Common Factors – It’s More Than Numbers

Common Factors - It’s More Than Numbers

        Mathematics, the one subject that many of us when in school hated with a deep passion, and then there are those who loved math forevermore. I’m sure you have been told this by your friends, family, or someone or even have thought of it yourself: “Math!? When will I use this?” Well, I am sure some of you are nodding your head and some are voicing it in their heads. People fear that which they do not understand. But once you understand math, that fear will go away, or become even more unbearable. But you might be wondering, what is there to understand about math? To this, I answer everything.

        Math is not just numbers on paper but a way of life. Yes, sure, math deals with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, but this is just the beginning of math. What you learned in elementary school or middle school is only a grain of what math truly is. Mathematics becomes much more meaningful when you apply it to real life. Mathematics is all around you, and present in all walks of life. Whether you are an author, poet, musician, scientist, professional sports player, gamer, artist, and many more, you use mathematics without even realizing it. The symbols on a sheet of music are a form of math, the points that a sports player scores is also math, making a chemical reaction also requires the use of math, all these different professions use math. I am sure you use it too without even realizing it. Challenge yourself, observe and count just how many times you use math in your daily life. 

          If you are reading this article, you are reading math, after all, computers and computer programs are all just 0s and 1s given the form you see before your eyes. These complex programs and commands are administered and executed by the computer to give the pleasure of using the internet, Google, and social media. In a way texting is just a form of sending numbers to your friends and family. If numbers and math exist all around you, why do people not realize it? The simple and pure mathematics of the past has evolved and is incorporated into many things to make our lives easier.

         Languages like Spanish, English and many other languages around the world have their own dictionary, words, sentences, and distinctions but the rules and laws of mathematics do not change regardless of language. They are universal. Math does not tell you the ifs and maybes but the truth. This is the beauty of mathematics. It is incorporated in your life and all around. Math has existed in the past, it exists in the present, and will continue to exist so long as humans live. Instead of abandoning mathematics, you should embrace it. 

         In fact, according to an article in Duke Today, “Engaging a specific part of the brain during mental math exercises is connected with better emotional health…” Math is just one of the many ways to overcome emotional stress. Matthew Scult, a neuroscience graduate student under Professor Ahmad Hariri at Duke, suggests that “the ability to regulate emotions like fear and anger reflects the brain’s ability to make numerical calculations in real-time”. The higher the brain activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain used when doing memory-based math problems), the fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression. In layman terms, by doing math problems you are improving your ability to regulate your emotions and finding an outlet for the overwhelming emotions in your body. 

         Regulating emotions is the basis on which a calm and healthy mind stems from. A calm mind leads to rational thinking and decision making, you are not so easily controlled by impulsive emotions in your body. You are able to think through situations you might not have thought you could deal with before and you learn to see the bright side in the dark situations. I’m sure math will frustrate and disappoint you (more than once) but keep persevering, not only are you exercising your brain but you are working on the mental wellbeing for future you.

CITATION: Bates, Karl. “Could Mental Math Boost Emotional Health?” Duke Today, 10 Oct. 2016,,the%20journal%20Clinical%20Psychological%20Science.