The agile brain: What is neuroplasticity and how we can use it to our advantage
This feature allows you to improve your skills in any area, such as sports, music or language.
Our brain has plasticity until the last day of life. That is why we can change everything you propose, as long as you want.
This process is known as neuroplasticity , and it is the ability to modify and reorganize itself, forming new neural connections. It is the secret of lifelong learning and responsible for major brain changes.
This feature allows you to improve your skills in any area, such as sports, music or language. And with it comes a host of benefits: improved memory, concentration, and even mood.
If we think that the human brain weighs between 1,300 and 1,500 grams, and that it concentrates all the activity of the nervous system and the commands of our body, it seems incredible that it is capable of carrying out all this task. Even so, it remains one of the great unknown by scientists, who permanently study it in depth.
And neuroplasticity is one of those terms that were discovered relatively recently, explaining the modifications that the brain makes in terms of structure and function, influenced by the environment in which we live.
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Brain plasticity happens throughout the day and throughout life, even if you are not aware of it. What happens is that we permanently receive stimuli at the nervous level, which lead the brain to adapt.
For example, depending on the environment, people and experiences you have, it is how it is modified to mold itself according to what you live.
It is the new neural connections that create brand new synapses (back and forth interaction between neurons), and thus help us to better adapt, become more flexible, learn, develop skills and connect with the new, among other aspects.
The brain has more than 100,000 million neurons that function individually, although they establish connections between them to generate all the events of this organ.
To graph it, imagine a huge neural constellation interacting with each other, as if it were an electricity network, generating the impulses that are translated into movements, actions and other forms of life.
Neuroplasticity: ally of change
Image: Peter Conlan via Unsplash.
The brain changes as much as we want to, although neuroplasticity is a function common to all humans. By modifying its structure "plastically", it transforms its properties and therefore contributes to the evolutionary process of people.
In childhood, neuroplasticity is greater, because at that stage we are collecting information that, later, will be the basis for the brain food that we will have as adults.
8 ways to stimulate your neuroplasticity
The good news is that it can be stimulated. In doing so, new stimuli are created, the brain begins to "prune" what we no longer need, and thus creates new routes prepared to respond to what we are incorporating.
Here are eight ideas for creating more neuroplasticity:
- Learning from experience: becoming aware of the steps we have taken so that certain concrete and novel results have been produced in life. This is how we internalize the learnings of life.
- Critical and complex thinking : moments of reflection, analysis, drawing conclusions.
- Study a new language and read completely new materials for you, and that have increasing difficulties in your learning.
- Resignify mistakes: the awareness that occurs is highly encouraging for new neural connections and, of course, it also has repercussions at the level of emotions.
- Metaphorical and abstract thinking: thinking in ways other than usual makes the brain strive to incorporate new neural pathways, expanding the possibilities. Leaving the linear and little complex thinking will help you to have more depth and meaning in the interpretation of the events in your life.
- Open your mind: for example, consider different points of view, talk with totally different people, travel, explore topics that pique your curiosity, translate any material, and listen to podcasts and videos in other languages.
- Placing yourself in the position of the eternal apprentice : having the willingness to learn from everything and everyone.
- Do crossword puzzles and brain teasers ; and even highlighting texts in books and memorizing some numbers or phrases.
As we can see, we can incorporate these dynamics in a natural way, while we are encouraging the brain to "rewire" in terms of its neural functions, stimulating its neuroplasticity.
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