Your mind is dynamic; it’s always evolving. Every second, your trillions of synapses strengthen or weaken somewhat. These intriguing alterations are accompanied by the creation of new neurons in the brain throughout the course of our lives. Research has pointed to several essential tactics we can employ to aid in promoting healthy brain change, and while there is still much to learn about exactly how and what affects our brains, this is a promising start.
There has been a steady rise in the popularity of a potent idea in the neuroscience literature over the past few decades. Neuroplasticity is a broad term for the way our brains develop and change throughout our lives in response to our environments. The concept itself isn’t new, despite the renewed interest in it. In reality, in 1890, William James used the term “plasticity” to characterize neural plasticity. What’s novel is our understanding of neuroplasticity and, more significantly, how to shape it for our own good.
Neuroplasticity is the idea that our brains are highly plastic, adaptable, and can change in response to new information. It’s thought to underlie learning and memory, as well as the brain’s ability to heal after injuries like strokes. Issues with this process are linked to psychological trauma, depression, and cognitive decline/dementia.
The Importance of Rewiring Your Brain
Brain rewiring has numerous positive effects, such as enhancing one’s ability to think clearly, concentrate, be creative, deal with stress and anxiety, and have a good night’s rest.
Ways to Rewire Your Brain
Exercise is one of the best ways to rewire your brain. Exercise increases the levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that helps to grow and repair brain cells.
Strength training, in particular, has been related to enhanced healthy neuroplasticity in the brain. Mood disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, and other illnesses associated with less brain plasticity are less likely to occur. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) production is stimulated, which is an important marker of normal maturation. While there is some disagreement about the ideal exercise duration, most experts agree that at least 20 minutes, several times each week is optimal.
2. Get enough sleep:
Sleep is essential for brain health. It allows the brain to consolidate memories and repair itself. Sleep benefits the brain by giving it time to recharge from the day’s activities. The brain is able to make connections and consolidate memories when we sleep. In addition to helping us feel happier and less stressed, sleep plays an important role in maintaining our health.
3. Eat a healthy diet:
A healthy diet provides the brain with the nutrients it needs to function properly.
The nutrients provided by a balanced diet are essential to maintaining brain health and optimum brain function. Among these include omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and antioxidants.
4. Stimulate your mind:
Mental stimulation helps to keep the brain active and healthy. Stimulating activities include reading, learning new things, and spending time with friends and family.
Brain training, according to the findings of neuroplasticity research, can result in heightened cognitive abilities. Problem-solving games like crosswords, Wordle, and sudoku are just a few examples of how this might be put into effect, as are the study of an instrument or a foreign language. In light of recent findings, it seems that a program that combines mental and physical activities may be highly effective.
5. Take care of your physical health:
Physical health is important for overall brain health. maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption can all help to keep the brain healthy.
6. Reducing levels of chronic stress and inflammation
If physical and mental exercises are good for healthy neuroplasticity, what is bad for it? Here, research has revealed that two major lifestyle variables may be at play: chronic stress and chronic inflammation. Each of these influences may suppress brain production of the key neuroplasticity molecule BDNF. Additionally, chronic stress has been linked to imaging findings in brains suggestive of issues related to neuroplasticity. These include shrinkage of the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus (two structures key to mood and cognition) and a relative expansion of the amygdala (a hub for emotional processing).
It’s important to note that despite these types of studies, we don’t want to fully remove inflammation and stress from our lives and our brains. On the other hand, basic lifestyle changes that may support healthier levels of each of those inputs may have a positive effect on neuroplasticity processes. For stress, finding ways to mitigate excess stress (exercise, nature exposure, mindfulness, working with a mental health practitioner) could prove helpful. Regarding inflammation, choosing a diet like the Mediterranean diet (low in processed foods and added sugars), getting good sleep, engaging in regular physical activity, and avoiding unnecessary exposure to air pollution have all been linked to potential anti-inflammatory effects.
Neuroplasticity is the study of how our brains are able to change and adapt in light of new information. It’s also what scientists believe allows the brain to recover from trauma like strokes.
Following these tips will help ensure your brain health is primed for whatever is coming your way.