Oakville Zen Meditation

#234 Neuroplasticity: how to improve it

                               NEUROPLASTICITY: how to improve it.

Neuroplasticity or brain plasticity is the ability of the brain to reorganize its wiring and create new ones by increasing its synaptic connections (we have over 100 trillions of them) that is connections between neurons (we have around 100 billions neurons or around 1,000 connections per neuron).

One can enhance neuroplasticity using any kind of learning new experiences either manual, mental and emotional requiring mental adaptation.

Since the brain works like a computer either all or nothing, any kind of new experience will create new connections affecting all brain functions such as physical, sensorial, intellectual, memory and emotional.

How to increase brain’s neuroplasticity?  

Moving away from our daily comfort zones, automatic and conditional physical, mental and emotional behaviors is the most effective way. This is equivalent to brain deconditioning thru reconditioning, sort of wake-up adaptation facing new challenges. You can do it for few hours, days or even a week.

Choose one of your recurrent daily habit – any kind, physical or mental routine, that is cemented

into your daily routine like a robotic behavior. We have many of them as part of our comfort zone.

If you can and without disturbances, stop doing it for few hours or days and allows yourself

to experience initial discomfort, frustration, even anxiety facing this new challenge from moving

away from routine and autopilot behavior.

At this point focus on your breathing and/or other sensations in your body such as heart rate.


2) Notice the times you bump into your mental wall made of recurrent thoughts, self-image, mind-set,

ideas, judgment, desires, aversions, expectations or any conditional reactivity to these emotions.

What is happening when you allow the wall to become permeable creating a bound?

What habitual chattering thoughts and feelings do produce?

3) Mindfulness meditation is also a wonderful and unique booster of neuro rewiring because

we are imposing to the mind to focus intensively on something without any specific goals or

decision, just as it is which is different for our usual decision-based focus.

This type of non-decisional focusing is new to the brain and it has to use remodeling to comply.

Rewiring on the frontal lobes is particularly interesting.

4) Learn and practice a new activity, task or new hobby. There are endless:

Art, music, sport, foreign language, learning to work with our left hand if right handed, etc...

These new activities must be active that is requiring effort, concentration and repetition.

Final words:

The brain, like our heart and other muscles can morphologically change when facing new challenges

that is when where an adaptation either physical, mental or emotional is needed.

Recent neuro imaging has been very useful in this regard.

   Try this:

tart to use your left hand if right handed or vise versa for small stuff such as brushing

your teeth, holding your fork, etc. You will be slow and clumsy at first because your brain as

to figure out the way to do it. It will thru new wiring.

Beside, it is an excellent focusing exercise.

Our brain/mind is not as static as we thought but changing continuously as requested.