You Can Change Your Brain

This is interesting …

The brain you had, and have, does not necessarily have to be the brain you have going forward.
The thoughts and beliefs and behaviors you had, and have, do not necessarily have to be the thoughts and beliefs and behaviors you have going forward.

How You Can Re-Programme Your Brain, BBC Radio 4.

For years, neuroscientists presumed that the structure of the adult brain was fixed. We were stuck with what we’d got.

But by the 1960s experimental evidence started to emerge suggesting the contrary: that in fact parts of the brain might be plastic, meaning they are able to adapt, grow and even regenerate.

What London cab drivers revealed about our brains:

Hop in the back of a London black cab, offer up your destination, and the driver is duty-bound to take you there by the fastest possible route. In order to do this, the cab driver has to memorise all the roads in London. No mean feat. Mastering “The Knowledge” normally takes two to four years.

Neuroscientists studying cabbies discovered that while this giant act of memorisation was undertaken, significant changes occurred in a region of the driver’s brain called the hippocampus. They found, using new neuroimaging technology, that it actually got bigger.

This had huge implications. It suggested that the brain we have is not the brain we are fated to have forever, and that we have the ability to make changes.

How do you change your brain? By changing your thoughts:

Experiments have proven that the brain retains the capacity for large-scale change – in structure and function – well into our 60s, 70s, and 80s. One of the most important of these changes is the growth of new neurons, known as neurogenesis.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or CBT, is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave. When we are taught to think about our life experiences differently, during this kind of psychological intervention, it can actually act back on the structure and function of the brain.

What gets me about this is that you can actually change the structure of your brain. And it’s not hard to do.

Every time you learn something new or have a new thought, new connections in the mind and new physical structures in the brain are formed and consolidated.

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