Neuroplasticity basically means that your brain is able to change (it is NOT static): it can grow and strengthen, build new connections, etc. The fact that I am writing this right now is an example of the amazing miracle of neuroplasticity: even when the traditional routes are damaged or innately weak (ie. such as from my TBI), our brains can cleverly and creatively form new pathways for doing things. This is great news– for me, for you, for all people! If you’ve thought that because you have x, that you are therefore unable to ever do y, that might not actually be true.
And, more good news: There are intentional things that we can do to ENHANCE each of our brain’s neuroplasticity:
These things are:
- Focused Attention: ie. mindfulness— intentionally choosing to be aware of whatever is around you.If you missed last week’s post, check it out!! All on mindfulness and the benefits of it.
- Aerobic exercise: so many studies, it’s awe-ing.
- Novelty: did you know that trying new things actually stimulates new neural connections?
- Emotional Arousal:ie. whenever we are emotionally engaged in something (ie. when we’re doing something that is meaningful to us and/or we find value in!
And, let’s get back to basics. While many people are aware of this, let me joyfully remind us that the very FOUNDATION for promoting neuroplasticity (ie. basic brain hygiene) is:
- Regular Exercise: leads to physical, emotional, and mental balance and vitality– “aerobics not only releases the endorphins that can combat a down mood but also promotes the growth of the brain” ( Mindsight, Dr. Daniel Siegel, 88).
- A Good Diet: nourishes your body and brain
- Sleep: sleep is healing
May we kindly and lovingly take care of ourselves. May we grow and abound in nourishing our brains and bodies!
P.S. Though these concepts are widely discussed and thoroughly researched, this information comes from Dr. Dan Siegel’s (awesome) book, Mindsight.
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