Neuroplasticity – a big word with bigger implications
Neuroplasticity is the ability of our brain to form and reorganise synaptic connections, especially in response to learning or following an injury. It’s the physiological changes that happen, as we change our behaviour or learn a new habit.
Neuroplasticity is about connections
Our brain has, on average, 100 billion neurons, each making up to 10,000 connections with other neurons. As we change our habits, thoughts, actions and emotions, our brain forms new connections or reorganises the ones we already have. This is especially important for anyone who’s had an accident and needs rehabilitation – it’s the ‘practice and repeat’ pattern of rehabilitation, that enables them to rebuild the pathways that were previously connected between their neurons.
Every thought, emotion and repetition reinforces a neural pathway. What we repeat, improves, and what we no longer use, fades. This is neuroplasticity – our brain either makes stronger connections or weakens them, depending on our actions, thoughts and emotions.
When we first change something, a connection or pathway is made – but it’s only a temporary pathway. It’s only through our subsequent actions, that our brain knows to build and improve that connection. If your brain judges the experience to be boring or uninteresting, those pathways won’t be reinforced and built on.
You need to have patience and perseverance
This is why, when we’re learning something new, we need to have patience and perseverance. It takes time, to build new connections and pathways, especially if you’re learning something totally new or are looking to change something that is already deeply connected (or rooted) as a habit.
Another factor that needs to be considered is our age – as the speed that change happens is also dependent on age. When we’re younger, we find learning easier, as our brain is more plastic – it therefore finds it easier to form new connections. As we get older, we do get more fixed in our thinking and the whole process is slower – but it never stops forming these connections.
You need to have focus
When it comes to change, it’s important to remember that whatever you focus on is the thing that builds the connection. If you want to change something, you need to give it your focus and attention. The harder you try something or the more alert and focused you are, the easier it will be to turn this into a habit. As is often mentioned when relating to the Law of Attraction – what you focus on expands, literally.
Make change a multisensory thing
Visualisation is such a powerful tool of change, because it enables you to focus on what you want AND it implements all your senses. The act of making anything you want to change a multisensory thing, is a more focused, intense act – so you’re more likely to ingrain those changes faster.
Change can be a negative or positive thing
Finally, it’s important to remember, your brain isn’t judging what you do as something negative or positive. It’s just taking what you repeatedly think, feel and act as something important to you – and the connection will therefore be strengthened. This is how negative habits and beliefs are formed – but now you’re aware of how it works, you can make a choice to use neuroplasticity to implement more conscious, positive changes into your life.
Now you know a little more about neuroplasticity, what are your thoughts on it? Is it something you can see as a benefit to your life and the changes you want to implement? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it, so why not leave a comment below.
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