Some people believe that once we reach a particular point in development, you kind of got what you’ve got. When new neuroscience research reveals that every part of the brain can rewire and everyone has the capacity to change. Author Dr. Norman Doyage reveals in his book, “The Brain That Changes Itself,” the often we think or do something, the more dominant and stronger the connection becomes — it’s call neuroplasticity. And, even way back in 335 BC, the father of anatomy, Herophilus, understood the wisdom and learning. He stated, that “when health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied.” The focus of all the research on ways to remain healthy later on in life reveal five keys to neuroplasticity:
- Aerobic Exercise: We are designed to be moving constantly. Standing, walking, moving around a little every hour is better than sitting all day, then a burst of exercise.
- Nutrition: Lower calorie, higher quality food such as fruits, vegetables, high quality fat and antioxidants – what’s good for the brain is good for the heart.
- Sleep: Research shows that most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep (teens need 8-10); not getting enough sleep can be devastating to the brain.
- Novelty: When life is going on auto pilot, we are not getting any new neural connections. Get uncomfortable and try something new; new thoughts and actions build new neural pathways; increase the level of challenge; stimulation increases brain activity.
- Pay Close Attention: Focus on one thing at a time; consider mediation.
Apart from these five keys, there are four enhancers of neuroplasticity: (1) relationships (2) make mistakes (3) humor and play (4) activate all your senses.
Rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 and notice where you can do a better job: Sleep, Exercise, Nutrition, Novelty, Focus – then create a plan to make lasting change, regardless of your age.