How much of your week is spent in autopilot? Think about it. Your route to work, your work itself, your shopping, your exercise? How much of it is the same? Where is the variety?
We know that exercise helps with the brain’s neuroplasticity,1 as does language acquisition2 and learning to play a musical instrument.3
But, other than physical exercise, what can you do to strengthen the most powerful tool you have—your brain?
I wanted to challenge myself: to do things I had never done. The intention was to create new synaptic charges. There was no medical supervision, no expensive equipment—just a real curiosity to see if I could further broaden my experiences, thinking and perception. So I started with meditation.
My initial attempts were very much copying what I had seen or heard. I tried ‘Ohmmming,’ which lasted about a minute…. Definitely not the route for me. I tried clearing my mind, but it just kept filling up with stuff.
Then I adopted a mindset of gratitude and Kerching. It worked! I felt very relaxed, and my focus shot up. I physically perceived an internal shift on the first successful occasion, and I sensed that something was changing.
I was looking for a second challenge when my friend invited me to a conference. As part of the conference on mindset, they encouraged us to write with our nondominant hand. My handwriting looked like the outpourings of a deranged squirrel. I worked on it. Every day since the conference I write at least one sentence with my non-dominant hand, and it really feels like I’ve awoken the other side of my brain.
I have no statistical data to reinforce this, but I have perceived a shift in mindset and the ability to get things done and follow through till completion.
There are many ways to boost our superpower.
- Cotman, C.W. & Berchtold, N.C. Exercise: a behavioral intervention to enhance brain health and plasticity; Volume 25, Issue 6, 1 June 2002, Pages 295-301.
- Genesee, F. (2000) Brain Research: Implications for Second Language Learning. Permalink; https://escholarship.org/uc/item/58n560k4
- Schlaug, Norton, Overy & Winner. Effects of Music Training on the Child’s Brain and Cognitive Development Department of Neurology, Music and Neuroimaging Laboratory, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02215; USA Department of Psychology, Boston College, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.
#brain #rest #personaldevelopment #conceptualthinking