Neuroplasticity is easily the buzzword among the neuroscientists communities. It’s an exciting new era for neuroscience because neuroscientist have proven that our brain is never stagnant. It’s constantly changing to adapt to new environment by remoulding and rewiring it’s internal circuit. And people who used to believe that they are stupid can participate in activities that are scientifically proven to cause their brain to rewire and help them think better.
The mechanism behind such amazing feats of our brain is known as synaptic prunning. Synapse are the connections between brain cells. And synapses that are often used will be strengthen while those less frequently used will be pruned away. This explains why practice make perfect. Repetitive practices causes certain circuits of brain connections to strenghten and after a period of time, help you to execute the same action with much ease and accuracy. Or perhaps, students would find their handwriting much messier after a long summer break because the connections are not used and slowly prunned away.
Neuroplasticity is very much like upgrading a small tiny nerve to a mega highway nerve so more electrical impulses can move through at a faster speed. And for mega high way nerves that are not used, they will be eventually demolished and downgraded to a small road.
This constant upgrading and demolishing of neuro connections between brain cells help our brain adapt to its environment and better utilize its resources. But the rate of change varies from person to person. And the faster you change, the faster you can learn new things or memorize things effectively. If you ever want to be smart and learn thing fast, you have to get your brain used to constant rewiring. So when rewiring become necessarily, you would be able to do it fast. And here’s 4 activities that you can do to keep your brain its toe.
1) Learn how to play a musical instrument. And listen to some too.
Neuroscientist have found that music alone triggers many different part of your brain. It’s very unlike other cognitive task like language or drawing as they involves just a few different part of your brain. Music on the other hand, activates many different part of your brain. Music have many aspect to it like the pitch, volume, melodies and lyrics, all of which requires different part of your brain to process. Furthermore, the activated parts of your brain are linked together to help you brain decide if this music is a sad or happy music. And the more you listen to music, the stronger your neuro connections. Strong neuro connections help you process thoughts and data with great ease and speed.
Don’t just stop at listening to music. Do learn how to create music too! Because creating music requires good coordination between your limbs. Learning music is a highly advance cognitive abilities and not everyone know how to play music. Like what we have discussed in the previous paragraph, listening to music alone activates many different parts of your brain. But playing music push to it a higher level. Now the part of your brain that controls pitch, volume and rhythm now have to work with your limbic brain which controls movement. They are no longer separate brain functions but many parts now have to coordinate with one another. This really kicks up a electrical storm in your brain, but it’s good because it strenghten your neuro connections.
Of course, you wouldn’t be able to play musice fluently at first. But give your brain some time to rewire itself and soon things will be easy for you. The main point here is to keep your brain constantly rewiring itself, let it get used to getting mould and remould, keep your brain plastic and the more plastic your brain is, the faster you can pick skills that’s on demand. And learning skills that’s on demand is really critical to your success whether is it entrepreneuring or academics.
2) Throw away that GPS device seriously.
Yes GPS device is indeed a marvalous invention but it have made our brain lazy. Navigation is a highly advance cognitive process, you constantly retrieving past memories and recalling detailed and specific images of your local map. Furthermore, your brain is constantly rotating the images inside your head to help you with your sense of direction and this put tremedous stress on the part of your brain that control visual spatial processes.
Our brain is highly plastic and can constantly remould itself. Using GPS devices too often will cause our brain to rewires itself and over-reliance on GPS devices. At the same time, our abilities to navigate naturally would become less and less robust.
Navigating naturally is one the best way to force your brain to exercise and remain plastic. Especially so when you have to focus on your driving and staying alert for dangers. Furthermore, our roads is very diverse which give your new experience and reasons to form new wirings. Most of the time, driving from our home to several places would be easy but driving between two different places is a different story. We are very used to having our home as a starting point and we relied simply on our memories to navigate. But when it’s navigating between two new places, your brain are forced to rotate the map inside your head, trying to recall detailed information and attempt to link up the different road that you have to taken before. Furthermore, your brain is forced to go perform these advanced cognitive task quickly else you would miss a turn. And not forgetting, your frontal brain have to stay focus while you drive and your inner brain to stay alert for any danger. Navigation without GPS is definitely a good brain exercise and everyone should do it often if they ever want to be good with their thinking and be quick with their thinking.
