Change Your Mind, Change Your Life

21 Nov 14

One of the most remarkable discoveries in neuroscience of late must surely be the neuroplasticity of the brain. We are now aware that our brains are constantly changing and reshaping in response to the experiences we encounter. We are affected by every event in our lives and how we respond to those events creates various neural pathways in our brain. These pathways can be strengthened by repetitive experiences and thoughts. Likewise, they can be weakened and redirected into new neural pathways.

Basically, the brain can reorganise itself to suit our needs dependent on the information it receives through our thoughts, experiences and emotions.

Experience-related neuroplasticity refers to how our brains are shaped by events beyond our control. Self-directed neuroplasticity refers to how our thoughts and deliberate practices shape our brains. What I find most interesting about this, is whilst there is experience-related neuroplasticity, to some degree this must be influenced by self-directed neuroplasticity; we all react in different ways to similar experiences. If we strengthen nerve cells and pathways towards a more positive way of thinking and therefore of dealing with experiences, we impact on the malleability of the brain in regard to experience-related neuroplasticity. Therefore the two are intrinsically linked – how we respond to events beyond our control will affect how our brain functions.

It is now clear, that our habits, our regular activities and behaviours have a fundamental effect on how our brains are shaped and how they function. Our brain can create new neural pathways in regard to our experiences, it can also alter current neural pathways. We can ‘rewire’ our brain: this incredible organ can reorganise itself, even creating new neurons as well as new connections. It is a constantly changing entity that we can work with to adapt to our circumstances and experiences.

Kerry Lewis Dip.Hyp GQHP GHRreg MFHT