“Any man could, if he were so inclined, be the sculptor of his own brain.” ― Santiago Ramón Cajal
It was once thought that, after childhood, the human brain was formed and mental capacities were fixed. It was also thought that a decline in brain function was irreversible.
Today, neuroscience research indicates that the human brain is “plastic”, meaning that at various levels, the brain can change and grow – from structure to chemistry to physiology – it can literally re-wire itself in response to interactions with the environment.
Research into brain plasticity, also known as neuroplasticity, shows that our brains can undergo daily renovation when we engage in appropriate, stimulating and meaningful tasks. This is encouraging news. At any age, we can rejuvenate our brains.
Dr. Adam Gazzaley, M.D., Ph.D., has proven just that. In his cognitive neuroscience laboratory, known as the Gazzaley Lab at UC San Francisco, he intervenes with cognitive-focused video games to reverse cognitive decline due to age and improve quality of life. Gazzaley explains the link between brain and behaviour and how positive neurological changes can be preserved.
I recommend the following 10 tips for a healthy brain:
2. Exercise regularly. Alternate cardiovascular exercises with muscle training.
3. Stay curious. Read, listen to podcasts or music and watch interesting documentaries.
4. Go to new places, visit new sites and meet new people – near or far from home.
5. Try new things. Learn to play a musical instrument, try a different sport or dance, a new board game, brain training games (e.g. Einstein or Luminosity brain games) or a new way to cook.
7. Keep-up with creative hobbies, for example, writing, painting, drawing, fashion, gardening, crafts, decorating or woodwork.
8. Avoid loneliness. Spend time with friends, family, community. Get a house pet. Join an interest group.