What Is Neuroplasticity?
Have you heard the saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks?” Well, we can’t speak for dogs, but research has proven that this saying is not accurate when it comes to us humans. And that’s great news!
For decades, it was believed that our brains were fixed, rigid, and un-malleable, meaning they couldn’t change. Essentially, scientists thought that once your brain was wired a certain way, it would be that way forever. But neuroscience has explored the possibility of our brains being “plastic,” or changeable, and they have found that our brains are extremely capable of changing and rewiring over time. This means that old habits and hang-ups that you’ve been stuck with for years can be overcome! It means that negative thought processes that have kept you stuck can actually be changed, and it means you can train your brain to be healthier and stronger.
What Does Neuroplasticity Mean for Us?
With ever-increasing numbers of people struggling with mental health, the fact that our brains can change and adapt is hugely significant. When you experience something externally, you often have an internal response based on your brain’s wiring. Think of it this way: You hear a song while you’re in a store. The song reminds you of an old relationship that wasn’t healthy and positive in any way. The song takes you back to that relationship and all the feelings it gave you, such as inadequacy, being unwanted, and being treated poorly. Suddenly, you feel worthless and awful—all because of a song. You didn’t go to that place on purpose, but an external stimulus (in this case, the song) took you there because of your brain’s wiring.
With neuroplasticity, we’ve learned that you can rewire those thought patterns. It takes work, but you could work through some exercises and mindfulness to reassociate that song with feelings of freedom, confidence in who you are, and being loved in your current relationships. When you work toward rewiring your thought patterns, your brain physically changes, and in the future when those external stimuli present themselves, your brain will take you straight to the new thoughts of positivity.
This means that we can take any negative thought or experience and train our brain to approach it and respond to it differently. There are countless books, podcasts, websites, and apps all designed to help you do this. Additionally, things like playing challenging video games, learning a new language, playing an instrument, traveling, and exercising can all help strengthen your brain to improve its ability to adapt and develop.
In addition to embracing neuroplasticity to improve your life, chiropractic care can help your brain thrive and make all your health-related efforts go further. Dr. Brendan Shanahan and Dr. Thomas Madigan are Rochester Hills chiropractors who are committed to improving your overall health and wellness. Contact them at Vitality Precision Chiropractic and schedule your appointment today.