What is the Difference Between the Brain and the Mind?
We often hear, “he has a brain tumor, he has lost his memory and thinking, Alas! He used to have a sharp memory.” If we ponder over this line. Where did he have a tumor? How did it affect his memory and thinking? Is there any relation between a physical thing (brain) and an intangible (memory and thinking)?
Suppose we say both are the same, then we must say he had a tumor in memory, but it seems weird. Isn’t it? It is obvious that both are different terms but correlated with each other somehow.
This blog will help you understand major differences, similarities, and how to enhance your mind and brain.
The Brain and the Mind
The brain and the mind are the two most common terms used interchangeably. Both the brain and mind control each other and are dependent on each other. We can take an example of a loudspeaker. The loudspeaker is a physical or tangible thing. It produces an intangible sound, we can not see and touch the sound, but we can hear it and sense it.
Similarly, the brain is a physical or tangible thing, and it can be touched and seen. But the mind is an intangible thing; we can’t touch our mind or see it.
What is the Brain?
The brain is a physical organ of our body that controls our whole body by sending commands via motor and sensory systems. It contains vessels and 100 billion neurons. Enclosed in our skull, it coordinates movements, senses, heart functions, breathing, communication, and memory.
The brain weighs almost 3 pounds. It has different parts like the cerebellum, cerebrum, medulla, pons, and brain stem. It contains different types of cells like glial cells, neuronal cell bodies, dendrites, axons, and synapsis. These all structures make up the grey matter of the brain. The white matter of the brain consists of the corpus callosum.
The brain has three types of the nervous system to perform functions in the body:
- Central nervous system (CNS)
- Peripheral nervous system (PNS)
- Autonomic nervous system (ANS)
The autonomic nervous system has a sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. Moreover, the brain has neurotransmitters that control messages from one nerve ending to another. The brain is connected to the spinal cord, which contains all the spinal nerves.
What is the Mind?
The most puzzling and intangible thing related to the brain is the mind. Mind is all about thoughts, feelings, emotions, spirits, wills, imagination, memory and perception. It is an embodied spirit.
Mind is how we understand and think about a certain function commanded by the brain.
Aristotle describes the connection between the brain and the mind in his book “De anima (On the soul):
“Have not we already disposed of the difficulty about interaction involving a common element, when we said that mind is in a sense potentially whatever is thinkable, though actually, it is nothing until it has thought? What it thinks must be in it just as characters may be said to be on a writing tablet on which as yet nothing actually stands written: this is exactly what happens with mind.”
The mental actions are buried in our brain, but how we recall, understand, and take actions is the functioning of our mind. The brain gives input, but our mind always gives output.
What are the major differences?
Following are the main differences between the brain and mind.
1. Tangible Vs. Intangible
The brain can be seen, touched, and felt, but the mind can not be seen or touched. Mind is an abstract thing.
The brain has a definite shape and structure, enclosed in a bony skull, but the mind has no definite shape and structure.
Different parts of the brain perform different functions. The cerebellum is associated with movements, balance, posture, and coordination between muscles. The cerebrum is involved in learning, hearing, vision, and touch. Brain stem controls heart rate, respiration(breathing), body temperature, digestion, and sleep cycle.
Moreover, a sympathetic autonomic nervous system activates the fight and flight responses in your body. The parasympathetic system works in relaxed states of the body.
The mind is involved in thinking, evaluation, and deciding actions. Information is stored in the brain, but the mind evaluates this information. The mind always works at three levels:
- Conscious level
- Subconscious level
- Unconscious level.
At a conscious level, an active process of thinking and evaluation occurs. We think, understand, and evaluate. Sometimes, we are not aware of thinking, but we’re still thinking about that thing; this is a subconscious level of thinking. Primitive and instincts are part of unconscious thinking.
4. Diseases of the Brain Vs. disorders of mind
Disorders of the Brain can be diagnosed, investigated, and treated earlier. Radiological studies like X-rays, MRI, CT scans, and contrast studies can be helpful in diagnosis. Lab investigations are done to reach a diagnosis. Surgical correction of brain disorders is also possible.
Meanwhile, disorders of the mind are usually difficult to treat, for example, depression, bipolar disorders, and schizophrenia. Diagnosis is usually based on clinical signs and symptoms. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is usually helpful.
How to enhance your brain function?
You can keep your brain healthy and enhance its functions by following methods:
- Regular exercise (yoga, morning walk, swimming, or exercise for 15-30 minutes daily)
- Healthy diet
- Stay mentally and physically active (by playing puzzles, games, jigsaws and cards)
- Adequate sleep
- Take healthy supplements
How to improve the functions of your mind?
Mind is all about the process of thinking. You can enhance your mental functioning by following steps:
- Sort out problems earlier
- Think positively
- Share your problems with friends and family
- Speak about your issues
- Stay confident
- Avoid negative thoughts or energy-draining thoughts
- Try new thing
- Give importance to yourself and love yourself
- Don’t be emotionally dependent on someone
The brain is the body’s vital organ, and the mind is an abstract thing that evaluates everything stored in the brain. Both of them play a vital role in maintaining the mental integrity of a person. It would be best if you take good care of your brain and mind.
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That’s it for now.