If you thought that neuroscience was boring and complicated, you were right! That is until the opening of a whole new field of exploration called behavioural Neuroscience.
As technology rapidly advanced over the last 20 years, scientists have been able to not only look at, but understand more and more of what makes us tick as Human beings rather than as biological specimens; how we behave, think, fell and make our way in the world.
What’s not to love about that? The more realistic and workable the tools and information we have, the easier it is to navigate our way forward, right?
With these we can become more selective and effective about what is possible and how to get it. We can understand and work with what is inherently us as a human animal and what is changeable, (nature v/s nurture). This opens a whole new way in which we can accept and work with who we are and what we want from our lives. It is also very useful in not punishing ourselves with judgments about what is beyond our control, but rather inherent in our human nature, so that we can make choices about how we use and live those traits, rather than become victims of them. E.g. the trait of dominating behaviour; we can either be a bully and harm others with our views, behaviours and actions or we can become a well spring of inspiration and leadership to ourselves and others! The trait is just a trait, the choice and journey of how we choose to enact it is yours to decide and work with.
Rather than blame and chastise ourselves and others, losing confidence and making life harder, we can work with our 'Defence' and 'Thriving' states and strengthen our neural pathways to behave in a more balanced and outcome focused way. This is at the heart of much of the work I do.
The secret is, ‘Nerve pathways we can get to fire together, will wire together’. This is called
NEUROPLASTICITY. From the beginning of the study of the human brain it was believed that the adult human brain was set and unchangeable, can you imagine that? Now, like so many aspects of our health and wellbeing, we now know that the brain is more fluid, more plastic, changeable and dynamic.
Did you know that we can rewire until the day we die? Yes, that’s right, we can teach an old dog new tricks!
Even though our brain’s development is largely shaped by childhood and adolescent experience, environments and personality, the neuroscientist Paul Bach-y-Rita illustrated the process with a metaphor about getting from one place to another. My metaphor for rewiring would be, ‘You need to get from your office for your weekly Friday evening meetup with a friend, after work ,at the local wine bar. But you’ve got a problem. Your usual route is blocked by a new building site. So how are you going to get there?
Answer: you begin trying different routes, until you find the most efficient way through. The neurons affected by the change will rewire themselves. Some paths work better than others, and you gradually learn which route is the fastest. Once you do, this new route becomes your routine, in a similar way, the brain’s neurons form new routes too. This ability of the brain to find new efficient ways is called Neuroplasticity.
The same process happens when we learn a new activity like learning to juggle. Learning changes a person’s brain. Researchers in Germany taught adult subjects how to juggle and captured images of their brains in an MRI scanner as they became more proficient. Even after just seven days, the researchers found a measurable increase in gray matter in a brain region critical for visual motion recognition.
A brain changing event doesn’t have to be a life changing event! Experiences within a person’s
culture, learning a new language, routine or communication style, can all shape the brain well into adulthood. This means our brains are more dynamic than we ever imagined, even just a few decades ago. They have the potential for incredible recovery after injury and they can be shaped by our experiences even in adulthood. All as the result of an amazing process called neuroplasticity.
Better still, you can use this neuroplasticity to shape your future, resolve your past and overcome obstacles currently standing in your way. Now that IS interesting!
Having established that the brain is a dynamic organ, in a constant state of influence and potential change, it becomes rapidly clear that it is not a simple one dimensional structure. Our brains and complex, wonderful and multi functional organs all aspects of which go to producing the 'human experience'.
The articles I will write and publish from others, will I hope, add some insight into what it is to be a Human being, being Human. As the brain cannot be viewed as an isolated entity, the articles will cover everything that influences and enhances brain well being. Articles from how our brains work, occasionally about where things are, what are the brains functions and how do these produce various emotions and attitudes. I will right about mental health and hygiene, the basics of physical brain care, nutrition and its influence on your getting where you want to go in life.
I will also write about brain and mind. One thing that all of the articles will have in common is that they will have a view to making, what can be a very complex topic, into simple, workable, practical and user friendly concepts and processes to support you in better understanding yourself and those around you.
I hope that you enjoy your journey in understanding and using Neuroscience and that it enhances your becoming the happiest person you know; whether by reading, coming to talks and classes or having one to one coaching to become the most emotionally Intelligent, mature and resilient person you can possibly be.
Enjoy! and feel free to communicate with me by email or on our Face book page.