What do you know about the brain?
Did you know that your brain is changing its physical form and function every day in response to what you experience, what you do for behaviors are, and according to what you think about? This process is called neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity has nothing to do with plastic but does describe the ability of the brain to do what it does. You could say the brain changes according to its needs. Furthermore, did you know that you can learn to guide this process so it will help you rather than feeling stuck in “some thought or other?” You may have heard of practicing mindfulness before but that is a good label for what needs to happen. We do need to think about what we do, and even not think about what we do! We can change up what the brain uses for the information. I am all done sounding like some ad. However, this is interesting information. Did you know that it’s because of neuroplasticity you are not stuck with the brain you are born with?
What is Neuroplasticity?
Neuroplasticity is used as an umbrella term as it refers to the brain’s ability to reorganize itself physically and functionally for our entire lives as we respond to our environments, it is a part of our behaviors, our thoughts, and our emotions.
The field of science once believe significant changes in the brain only happened during what is known as critical periods during childhood. The brain is indeed more malleable, more plastic when we are children and its capacity does decline as we age. However, it is trainable. Plasticity itself happens up until we die! It simply requires a bit more work when we are older so it sticks with us; nothing too hard but there are specific conditions under which it can happen. It is a matter of paying attention to what we think, feel, or want because how we react and behave shapes the brain. For example, If we do mind puzzles, read, create things, engage with other people, etc we help the brain to function. This said a lot of neuroplasticity happens outside of our awareness. This is called negative neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity has a role in common braid conditions such as schizophrenia, anxiety, bipolar, depression, epilepsy, obsessive-compulsive, and phobic behaviors which happen because neuroplastic changes happen over time in the brain.
However, it is neuroplasticity that allows all learning and memory to occur. Neuroplasticity is vital to recovery regarding brain injuries, addictions, and other mental health conditions. We know that to overcome mental conditions we can work to “drive back towards normal operations” by fostering neuroplastic endeavors we have success in restoration of the mind’s abilities. There are studies on brain plasticity. The studies show that our brain power, intelligence, our ability to gain control; that both healthy and impaired individuals can improve with targeted behavioral training.
“Neuroplasticity has possible positive applications in many areas, including medicine, psychiatry, psychology, relationships, education, and more. Where it stands to have the most potential is for the individual in their own life.” Human beings can learn to consciously control their thinking, reactions, and behaviors. Some of the experiences we have, we can work on our own. This is called self-directed neuroplasticity. This means it is possible to change and heal our own lives through intention. With the help of counseling, or self-help in some cases we can make a difference in what we think. With what we use from our consciousness and subconsciousness. The next question is What is mindfulness?