WHAT NEUROPLASTICITY MEANS FOR US
Neuroscience has given us incredible insight into how our minds and brains work.
We are not our brain. We are just the user of it.
The greater our understanding of it, the better we can use it.
Take neuroplasticity for instance. Simply put, it is the brain’s ability to learn and develop at any age. This is great news for us because it means that learning isn’t exclusively for the youth (but perhaps only for the “young at heart” then).
Neural pathways develop by the constant firing between synapses in the brain. These are electrical charges that send information throughout the nervous system. When these charges happen continuously, a permanent link is formed the way a river is carved out through the land by the consistent force of water.
The opposite is also true. If there is a link that remains unused, the ‘river’ dries out and the connection is broken.
Thus we can physically change our brains through learning and creating habits. The old adage that it takes 21 days to instil a habit is possibly where this came from.
WHAT THEN DOES IT MEAN TO BE ABLE TO CHANGE OUR BRAIN?
The possibilities are endless.
In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and ensure longevity – to create new connections or ‘rivers’ in your brain – try incorporating some of these tasks into your daily routine:
- Brush your teeth with your opposite hand
- Learn how to say “hello” in 5 different languages
- Building physical balance is key to a healthy nervous system, so stand on one leg while waiting for the kettle to boil.
- Stir your coffee or tea in the opposite direction
- Read out loud
The more we can utilise our brains, the better our overall health and wellbeing will be.