5 Practical Ways to Increase Plasticity & Help your Memory
Can your brain develop as an adult?
I was taught that the brain was static, and not capable of change. Research has proved this wrong.
The brain is able to develop, to change, and to grow. This is called plasticity. Plasticity occurs in the brain at any age. It is not restricted to childhood, but the process is different in adults and children.
How does plasticity work?
The process of plasticity involves:
- The generation of new cells in the brain
- The development of new connections between cells
- Changes in the the structure of the brain
1. The generation of new cells in the brain
In this talk, neuroscientist Sadrine Thuret discusses neurogenesis- the ability of your brain to make new cells.
2. The development of new connections between cells
Tapping into the brain’s potential for plasticity has also led to novel treatments for example, a device that allows people who are blind to see with their tongue. When we learn something new, inactive networks in the brain can become active, and new networks can develop. This process is influenced by inherited genes and environmental factors. There is so much about the beautiful brain, and its amazing potential, that we still have to understand.
3. Changes in brain structure
The plastic nature of the brain has been observed in various professions, including London taxi drivers. Taxi drivers have to learn to navigate in a complex city. They have to understand routes, the best times to take a particular road, or when to avoid a route. This then leads to increased development of the hippocampus, a part of the brain important in memory. (Understand how memory works with: How to Improve Memory Part 1 & Part 2).
How can you increase plasticity and improve memory?
In a study involving 25 people, short-term cognitive training was shown to result in changes in the structure of the hippocampus. This is a small study, but it shows the potential impact that training your brain has on the memory parts of the brain. This is due to the plasticity of the brain. (Antonenko D 2016)
Every man if he so desires becomes the sculptor of his own brain. Santiago Ramon y Cajal
What can you do to increase plasticity?
Here are five practical ways to increase plasticity
1. Celebrate with friends
Make friends. Plan a celebration with people who love and understand you. Reconnect with old friends. (Call the friend you wish you spent more time with now.)
2. Climb Mountains (or hills)
Exercise, exercise, exercise. Dance, run, climb mountains or swim across oceans (& do it all for love,and increase your plasticity even more).
3. Find inspiration
4. Eat better
Avoid eating too much refined sugar or saturated fats.
5. Don’t smoke
There may be an added benefit to employing multiple strategies at once. So, combining exercise, social interaction, and brain stimulation, may be much better than just exercising alone. (Mzarek et al)
What can you do today to change your brain?
How can you practically increase the plasticity of your brain?
What will you do right now? Write this down.
Share your suggestions. Let us inspire each other.
Memorability's Brain Training Program
What can you do to effectively stimulate your brain? How can you help your memory at any age? Do you want to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s dementia?