Please click here to view our entire online March e-newsletter, Brain Health.
Carol Belanger, BA, RM, BHS
Given the amount of information available to us these days, the plasticity of the brain is more interesting and useful than ever.
Plasticity refers to the how much we can change and influence our brain. It turns out we can change and influence our brain quite a bit potentially. It seems we can ‘teach an old dog a new trick!’ In his books on brain training, neuropsychologist Dr. Rick Hansen talks about how we can help sustain positive mental outlooks, heal negative emotions and memories, build resiliency and more. I like the simplicity of the concepts of his work and use them in my work.
For example, information is stored in our memory banks in several areas of the brain. New information enters the front part of the brain in the prefrontal cortex. When stored information comes up, bring to mind something positive to help that memory go back into storage with the positive. Gradually, you can help shift your interior landscape. There are some brain training techniques that involve tapping – EFT for example – on the front of the forehead while saying certain positive words to positively influence how we are thinking and influence our memories.
Energy follows thought is another important concept. If our minds and thoughts are traveling all over the place, our energy is scattered making us tired and likely more stressed.Take some time to observe what kinds of thoughts fill your mind. Watch your thoughts to see what kind of patterns they fall into. Even habitual patterns can be helped to change with awareness.
When I used to take my dogs for a walk, awareness enabled me to realize that I was spending quite a bit of the walk going over past events. No sooner was one memory done than another would pop up. I could spend much of the walk not even noticing it. I later learned the tremendous value of living life in the present moment and using awareness, and this in turn helped me to ‘stop and smell the roses’ – something friends were trying to tell me.
There is terrific potential in these and other techniques such as neurofeedback, NLP – neurolinguistic programming, and my work using the Acupressure calming and reviving points on the head, to help the ‘ways’ we think and remember, and deal with stress and fatigue. Holding these points energetically or with pressure stimulates the electro-conductivity of these points, according to Michael Reed Gach, author and pioneer in the field of Acupressure.
Words of wisdom about our thinking are ancient and have been paraphrased often since then such as, “The mind is everything, what you think you become. ” – spoken by Buddha. In other words, “You are what you think.” What are you thinking? Which of course requires awareness to answer. Awareness is finally becoming adopted in our North American ways for the enlightening and adaptive mode that it is.
So between modern concepts like plasticity’s evolution, and ancient comments on our cogitations, there is plenty of room to grow, uniquely and with support that is available more than ever to you.