Mental Math & Mental Health
Mathematics makes for an effective way to give the brain some food in order to see significant improvements in health
Leading a healthy lifestyle by practising what’s right for the body is the need of the hour. When we talk of overall health, it comprises physical, mental, and emotional fitness. Awareness about mental health and practices that enable the well-being of the mind has grown exponentially in recent years. There are several elements that contribute to a healthy and empowered mental state. Mathematics – the science that deals with shapes, quantity, numbers, and reasoning makes for an effective way to give the brain some food in order to see significant improvements in health. It is also one of the vital components to develop and improve mental power.
Take a quick peek through these tenets of Math for Mental Fitness that shed light on reasons why math is good for health:
Boosts brain power
Math’s positive impact and effects on the brain have continued to build through years of research. According to a Stanford University study “having a positive attitude about math was connected to better function of the hippocampus, an important memory centre in the brain, during the performance of arithmetic problems.” It is known that math improves brainpower, but it is also observed that the chances of shrinking of brain cells that lead to forms of dementia like Alzheimer’s can be reduced by exposing the brain to challenging exercises like math problems, puzzles and crosswords, and more. Further, imposing math in the foundational years of young children can help develop and strengthen their brain muscles, make memory sharper, and improve concentration.
Brings out the mind’s creative, productive, and happier side
First, a myth-buster – that math is only for the logical side of the brain otherwise known as the ‘left brain’. If harmonies in music can be measured in wavelengths, and new shades can be discovered by mixing fractions of colours, then, creativity can also help developmental math. Math enhances creativity, especially when solving problems. It requires the creative side of the brain to visualise and re-conceive. When there’s a problem, there’s data to be worked through and processes to be explored. The brain’s analytical thinking while solving math can help build a creative and more productive state of mind.
Second, as one bridges the gap between ‘This is a tough one?!’ to ‘Yes, I solved it!!’, the neurotransmitter ends up stimulating a happier and more motivated state of mind. Solving a puzzle or a math problem leads to the elevation of dopamine levels in the brain, which in turn leaves one happier. It is recommended to work on improving mathematical fluency instead of simply learning or parroting math. As it helps structure both sides of the brain to work together and have a more active, creative, and out-of-the-box approach to problems!
Math boosts confidence to improve mental well-being
Psychology states the clear link between emotions and feelings to mental health. Confidence and self-esteem are one spectrum of approaches for mental health promotion. Inducing math-based drills among students can help improve their brain’s health and elevate their confidence to a great extent, the effect of which contributes to mental well-being.
Enables understanding of the real-world
With n number of things happening in the real world, math makes it easier for young minds to make sense of it all and expands the mind to deal with adversity and changes in life. Practices like encouraging students to be curious, to make observations, to think of new and inventive ways to solve problems, can create an environment that supports creative mathematical thought processes.
Math teaches fundamental concepts that govern the world. It not only has extensive applications in real-life but is also imperative to have a healthy and fulfilled mind.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house
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