Still think you can’t teach an old dog new tricks ?
Turns out your brain is much more adaptable than previously thought.
In fact, your brain has the ability to form new neural connections throughout your life. While it may be more active in building these connections when you’re young, the ability still remains in old age (1).
Neuroplasticity allows your body to compensate for injury and disease. It also allows your brain to readjust to new information, situations, and changes.
And while learning new skills is a great way to train your brain, visualization and meditation are also powerful tools.
The Low-Down On Brain Training
Mindfulness refers to the ability to observe your experiences as if it were happening to someone else. It needs to be a non-judgemental awareness of the present moment (2).
Mindfulness can be used to treat chronic pain and heal disease. That’s why it’s now being implemented in hospitals, medical clinics, schools, universities (including medical schools), corporations, and military organizations (3).
It can even be used to train drug addicts to recognize early warning signs for relapse, increase awareness of emotional and situational cues previously associated with substance use, develop effective coping skills, and enhance self-efficacy (4). It can also be used as part of therapy for people suffering from mental illness.
Mindfulness is also used alongside meditation.
Meditation builds up the left prefrontal cortex to increase happiness and well-being.
According to Gaiam: “Mindfulness meditation encourages the practitioner to observe wandering thoughts as they drift through the mind. The intention is not to get involved with the thoughts or to judge them, but simply to be aware of each mental note as it arises.”
“Through mindfulness meditation, you can see how your thoughts and feelings tend to move in particular patterns. Over time, you can become more aware of the human tendency to quickly judge an experience as good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant. With practice, an inner balance develops.” (5).
This type of meditation (6):
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Boosts the immune system
- Decreases emotional reactivity
- Improves concentration
- Strengthens confidence and resilience
- Promotes peace of mind and well-being
- Helps cope with pain and illness
- Lowers blood pressure
- Enhances willpower and decision-making
- Cultivates compassion for self and others
Curious about how it work? Check out the infographic below!