Thanks for stopping by! In today’s blog, I want to tell you about some principles I learned during my Wellness Coaching training at Mayo Clinic and continue reviewing the New York Times Bestseller, Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School by John Medina. You can rewire your brain! LIVE YOUNGER by learning new skills and acquiring useful information. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how old you think you are!
The brain is like a muscle. The nerve cells in your brain, called neurons, sort of look like uprooted trees, with the tips of the roots transmitting the nerve impulses. As these neurons learn, they sway, swell, and split. They may break connections, form new connections, or reinforce existing connections. These connections are really electrical impulses with each other; the stronger the connection, the more efficient the information transfer. Like a muscle, the more you work it, the stronger it gets. One of my instructors at Mayo Clinic, Dr. Michael Burke, used the term “What fires together wires together.” The more you practice a skill, the more automatic it gets. Our brain cells are constantly communicating with each other. Even thoughts that you tell yourself like “I can do this” can become more automatic the more you practice them. Have you ever arrived home and then wondered how you actually got there? Traveling to a destination might be difficult at first but then it becomes automatic — your brain has “wired together the route” so you don’t consciously have to think about it.
In the 1700’s, Italian surgeon, Vincenzo Malacarne, did an interesting series of experiments on the brains of birds. He trained one group to do complex tricks and then killed them to examine their brains. He compared the brains of the trained birds to dissected brains of untrained birds. He found more intricate connections in the brains of the trained birds. Not that we are birdbrains, but there may be some correlation!
How do you START SOMEWHERE with this knowledge to build stronger brain connections? Here are a few ideas:
- Think good thoughts. Practice seeing your glass “half full” rather than “half empty.” The more you intentionally choose that thought pattern, the more automatic it gets. Negative thought processes can follow the same format – so beware.
- Decide to always be learning something new. It doesn’t have to be anything super complicated. Your brain likes to be challenged.
- Memorize scripture, quotes, and poetry. The more you do it, the easier it will be. Join me at Friday Food For Thought where I am memorizing something each week.
Remember, what you do or don’t do physically in life can change your brain. START SOMEWHERE to rewire it to be stronger with simple lifestyle choices. You can do it. I will help you.