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Are Teenage Brains Different From Adult Brains?

teenage brain


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Are teenage brains really different from adult ones? Well, as a matter of fact, yes they are!

A fully developed adult brain can effectively make decisions, react and act according to eat situation. There are parts of the brain that work together and in doing so allow us to make rational judgements and decisions. In essence, the adult brain (when engaged correctly) is absolutely phenomenal! That 3lbs of flesh in between your ears is the most advanced object in the known universe.

However the brain of a teenager is different. Of course it is still phenomenally advanced. However, the teenage brain is not quite yet on the same level as the adult brain. And one of the main reasons for this is due to the fact that the part of the brain that controls emotions and rationale hasn’t fully developed yet.

Thats right, this part of our brains is called The Prefrontal Cortex.

The rational part of our brain, the part of our brain that makes us uniquely human. The part that is there for creativity, but it also there to rationalise actions. It is also there to give us empathy and will step in when you are making a rash judgement. As we have already said, the human brain is the most advanced object in the known universe. Well, we can also say that the prefrontal cortex is by far the most advanced part of your amazing brain.

The Prefrontal Cortex is the most advanced part of any human brain.

Now the problem that teenagers have is that this Prefrontal Cortex is the last part of the brain to fully develop. It usually develops in the latter part of teenage years or into the early twenties. Once teenagers have been through puberty the assumption is that they are fully developed and fully grown. However, this part of their brains is most often still developing.

So if the Prefrontal Cortex is still developing it means that they aren’t going to have the same rational thing as they are going to have when this part of the brain finally becomes fully developed.  It’s not there to step in and help us make rational decisions then we are thinking more with our primitive part of our brains, sometimes referred to as the Limbic System.

Why teenagers might be more susceptible to anxiety and depression

This limbic system is the part of our brain that is responsible for anxiety, anger and is known as the emotional part of our brain.

If you are a teenager that is suffering with anxiety then hang in there. Try to think on the good side of things, the positives, the solutions, what you are grateful for in life. However do also remember, this Prefrontal Cortex, the brilliant, rational part of your brain is still developing. Therefore the older you get, the closer you get to those late teenage years, early twenties, the more and more that this Prefrontal Cortex will grow. The more you will be even able to think more creatively and more rationally.

If you are a teenager you’ve got that to look forward to and if you’re a parent, reading this then use this information to start a conversation. Sit your son or daughter down and help explain to them why they may be feeling more sensitive and susceptible to anxious thoughts and reactions. Maybe get them to watch this video.

It will be helpful for them to know the Science behind their feelings and might also give them a glimmer of hope to know that this way of reacting wont last forever.

Remember to always be patient with each other.

Check out my 6 morning rituals that you can make a part of your life today.

If you’re interested in more information about how your amazing brain works here is an article that addresses the question of whether our brains are equipped to take on modern day life.

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