For years, we’ve heard advertisements for apps like Lumosity that work to improve your neuroplasticity. But what exactly is neuroplasticity, and how can you use neuroplastic healing to achieve optimal health and well-being?
According the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a branch of the National Institutes of Health, Neural plasticity (also called neuroplasticity or neuronal plasticity)…
“can be defined as the ability of the central nervous system (CNS) to adapt in response to changes in the environment or lesions. This property of the CNS may involve modifications in overall cognitive strategies to successfully cope with new challenges (i.e., attention, behavioral compensation), recruitment of new/different neural networks, or changes in strength of such connections or specific brain areas in charge of carrying out a particular task (i.e., movement, language, vision, hearing).”
Did you notice the words I highlighted in bold type? They show that just as plastic is flexible, your brain and nervous system is flexible too. If it wasn’t, you couldn’t learn a new skill. In a nutshell – when you mindfully make healthy, new connections between the neurons in your brain, which result in greater well-being, you’re taking advantage of neuroplastic healing. If one brain circuitry isn’t working properly, you can often consciously train a different brain circuit to work around the broken one.
Another way of explaining neuroplasticity is to think of it as rewiring your brain. Take for example deeply ingrained habits. They literally form pathways in your brain, however you can mindfully disrupt these and reroute to create a new pathway towards a better habit. It takes time to form these new paths; that’s why using microhabits can be so useful.
Problems may arise because of inflammation, toxicity or genetic abnormalities at a cellular level. Brain circuits may die, become dormant or fire at irregular rates. Other circuits may become overactive. If your system has gone haywire because of illness, stress, trauma or unhealthy choices, your whole body-mind-spirit wellness will suffer.
Since your nervous system physiology is directed connected to your neuroplasticity, it’s important to keep your nervous system healthy. Read through the following list of how a person benefits from a healthy system. Then use this information to determine where neuroplastic healing may help you obtain your optimal state of well-being.
- You’re able to recover from stress naturally.
- You sleep like a baby and wake up refreshed.
- Your appetite is healthy, with good digestion and can eliminate waste easily.
- You heal well from cuts and bruises.
- You’ve supercharged your power to focus and can think clearly.
- You’re energetic and productive every day.
- You have a defined set of values, and goals that support a meaningful life.
- You make proactive choices that align with the life you want to live.
- You communicate your viewpoint and feelings without fear or timidity.
- You protect yourself from toxic relationships and situations.
- You love other people, as well as, loving yourself.
- You engage with friends intimately.
- You’ve built a wonderful support system among family, friends and colleagues.
- You suspend judgment and know how to mindfully identify your emotional responses on a body sensation level.
- You attract positive energy by acting and speaking positively.
People who are out of balance and need neuroplastic healing often react to life’s challenges in one of two ways:
- They either live in the survival mode of fight/ flight response that pumps adrenaline and cortisol throughout their system all day long.
- They freeze up, shut down, tune out or numb themselves so they feel nothing.
When you work at restoring total body-mind-spirit wellness via somatic coaching, you create a foundation for neuroplastic healing. Then the above-mentioned benefits will become part of your life naturally. If you’d like to learn more, please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype).