Building a Better Brain With Neuroplasticity

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Building a Better Brain With Neuroplasticity

Neurons, or brain cells, communicate with one another by neural pathways. This system is how you make, and retrieve memories. Neuroplasticity is the name for the brain’s amazing ability to re-wire itself — to change existing pathways and create new ones.

Your brain does this naturally, on its own, without any special effort on your part. But there are also ways you can encourage even more neuroplasticity in your brain. So it turns out you can actually build a better brain. And best of all, it’s fairly easy to do. Building a better brain with neuroplasticity.

What Is Neuroplasticity?

Your brain isn’t a static, unchanging organ. Instead, it is continually busy changing and adapting to better itself. If the brain didn’t have this ability, it wouldn’t develop from birth to adulthood. It also wouldn’t have the ability to recover to at least some extent after a brain injury.

The brain operates by using billions of neural networks — huge groups of neurons (brain cells) that pass neurotransmitters from one neuron to another. Neurotransmitters are molecules that are chemical messengers with the power to influence a neuron to perform some activity.

Neuroplasticity (also known as neural plasticity, or brain plasticity) is the process of the brain modifying and improving various neural networks to improve the brain’s function. One example would be when you repeatedly engage in the same activity. In doing so, neural network pathways are reshaped to make this activity a memory, and easier and easier to carry out each time you perform the same activity.

The Benefits of Improving Your Neuroplasticity

When you learn something — anything at all — neuroplasticity takes place to form new, more efficient pathways between neurons so whatever it is you’re learning becomes memories. Memories that can be recalled (through neural network pathways) at any time so that you don’t have to relearn the same activity, or fact, or face, or math equation. The act of learning something new improves your brain and helps to make learning something else even easier.

Neuroplasticity can improve the visual processing centre of your brain, bringing about better processing of visual information. This leads to better abstract thinking, creativity and imagination.

The parietal lobe is the area of the brain that processes information about movement, touch, taste, and temperature. It also uses a sort of coordinate system to determine how things are positioned and related to one another — something necessary for converting letters into words and words into ideas. Neuroplasticity is known to strengthen the parietal lobe.

Studies show that neuroplasticity improves your working memory — your ability to keep track of unrelated bits of information at any given time. When you’re walking through the grocery store and talking on your cell phone, you can still at the same time remember and pick out the grocery items you came to the store for. If you’re good at that kind of activity, your working memory is in tune.

Want to improve your communication skills? Improve your neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity enables your brain to process visual and verbal information more efficiently, which results in an improvement in all areas of communication.

How to Increase Your Neuroplasticity

There are several easy, straightforward, and free or inexpensive things you can do to promote neuroplasticity in your brain.

Read a Fiction Book

Reading a book stimulates the brain. Any type of book helps neuroplasticity, but fiction works best. Why fiction? A novel has a way of transporting you into the body and mind of the story’s main character. Doing that shifts your mind into a different mental state, which increases brain connectivity.

Get Adequate Sleep

Your brain needs sleep to reset the connections that are crucial to memory and learning. When you’re sleep deprived your neural connections get muddled and disorganized.

Fast Occasionally

No, don’t starve yourself. Just fast intermittently. Restricting your calorie intake for short periods of time improves neuroplasticity and encourages neuron growth.

Reduce Stress

Stress is bad for a person for a whole host of reasons, including actually decreasing neuroplasticity. Whether it’s a walk-in nature, meditating, or self-hypnosis, de-stressing works to improve your brain’s neural connections.

Take Nootropic Supplements

Nootropics are natural or synthetic substances that are known for their cognitive-enhancing effects. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of different nootropics — but when it comes to upping your neuroplasticity a few of them are best.

  • Caffeine: When people consider nootropic supplements they usually think about capsules containing amino acids or powdered herbs. But it turns out that the caffeine you get from coffee, tea, or cocoa is an excellent nootropic. It stimulates neuroplasticity by exciting the hippocampus — the brain structure that plays a major role in memory and learning.
  • Creatine: This amino acid combines with phosphate in the brain where the resulting molecules fuel brain cells to improve memory and reasoning skills.
  • Ginkgo Biloba: Extracts of the leaves of the Ginko Biloba tree increase blood flow in the brain, improving memory.
  • Choline: This nutrient helps the body produce more acetylcholine — a neurotransmitter that is required for neuroplasticity to take place.

Jason enjoys writing about all health and wellness related topics.

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