There is no definitive answer to the brain’s capabilities. Indeed, experts are of the view that the true extent of its capabilities cannot be fully comprehended. Neuroplasticity is that characteristic of the brain that allows it to keep changing, make new connections, and stay malleable.
The implications of neuroplasticity are extremely important. Someone who might have been believed to have lost their speaking ability after a car accident may be able to regain it through proper training. The brain can regain it by repairing and reconnecting the old pathways or even make new ones if it has to.
Likewise, neuroplasticity could play a role in treating certain mental health conditions. Depression, for instance, may involve having negative thought patterns, resulting from impaired neuroplasticity. The exercises that encourage positive neuroplasticity can help “rewrite” these patterns to promote general well-being.
When your brain recognizes that it needs to adapt, it can rewire or restructure itself. Consequently, it can continue to evolve and change throughout one’s life.
Psychologists and neuroscientists alike are fascinated by the endless possibilities that neuroplasticity offers for brain development. Researchers claim that rewiring your brain can improve everything from your mental well-being to physical health and even improve your quality of life.
Further, brain rewiring helps with addiction recovery. Addicts act on triggers in their environment that cue certain behaviors. These triggers are the result of neural pathways that have been etched due to repetitive addiction-related behaviors. If you struggle with keeping the triggers under your control, you can find assistance near you. At a proper facility, they’ll not only provide you with the right kind of medications to wean you off addiction but also work on replacing your old patterns with newer habits, taking advantage of the power of neuroplasticity.
Therefore, to help you get started, we will discuss some practical tips for boosting neuroplasticity:
Eat for your brain
Though it takes up a tiny portion of your body, the brain uses up one-quarter of the body’s energy. A better diet will help your brain function better. You should eat snacks during the day, such as walnuts, avocado, and blueberries, to keep your brain well-fed. Similarly, if you want to promote neuroplasticity, you should regularly consume magnesium and vitamin D.
Play video games
Video games improve your brain’s functions. The debate over video games’ potential benefits versus risks is a heated one, but if you enjoy playing games, you’re in luck.
According to research, gaming can have numerous benefits for the brain:
- Synchronization of movements
- Recognition of visual cues and spatial navigation
- The ability to recall and react
- Problem-solving, reasoning, and decision-making skills
- Collaboration and teamwork
As a result of playing video games, your brain learns new skills. In addition to improving your gaming experience, these effects have a wide range of applications.
For instance, when you learn how to bounce back from failure in a game, you’ll become better at dealing with setbacks in general. Similarly, exploring different solutions to a problem during a game can foster creativity.
Thus, adding a few hours of gaming to your free time each week can help you improve your neuroplasticity.
Exercise offers several physical benefits:
- Muscle strength
- Health and fitness improvements
- Improved sleep
But did you know that you can also strengthen your brain through physical activity? Learning and memory can be improved by physical exercise, specifically by aerobic exercise.
Studies from 2018 suggest that exercise can also improve brain connectivity and fine motor coordination and can even prevent cognitive decline.
So, can physical activities also help with neuroplasticity in those with mental health issues? As per research, the increased blood flow and cell growth in the brain may reduce depression symptoms.
If you exercise alongside a larger group of people, you may also benefit from exercise’s social aspects.
In addition to improving brain health, engaging with others more regularly can also relieve depression and anxiety symptoms.
Take up another language
Have you ever considered learning another language? You may have thought that learning a second (or third) language would enhance your career prospects, or you might have wanted to learn it just for fun.
Your brain stands to benefit if you decide to become a polyglot. Several studies have shown that learning a new language enhances the cognitive functions.
Try learning a new word each day. It has been reported that this act will stimulate a multitude of new neural pathways, both auditory and visual.
In fact, experts suggest that learning new things significantly boosts your brain’s ability to make new neural connection and may result in the production of more gray matter. If you give it a few months, you will also be unbeatable at playing Scrabble.
The best way to improve your brainpower is by getting an adequate amount of sleep. In addition, a short afternoon siesta of around 20 minutes will further enhance your neuroplasticity.
A short nap promotes the growth of dendritic spines, which connect neurons to one another in your brain.
Playing chess has always been a great mental booster. Take advantage of the endless neuroplasticity development that can be gained by learning chess—and besides it is fun to play.
The anterior cingulate cortex of chess players contains significantly more gray matter than other people.
There’s no need for a board or another player in order to benefit from the game’s mental benefits. Whenever you have a few minutes to spare, you can play a quick game of chess online.
Besides getting you out of your comfort zone, travel may also inspire you and boost your creativity. Additionally, seeing new sights and surroundings can help you learn about different cultures and improve your communication skills, which can have additional cognitive benefits.
In addition to broadening your general worldview, visiting new places can help you gain a new perspective on things closer to home, such as your friendships, career goals, and personal values.
No worries if travel restrictions are limiting you in your world adventures. There are still trips you can take closer to home.
For instance, you can try:
- Wandering around a new neighborhood on a long walk
- Going to the grocery store in a different part of town
- Taking a hike
- Travel virtually (start with National Geographic’s virtual travel channel on YouTube)
You can gain a unique perspective on the world by creating art. Art can be used as a way to share experiences, express emotions, or gain deeper insight into personal struggles.
According to research, drawing and visual arts improve your cognitive ability and enhance creativity.
You can also strengthen your brain’s connections by engaging in creative pursuits, resulting in better overall cognitive function.
In all, the science on neuroplasticity is only starting to come to light. It is the characteristic of the brain that is proving to be quite useful in treating mental ailments. We hope that the everyday activities mentioned above will help you make your brain more plastic. Therefore, if you’re looking for ways to enhance your brain’s cognitive activities, rewiring it might do the trick.