over in your mind, over time your brain believes it has already done the task. So when you actually DO the task, you do it as if you’ve done it dozens of times already.

Elite Olympic athletes use this method. A great example is 23-time Gold medalist Michael Phelps, who uses visualization. In his own words about visualization, “One of the things that has been good for me I think, besides training, has been my sort of mental preparation.”

Along with visualization comes the term neuroplasticity, which is your brain’s ability to change, to actually get re-wired. The brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. Neuroplasticity allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment. Visualization causes these neural connections to change, training your brain to believe it has already performed the activity.

I’ve been using visualization throughout my entire life, long before I even knew there was a name for what I was doing. I’ve had some pretty wild goals, including one which was sparked after watching TOP GUN in 1995 for the first time. After seeing the action-packed scenes, I decided I wanted to get a flight in a fighter jet! I became a military aviation photojournalist for the next 7 years, and realized my dream when I got a flight in an F-15 fighter jet at Eglin Air Force Base, with the 33rd Fighter Wing. It was the thrill of a lifetime, one that I had visualized over and over and over in my mind hundreds of times. That was my inspiration to keep working towards that goal. Despite that it was seemingly impossible, I literally visualized my way to reach that dream!

Author getting ready for take-off in F-15 Strike Eagle at Eglin AFB — Anita Lesko
Anita Lesko

I also had the incredible opportunity to spend time with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, based at Naval Air Station Pensacola. They are the world’s most elite flight demonstration squadron, along with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.

Author with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels at NAS Pensacola — Anita Lesko

As a motivational speaker, I always tell people to never give up on their dreams. In my book, Becoming an Autism Success Story, I give my seven-step program for visualization, and how to reach your dream, no matter how impossible it may seem. I always conclude my presentation with this as my final slide:

Photo from Shutterstock

Best wishes on your journey to reaching your dream!

Anita Lesko

Anita Lesko

This is my latest journey, to help others get their best health ever!


Did you know your brain has the ability to change? was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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