By the time you finish this article, your brain will be different -- according toFast Company.
The reason for this cerebral shift is neuroplasticity—or the brain’s ability to change and restructure itself. Every time the brain processes new information, neurons fire, new pathways form, and the malleable brain alters its shape and structure.
What is neuroplasticity?
In a nutshell, neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to learn and adapt. Until relatively recently, experts believed that our brains were fixed by the end of adolescence and that, in terms of neurons, it was all downhill from there. But the latest research has proved the opposite: that our brains can actually grow and change throughout adulthood. That is, if we treat our neural pathways right.
9 techniques to “rewire” your cognitive pathways:
1. Feed your brain
Your brain makes up only a tiny proportion of your total body weight, but it uses up a quarter of everything you eat. If you want enhanced neural pathways, you’ll need an enhanced diet. That means grabbing snacks like walnuts, blueberries, and avocado during the day. Vitamin D and magnesium are top priorities if you want to promote neuroplasticity.
2. Take naps
Obviously, a good night’s sleep of between seven and nine hours will always set you up for a better brain day. But a short afternoon nap of around 20 minutes will elevate your neuroplasticity potential even further. A short nap encourages the growth of dendritic spines, which act as crucial connectors between the neurons in your brain.
3. Don’t let the workday linger
Like muscle-building, neuroplasticity needs downtime in order to do its work properly. Managers should embed and enforce a “close the day” ritual that prioritizes reflection and gratitude for small wins. An end-of-day Slack message saying “Thanks for the great ideas in the brainstorming session today, everyone. See you tomorrow,” can help the team feel valued. Putting a hard stop to the stresses of the day in a way that also boosts endorphins creates perfect conditions for neuroplasticity. Bonus: it also sends the signal that it’s OK to “leave” work and unplug for the evening.
4. Expand your vocabulary
Try to learn one new word every day. According to experts, this simple act will spark a multitude of new neural pathways, both visual and auditory. (Give it a few months and it’ll make you unstoppable at Scrabble too).
5. Use the “wrong” hand
Non-dominant hand exercises are excellent for forming new neural pathways, as well as strengthening the connectivity between existing neurons. For instance, if you’re right-handed, try brushing your teeth with your left hand – and then try it while balancing on one leg for a double neuroplasticity bonus.
6. Learn to juggle
Juggling is frequently cited as an excellent means for improving neuroplasticity. Keep a small set of balls in your work drawer for a brain boost whenever you have a few spare seconds between tasks. The better you get, the bigger the benefits.
7. Play chess
Embrace chess – a game that has endless potential for neuroplasticity. Chess players have significantly more grey matter in their anterior cingulate cortex than those unfamiliar with en passant and castling. And you don’t even need another player or a board in order to reap the mental benefits. Simply log onto chess.com for a quick blast whenever you have a few minutes. (You don’t need to finish a game to get the neurological boost.)
8. Do mnemonic drills
Teaching yourself mnemonic devices, like formulas or rhymes, can enhance connectivity in your prefrontal parietal network, paving the way to new, positive pathways in your brain.
9. Be mindful, as a team
One of the best things you can do to promote neuroplasticity in a work force is to incorporate regular group meditation. There are multiple online options available to get you started. Not only does it help with the positive brain rewiring process (while expanding several useful parts of the brain), it also results in team members reacting to problems with an increased sense of calm, passion, and awareness. Neuroplasticity at its finest.