Neuroplasticity simplified

Neuroplasticity Part II

Let's explore an incredible healing power that lies within us, the capacity to change our brain & physiology, aka Neuroplasticity. Stick with me, while I get technical for just a moment: 'Neuroplasticity, also called brain plasticity, is the process in which your brain's neural synapses and pathways are altered as an effect of environmental, behavioral, and neural changes.' Study.Com

Essentially, Neuroplasticity refers to the brain as ever-changing. It's an exciting science which has brought us a truck load of evidence proving that we can change our own brains, and therefore we can change our lives. The science is kind of mind blowing, the further I've explored, the more it's rocked my world and the more enthusiastic I've become to keep learning. 

So, let's get into my simple and super down to earth explanation of how this works, and what it could mean for you, and your loved ones. 

Consider a neural pathway a bit like a bush track, the track is there as a means to find your way from point A to point B, it serves a purpose. Neural pathways are the paths in our brains which allow us to think certain thoughts and perform certain functions. For example, you have neural pathways which know how to drive you home from work- these often become so strong that we can drive home on autopilot. 

Your neural pathways that know the way home from work, without thinking, are similar to a bush track that's been walked many many many times. The track (neural pathways) is well worn and clear and easy to follow, with very little effort or thought on your part. You might even arrive home and realise that you've been lost in thought the whole way, seemingly paying no attention to driving.

However, if you get a new job and need to drive a new route to work, you will initially need to pay a lot of attention to the direction you're taking. Driving this new route will take a significant conscious effort. If you don't pay enough attention and allow yourself to drift into autopilot, you might just end up at your old workplace, oops!

When we do something novel, a 'track' is not yet established in our brains. We must deliberately and consciously lay down a new pathway from point A to point B. We stop and have a good think about it, map it out and then pay attention to each step. This ensures we're focussed and on the right path.

Just like the bush track that is tread upon regularly, frequently used neural pathways strengthen and become easier to use. With repetition, the neural pathways become easier for your brain to use, it knows exactly what to do and how to do it. 

Wow, look at you, you're still reading! There's clearly something here that's got you intrigued...I totally get it, I find this incredibly fascinating and it honestly fills me with hope- hope for change, a different future, for healing and releasing stuckness. I'd like to share about all of that some more.

Watch this space for the next part of this 3 part series on Neuroplasticity, I'll share more about the issues we can heal through neuroplastic change.

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Neuroplasticity & the science of hope