Neuroplasticity & Recreating Self
Neuroplasticity or brain plasticity describes the ability of the brain to accommodate change throughout a person's life. In the latter half of the 20th century new research revealed that many aspects of the brain could be changed (plastic) even as an adult. It was previously suggested that only young children could improve their brain plasticity and that right after birth, neurogenesis, which is the creation of new cells stops. However that has long since been proved false, anyone, at any age has the capability to undergo brain changes as new connections are made between brain cells. The brain regenerates throughout a persons life. It is therefore an excellent idea to learn some new skills, for example, write using your non dominant hand or kick a football with your non dominant foot; learn a new language; learn to sing or identify different noises in nature; learn a new sport or physical skill such as a handstand or improve your arithmetic skills.
If you feel you aren’t getting anywhere in life and you feel powerless then its important to take advantage of your brain’s neuroplasticity and change your brain patterns to the way you really want them. The majority of thoughts, perhaps 99% of them, are the same unresourceful thoughts from the previous day which is a waste of qi/chi energy as the brain is unable to store energy like the second brain can. The process of neuroplasticity can be fully taken advantage of as you learn to look after the physical body in terms of exercise and healthy eating habits, reactive emotional patterns are transmuted via mindfulness and awareness techniques and a willingness to meditate or at the very least the contemplation of life issues in a relaxed and centered manner. Another way of saying this is that it is a requirement to strike a balance between emotional and intellectual intelligence before the maximum benefit of neuroplasticity can be taken advantage of.
During the first few years of a human life the growth of the brain is rapid. In the first three years the number of synapses (the junction between the processes of two neurons or between a neuron and an effector organ, where neural impulses are transmitted by chemical means) will increase six fold, perhaps from an estimated 2,500 to 15,000 synapses. However the average adult has around 7,500 to 8,000 synapses.
Why is this?
A neurologist explains this by describing something called synaptic pruning whereby as we age certain connections are strengthened because of strong beliefs we have about life and other connections weaken and eventually disappear as we no longer entertain a belief about that particular area of life. We are in fact “shutting ourselves down” from possibilities. Science recognises two types of neuroplasticity, one where the brain has the ability to move its functions from damaged areas to areas that are not damaged. The second is called structural plasticity which refers to the capability of the brain to make structural change as a result of experience and learning. The plasticity of the brain is the main basis for brain training techniques and exercises. The best and easiest treatments are non invasive and are based on intensive techniques and activities that “re-wire” the brain. Many of these techniques can be found free on the internet by entering keywords such as "free online brain games." There is another way of course and that is to keep putting yourself in situations that you know will be fearful to yourself and be mindful of your emotional state in every moment. This is not for everyone of course.
This “re-wiring” of the brain is in fact a physical process. The brain can either thicken or shrink its grey matter. Neural pathways can be strengthened or weakened. Instead of the amygdala and hypothalamus in the brain interpreting stimuli as dangerous and shutting a person down by limiting beliefs, the pruning effect mentioned earlier, new neural pathways can be formed which will connect the amygdala and the medial prefrontal cortex. The medial prefrontal cortex is capable of controlling the level of sensitivity of the amygdala so that threat and emotions such as fear can be monitored. This “re-programming” uses mind power to heal all parts of the body in conjunction with NLP, breathing techniques, meditation and visualisation.
Affirmations, Autosuggestion and Brain Plasticity
The Law of Attraction in its simplest form says “you will get what you want if you want it badly enough” however there is a caveat that not many are aware of which means that many give up their dreams prematurely. If your human electromagnetic field is vibrating at a low frequency you will be subject to the mass consciousness and whatever they are focused on. Up to this point that has been whatever lower vibrations were fed to them in the mass conditioning program from birth to death, which interfered with your own ability to materialise what you wanted.
However assuming you vibrate in the realms of positive emotions and preferably in the realms of bliss most of the time your creations will not nearly be effected by mass consciousness and will therefore materialise much faster. If you focus for long enough on something, you will be able to work out ways to develop those intentions and dreams into reality. In the long term constantly thinking about your dreams and aspirations will lead to changes in the structure of the brain as you increasingly have more positive emotions, more beneficial aspirations and dreams and ultimately manifested into reality as a beneficial service/product for humanity. However you must be willing to change old belief systems and be interested in the realms of possibility.
Meditation not only changes the state or brain wave frequencies but long term meditation actually creates physical changes in the brain. With regards to the neuroplasticity of the brain the following changes can take place:
- Cortical thickness is directly proportional to the meditation experience. Meditators have thicker cortex compared to non meditators;
- Grey matter density of the nervous system (the brain stem) is correlated with long term meditation;
- Long term meditators are associated with greater volume of grey matter and bigger hippocampal regions;
- Practising mindfulness can lead to an increase in grey matter density;
- White matter changes can be induced by meditation. White matter has a great involvement in the interconnection of many areas of the brain. Many experts believe it is the relaxation factor provided by meditation that helps in white matter changes therefore stimulation of the vagus nerve is essential.
Techniques to Boost Concentration
- Using non dominant hand and foot. Doing new and unfamiliar tasks creates and or strengthens new neural pathways in the brain. By using the non dominant hand for routine tasks such as combing your hair or brushing your teeth or non dominant foot to kick a football you will increase the communication between left and right hemispheres of the brain;
- Doing mental exercises will keep the brain healthy. You can get free online exercises on the Internet. Please note the difference between doing focused mental exercises and being stuck in repetitive and unresourceful thinking (the monkey mind). The first strengthens and creates new communication links between left and right hemispheres of the brain. The second strengthens existing and usually unresourceful programs learned from childhood. Learn a new language, play chess, do crossword puzzles, memorise objects, names and so on;
- There is now increasing evidence that finger dexterity improves brain function so learn a musical instrument or try some finger “gymnastics” by learning some new craft such as knitting, crocheting and the creation of crafts/artworks. The sensations you feel through your fingers go directly to the brain and helps increase brain activity.
New neural pathways can be formed using the techniques listed above which will lead to the formation of new habits. These habits can be either good or bad. In order for your life to be a success we must align habits with goals. At first there is resistance because the ego (limited programs) creates a form of familiarity and security. Slowly working on these issues by being mindful, meditating and doing yoga transmutes this energy to a higher frequency and expands our consciousness. Sooner or later we realise that our goals have moved into more expanded versions and we are now following our divine goals and taking part in the expansion and remodeling of the systems on this planet. You can only do this by expanding the self and neuroplasticity is very much part of the process.