Lastly, in a new study to illustrate the beneficial effect of navigation on our brains. Dr. Eleanor Maguire found that taxi drivers have an enlarged hippocampus. Hippocampus is small part of your brain that process memories, visualization and navigation. Dr. Eleanor added that ” The hippocampus has changed its structure to accommodate their huge amount of navigating experience.” Navigation put huge amount of stress on your brain and cause it to grow and remould itself to become better at navigation.
3) Learn how to fly an radio controlled plane. Helicopter if possible.
Do you know that manipulating and flying a radio controlled plane fluently cannot be copied by computers? In fact, our big is one mega computer by itself and capable of performing large number of calculation subconsciously and quickly to help you fly an radio-controlled plane. At first, your flying would seem awkward because your brain have not rewire itself and is not able to do all those calculation at such speed. But after some practice, you would always do just fine.
Flying a radio-controlled plane takes practice and it’s one of the few activities that can really force your brain to remould itself to adapt to its new environment. To fly a radi-controlled plane, your brain have to coordinate many different part of your brain. First, you have to be able to see where your plane is, stay alert of where it’s going, and make immediate calculation should any sudden wind hit and destablize your wing and lastly, you have to coordinate your both of you thumb movement to manipulate the plane just right. Wow that’s a huge amount of highly advanced cognitive process and yet professional flyer made it seems so effortlessly.
Flying a radio-controlled plane or helicopter is really good for your brain. Of course it does take practice to become good at it but all the practice and flying would remould your brain and keep it plastic. And keeping your brain plastic is important so when the time comes when you have to learn things fast, your brain would be ever ready to remould itself again to suit its environment. If you ever want to be successful in any environment, learn how to adapt and keep your brain plastic.
Another example of massive brain rewiring is the new technology breakthrough of synthetic limbs.Through hous of practicing, neuroscientist have managed to help disabled patients rewire their brain and control synthetic limbs just by thinking about it. When you are thinking, your brain generate uniques brain waves signature including when you are thinking about moving a specific limb.
Patients were told by neuroscientist to repeatedly thinking about moving their disabled limbs and through tiny metal electrode inserted into their brain, neuroscientist were able to detect and recorded the brain waves signature that is unique to that thinking. They then download the brain waves signature and pegged to a specific movement so that when the same brain wave signature were detected, the synthetic limb would move accordingly. Just like flying a radio-controlled plane, things are often not fluently. But with sufficient practicing and remoulding of their brain, patient were able to develop new skills at manipulating synthetic limbs. This show how our brain is never stagnant and constantly able to form new connection and adapt to its surrounding.
4) Start using your another hand.
Do you know that left hand and right handed people have different brain wirings? This could explain when you tried using your left hand to do some writing and realized that it’s not as nice as your right hand. The idea is simple, you brain is simply not well wired to use your left hand. And when you write with your left hand, your brain have to pay huge amount of attention and fires electrical impulses in the correct sequence and intensity to help you write. Comparing this to your right hand, your brain actually have developed the appopriate wiring and hence making writing with your right hand easy.
But as always with learning new skill, practice make perfect. Your brain is never stagnant and neither does your ability to write well with your left hand. With enough practice, you can definitely mould your brain to help your write better with your left hand. Learning how to use your left hand for daily tasks can help to keep your brain plastic and ever ready for remoulding. This is because learning to your left hand like your right hand can result in high amount of rewiring to occurs in your brain. And constantly rewiring of your brain help you to keep your brain plastic and ever ready to change. As discussed above, plastic brains are smarter brains because plastic brain can quickly remould itself and help you learn skills on demand quickly and help you seize the opportunity to be successful.
In conclusion, constantly participating in activities that demand your brain to rewire will make your a much faster learner.This is because learning is only possible when your brain rewires itself. People who seldom do new things will have lesser opportunity to participate in activites that cause their brain to rewire. After a long period of time, the brain become less plastic and requires more effort to remould itself. Slow and difficult moulding process would meant difficulty in learning new skills as moulding help your to adapt and lock in new skills faster.
So if you ever want to be successful, then you have to start learning things fast. But it will be difficult if you have never been learning new things. And to learn new things fast, always be participating in activities that can remould your brain as these activities would keep your brain plastic. And plastic brains meant easy remoulding process and you will find yourself constantly picking up new skill fast. And these newly accquired skills will definitely goes a long way in helping you succeed in life.