This is the season of “New Year’s Resolutions”, something I’m not a particular fan of. Mostly I don’t buy into it because of the unrealistic expectations we put on ourselves. This is the year I’ll get fit…I’ll quit smoking…I’ll lose 10kg…and so on. Yet everything else in our lives remains the same. Including our brain – sometimes it seems to work against our best intentions.
Fortunately our brains can change. The old rule-of-thumb “show me the boy at 7 and I’ll show you the man” doesn’t have to remain true.
Our brains have an amazing ability to “rewire”. Below is 2 minute video of Normal Doidge, M.D., author of The Brain that Changes Itself. In it he explains one of the first scientific experiments into neuroplasticity – the ability of the brain to change, to rewire neural circuits.
So why is this important to our health?
I recently heard a quote from a doctor who said around 80% of today’s diseases are stress related. Stress is a learned physical response. If we can rewire our brains to respond to our environments differently, we can dramatically reduce illness, dramatically improve happiness, and improve our quality of life overall.
This clip is a highlight. To view the full talk visit http://www.abc.net.au/tv/fora/stories…
The cliche that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks may soon be obsolete. The more we learn about the human brain, the more we understand the potential that it has to change, adapt and grow. Traditionally the brain was seen as being like a machine, its neural pathways set in stone from childhood. But new studies have shown that the brain can be trained to recover from strokes or paralysis, lifelong habits can be broken, and aging brains be rejuvenated. Through new experiences and brain exercises we can alter our brain’s anatomy to improve cognition, perception, memory and intelligence. In this enlightening session at the Sydney Writers Festival, Norman Doidge talks about the remarkable plasticity of the brain, and shares some examples of how we can open it up to new realms of possibilities.