#0015 — Neuroplasticity

How does your brain change over time?

  
  

I usually write about a different mental health exercise each week. This week I want to write about the science behind the exercises.

  

🧐 What is Neuroplasticity?

Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to physically change and grow over time.

  

🔎 Why it matters

It means that we can change. It means that our habits and personalities are not set in stone at birth.

Neuroplasticity allows the neural networks in our brains to change over time. And we can do mental health exercises to re-wire these networks to improve our health.

For example, researchers at Harvard found evidence that meditation can alter the physical structure of our brains. “Our data suggest that meditation practice can promote neuroplasticity in adults in areas important for cognitive and emotional processing and well-being,” says Sara Lazar, psychologist at Harvard Medical School. 

  

🔬More research

How mental health exercises change the brain:

  • Cognitive training over 6 weeks has the potential to reverse declines in cognitive function in older adults. (Ball, et al., 2002)

  • Practicing gratitude activates the hypothalamus region of the brain more often, which then helps us sleep more deeply. (Zahn, et al., 2008)

  • Meditation reduces activity in the brain’s “Me center". (Brewer, et al., 2011)

  

✍️ Try now

You can re-wire the neural networks in your brain with consistent practice.

The easiest habit you can start right now is to practice gratitude once per day. Gratitude has been proven to make physical changes to your brain in a way that improves mental health in the longterm.

  

🌆 Conclusion

We should be grateful that our brains can change over time. Let’s use it to our advantage.

Learn about how neuroplasticity can enable a growth mindset.

 

📖 Read more

  

📱 Practice more

Download Bold CBT. It’s an iOS app that I made with dozens of mental health exercises.

  

🙏 Thank you

I’m grateful that you read this far! Please send me an email to tell me what you think. Your feedback makes the newsletter better for everyone.

  • john@boldCBT.com

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