Have you thought about what you think about your brain? Are you following the myths of the past? Or have you incorporated recent research about the brain into your daily life? “For years it was thought that the brain, once fully formed, was fixed until it deteriorated with age,” according to Norman Doidge, Psychiatrist and Best selling author of The Brain That Changes Itself.
Dr. Doidge reminds us that the brain changes daily, can heal itself, can learn from experience, and can change and re-organize itself. How does the brain change? It changes through activity. Researchers realized this through an experiment with rats. Rats in a stimulating environment had a higher amount of neurotransmitters, had a more robust blood supply, and weighed more than the rats placed in duller environments. What does this mean? The building blocks of our brain, the cells, are called neurons. Neurons are in our brain and our nervous system. The cells/neurons communicate to all the systems of our body through chemical signals called neurotransmitters. In essence, neurotransmitters are messages or commands that the systems in our body need to know what to do. The more messengers, the better the actions, and the more actions, the more waste the cells/neurons create. Think of the side of the highway after a holiday weekend. We see all sorts of garbage. We live off of the main road leading into a popular rafting area. After a weekend, we’re bound to see remnants of pool floats and inner tubes, lost flip flops, and pieces of a cooler that broke under the weight of all the picnic goods (beer). The blood supply removes the waste. A robust blood supply means, it’s working to rid the body of all the waste from the all the messages. In contrast, rats in a dull environment did not send a lot of messages and there was not much waste created. These rats may have decreased in blood supply because of inactivity. The body would have risen to the occasion and also deteriorates with lack of use. Nerves atrophy and blood vessels shrink when not in use.
Deepak Chopra wrote, “Everything hinges on how you relate to your brain. By setting higher expectations, you enter a phase of higher functioning.” Here are some ideas on how to exercise your brain taken from the book, Super Brain, by Deepak Chopra and Rudoph E. Tanzi:
toni b yoga’s mission is to explore and discover. When you’re ready; to explore yoga, your own heart when creating a vision for your life, your own peace through fragrance of essential oils, or rest/sleep through yoga nidra, then call. Until then, challenge your brain daily and know that Benjamin Franklin was 78 years old when he invented the light bulb.