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The Importance of Ignoring

By Chris Brown

If you have ever been accosted by a family member or significant other for ignoring them, you may feel that it is a trait that needs fixing. However, ignoring may not be so bad after all. In fact, it may just be good for your brain. According to new studies, the strong ability to ignore is a key element of an athletic body and a deep-thinking brain.

Overwhelming the Senses With Input

The body receives thousands upon thousands of inputs daily, from visual cues to auditory input to the multitude of touch sensors every second. While our sensory tools, eyes, ears, skin, and nose, are undiscriminating as to what is transmitted up the brainstem, the brain must decipher what is actually important to be noticed at any given time. The acknowledgement of too much input and the brain's limited bandwidth becomes overwhelmed, making thought or quick decisions impossible. Therefore, it becomes more what the brain ignores, rather than what it senses, that makes a brain's functionality optimal.

Ignoring Benefits Coordination and Deep Thought

In a 2021 prosthetics study into the connection between movement and the brain, the ability to filter out data was central to complex, dexterous movements. In throwing a ball, for instance, certain input, such as the touch senses from the hand, are needed for accuracy. The slight adjustments made to throwing a ball operate fluidly between sensory input and mental output, faster than our conscious thinking ability allows. In order to receive these inputs quick enough for meaningful adjustments, input from the rest of the body, even potentially pain input, must be temporarily ignored by the brain. 

The study alludes that coordinated movement and perhaps even athleticism could source in one's ability to block data that's irrelevant to the athletic task. A similar experience occurs when someone is deep in concentration. Oftentimes, external sounds and feelings are repressed in favor of accomplishing an important task. Without this ability to block out the external world, we would never be able think creatively or discover existential revelations about our existence. Therefore, you may accidentally ignore your significant other not because you are particularly rude, but because your mind is busy working through the problems of the future.

Chiropractic Can Help Your Ability to Healthily Ignore

Since the effectiveness of the brain's filter system is centered in a physical brain area called the thalamus, improving the efficiency of that part would facilitate better ignoring. Chiropractic manipulation of the cervical vertebrae have shown promise in clearing the neural pathways and blood flow that maintains a healthy thalamus. Similarly, chiropractic can speed the neural transmission of sensory input from the entire body, by optimizing the brain-body communication network. In this way, the instinctual movements behind a physical action, say throwing a ball, can be sped to require less mental drain. By removing dysfunctions in the nervous system and boosting the thalamus, chiropractic can help to make you an expert ignorer in no time.

Stop by The Joint Chiropractic today, to see how spinal manipulation can improve your life.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Simi Valley, Calif.

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