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How to rewire your brain? The Science of Neuroplasticity

Earlier, (during the 1800s and early 1900s) many people believed that the human brain was able to develop or grow until a certain age and after that, the growth stopped. 

In the year 2000, neuroscientist Eleanor Maguire conducted her famous study on London taxi drivers to research their memory. While she was running her tests, she noticed something peculiar. She noticed that the area of the brain called the hippocampus, a part of the brain responsible for memory functioning, was larger than average among these taxi drivers.

She found out that since the taxi drivers had to memorize the complicated lanes of London, their hippocampus region had developed to a great extent due to all this practice and memorization.

This is fascinating.

This indicates that you can literally change your brain if you do something repeatedly. How cool is that!

Whenever you do an activity, there are neural pathways formed in the brain. The more you do the same activity, the more neural pathways are strengthened. That is why it is usually difficult to do something for the first time, but not so difficult to do it for the 30th or even 100th time. 

In scientific terms, this is known as neuroplasticity. The term “plasticity” refers to the brain’s ability to change. It is possible to literally rewire the brain to be better at something. There is no age limit to this, it occurs throughout life, however, there are some times when neuroplasticity is more profound at earlier stages in life.

What does it mean to rewire your brain?

Rewiring your brain is training your brain to work efficiently when it comes to certain activities or thought processes. Because of neuroplasticity, you can strengthen your skills, develop your abilities and improve your memory. It also helps you recover from traumatic brain injuries as the brain forms different neural connections.

By making proper use of the brain’s ability of neuroplasticity, you can train your brain to respond more kindly, be more patient, develop skills of problem-solving, reasoning, and many more.

How to rewire your brain?

Researchers recommend various activities that enhance the process of neuroplasticity. A few of these activities are as follows -

  • Regular physical exercise
  • Travelling
  • Learning a new musical instrument or a new language
  • Creating art pieces
  • Practicing Mindfulness
  • Enough sleep and rest
  • Reading
  • Solving puzzles or challenging questions

While you are trying to rewire your brain you need to keep in mind a few things -

  • Make sure the activity is new and challenging for you.
  • Make sure that the activity is meaningful to you. Do you feel a surge of happiness every time you succeed in doing it well? It is easier to form strong neural connections when the activity is enjoyable or gives some sort of reward.
  • Make sure that you are focused while doing that particular activity. Being mindful and focused on your actions helps to form better neural connections.
  • Make sure that you continue to repeat the activity for a certain amount of time so that neural pathways can be formed properly. It needs repetition and practice.