Do you have a body? Or does your body have you?
Either way, I’ve put together a few facts about our bodies that I find interesting and worth the few minutes that you will spend reading this post.
But let me warn you: some of them may make you uneasy!
Fact: 95% of our decisions are made unconsciously.
I tend to spend a lot of time weighing the pros and cons of my decisions. So that for my part, I find this fact liberating. Yes, we do use slow thinking to analyze our more important decisions, but life consists of endless choices. Our brains give us a break by making these choices for us, at least most of the time.
Fact: Our brains plan an action about one-fifth of a second before we consciously decide to perform that action.
Does this one make you feel uneasy? I don’t know if it denies free will. But I’d think twice before telling anyone that I’m the sum of my decisions.
Fact: 90% of the cells in our bodies are bacteria.
The good sort of bacteria, I should add. That is, bacteria that sustain our continued existence on this planet rather than subvert it.
Fact: A woman’s heart typically beats faster than a man’s ( around 78 beats per minute compared to only 70).
Do men have lazier hearts? Maybe. Does this affect in any way our love potential? Unlikely since we love with our brains more than with any other (internal) organs.
Fact: Up to 60% of addiction risk stems from genetic factors.
I’ll try to remember this next time I’m tempted to look down on someone who has a drinking or drug problem. My father had drinking problems. For my part, I’m trying to be careful about it. For now, the only drinking problem I have is having too much tea sometimes.
Fact: Women feel pain more intensely than men because they have more nerve receptors in their bodies.
Wasn’t Bob Dylan right when he said, “Behind every beautiful thing, there’s some kind of pain.”?
Fact: The average human attention span is just 8 seconds.
That’s less than a goldfish. And with all the information overload and distractions we’re having in our times, this is likely going to keep going down. But we can improve our concentration by getting proper sleep, meditating, eating well, exercising, and so on.
Fact: We spend about 2 hours every night dreaming.
We don’t remember most of our dreams, but that doesn’t mean we don’t dream! Dreams could be memory or creative aides, or they could help our brains cope with life traumas. You can read more about the role of dreams.
Fact: You have fewer genes than an onion—around 20,000 compared to 100,000.
Remember this next time an onion makes you cry?
Our bodies are amazing. And quite weird, too!
There’s a vast world within us, and it’s every bit as fascinating as the world outside us, don’t you think?
All facts taken from:
How the Body Works, Dorling Kindersley, 2016
How the Brain Works, Dorling Kindersley, 2020
All images copyright Fernando Vicente. Check out his wonderful work on his website.