Exploring a side of your brain you didn’t know!
We all know that our brain is an incredibly powerful organ, but did you know that it’s still pretty easy to trick? One of the biggest shortcomings of the brain is that sometimes it’s just plain lazy. When you try to solve a problem or make a decision, your mind often falls back on rules of thumb or solutions that have worked well in the past. In many cases, this is a useful and effective approach as it allows you to make decisions quickly without having to laboriously sort through each and every possible solution. But sometimes these mental shortcuts, which are known as heuristics, can trip you up and cause you to make mistakes. For example, did you know that every time you look into a mirror, your brain is getting fooled into thinking there is another person on the other side?!
Whenever something bad happens, the blame game begins! And we happen to get tricked and controlled by our MASTER – BLASTER, the BRAIN. We all tend to point fingers at everything other than ourselves, never owning up for how we may have messed up. It is natural to look for something to blame. Sometimes, though, we twist reality around to protect our own self-esteem. In other words, we may be at fault but don’t want to take responsibility for that.
For example, after a day out at the beach you find you’ve gotten badly sunburned. You may decide the sunscreen you were using was defective, rather than owning up to the fact that you never got around to reapplying it.
So why do we engage in this blame game?
Researchers believe that many of our attributional biases function as a way to protect our self-esteem and guard us from the fear of failure. According to this way of thinking, bad things happen to you because of things outside of your control, while your successes are the result of your traits, skills, efforts, and other internal characteristics.
Another daily trick our brain plays on us is zooming in on our most embarrassing moments, making us think everyone around us noticed it too. It causes us to assume that we are being observed and noticed by others more than is actually the case.
For example, if you make an embarrassing mistake or have a bad hair day, the spotlight effect could cause you to overestimate the likelihood that other people will notice or remember it. this phenomena, similar to the illusion of transparency, happens because when you are hyper-focused on something, your brain tricks you into thinking everyone else is, too. Turns out, they’re probably focused on their own bad hair days.
While it’s not easy to trick your brain, one place where we can do it is our dreams.
We’ve all had lucid dreams before. This is when you’re fully asleep and dreaming — but during this you realize that you’re in a dream.
This realization allows us to control our dreams — and there are tricks for triggering a lucid dream:
- Keep a dream journal. After waking up, immediately write down details you can recall from the dream. This will train your brain to notice and retain details from your dreams.
- Know when to have a lucid dream. They occur most often right before you wake up, or when you fall back asleep shortly after waking up.
- Plan what you want to dream before you go to sleep. This way, when you happen to start dreaming even if you’re not fully asleep, the critical part of your brain can still keep functioning.
- Repeat “I will know I’m dreaming” as you’re drifting off. This will train your conscious mind to stay alert during your dreams.
Your brain is capable of remarkable things, from remembering a conversation you had with a dear friend to solving complex mathematical problems. But it’s far from perfect. But it’s this imperfection that makes it all the more fascinating!
For Kritika happiness is chocolates, loads of Netflix, journal scribblings and of course music. A child at heart she is currently grappling with adulting. On any given day you’ll find her on the lookout to learn new things and the perfect cup of coffee. Drop in a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you liked her stories or have exciting ideas to share!
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