It is a common misconception that the brain can only really grow during childhood. It is definitely true that there is an exponential amount of growth that happens during the early years of our lives, but that doesn’t mean we should discount the fact that even after adolescence, throughout adulthood, our brain is molding and developing, adapting to our circumstances.
Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to change and adapt in both structure and function in response to experience. Studies have found that neural pathways can be developed and trained through constant repetition and stimulation. They have also found that these pathways can fade if not exercised.
In other words, the brain is able to mold and shape itself throughout our life as we grow, learn and create new memories.
In the ’60s, studies were done on adult rats to see whether or not environment and experience can affect brain growth and development. They were divided into two groups, one of which lived in a room full of toys and mazes, while the other was isolated. After a few weeks, they were able to see incredible results: the more stimulated rats had heavier brains and an increase in synapses.
Now that we know just how much our everyday lives can impact our thought processes and mindsets, we can adjust our lifestyles accordingly. The best way to form these new neural pathways is to find interest in every part of life, to try to be as mindful and aware as possible.
Therefore, let’s stay young by challenge our brain and our psyche.
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