Sunday, November 8, 2009

Go Grow Your Brain

Neurons in the brain
Originally uploaded by Hljod.Huskona
Did you know that you can use your mind to rewire your brain? What a mind-blowing idea. I've been reading this book, The Brain that Changes Itself, by Norman Doidge, MD. It's about the science of neuroplasticity and the discovery that our brain is not fixed or hard-wired. It is endlessly adaptable and dynamic and has the power to change its own structure, even for those with the severe neurological afflictions. People with problems like strokes, cerebral palsy, and mental illness can re-wire their brains through repetitive mental and physical activities and completely change their brains and their lives. Amazing.

Now here's the really exciting part. Our brains don't have to stop changing, even as we get old. Through continued learning, new connections can form between neurons, and the structure of existing synapses can change. In other words, areas in your brain keep growing if you keep learning through repitition and practice. In fact, brain deterioration can be reversed by twenty to thirty years. Just like exercise, you have to use it or lose it. The more adept you become at the skill you are learning, the more your brain grows and supports the learning. Go figure.

Does it get better? Yep. Thought and imagination also can change your brain and rewire it for positive change. Here's an example. In December 2007, Men's Health magazine detailed a study in which participants visualized themselves doing bicep curls. They did no weightlifting at all, yet their average bicep size grew by 13%. You can imagine yourself into all kinds of wonderful changes for the better. And think of the impact of imagination combined with action. You could soar. Studies also have been done related to meditation. Avid meditators can grow the areas of their brains related to compassion, peace of mind and happiness. If all of our world leaders meditated daily, we might have the prescription for world peace.

The unfortunate part of knowing your brain is changeable is losing your box of excuses for living in Mediocreland. I'm too old. I'm not creative. I'm not smart enough. I'm not good at that. Those don't fly anymore. If you keep learning, if you keep imagining, if you keep thinking, your brain will grow. Your possibilities will be endless. Your dreams will become reality. It will be mind-blowing. Go think on that!

1 comment:

  1. I love this. It's so true. I have to go now and visualize away my cellulite. Thanks, wonderful life coach! ET