The term “neuroplasticity” can look a bit daunting at first glance. It seems like everyone is talking about it these days, so we decided to do some research ourselves. This buzzword seems to be the key to all things brain-longevity and brain enhancement.
So what exactly is it? Researchers say that neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to adapt and change over time. As we learn throughout the course of our lifetime, new synaptic connections are formed and pathways are created. This paves the way to formulate new habits. We can use this opportunity to create either positive or negative changes, so we suggest choosing wisely (after all, here at Liveli we #ChooseToProgress).
Studies suggest that strengthening our neuroplasticity makes our brain more resilient, and can even aid in people’s ability to recover from strokes, injuries, and other detrimental situations. The brain’s neural pathways can replicate and adjust other pathways’ functions and create new neural connections which aid in developmental errors or temporary losses of functions. Engaging in activities encourages neuroplasticity, leading the brain to improve its ability to recover from trauma and injury, as well as reducing risk for Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
Studies also show a link between the brain’s neuroplasticity and mitigation of depressive symptoms. Because neuroplasticity can reinforce both positive and negative behaviors, the brain can adapt to behaviors increasing depression. However, because it works both ways, studies have shown a positive link between neuroplasticity and reducing depressive symptoms. For one study, a young woman with depression and panic disorder found that reinforcing positive behaviors through yoga instilled a sense of calm and wellbeing.
In fact, neuroplasticity is shown to make our brains more flexible, boost our creativity, aid in emotion regulation, and increase our problem solving ability. By engaging in day-to-day activities and behaviors with positive effects, we are able to influence our brain structure and function for the better.
In order to better our ability to positively change our brains, we’ve got to be willing to adapt some new skills and challenges. Use this as a reason to take up that new hobby that you’ve been saying you would for years -- pick up a new language, take music lessons, start painting, try a logistical puzzle. Even shifting your environment to avoid redundancy. The opportunities are endless.
The more we practice these new skills and habits, the reinforcement of these repetitive actions begin to create these new neural pathways to implement positive changes for lasting neural health. We're always up for a challenge to become the best version of ourselves, what about you?