Learn How to Shape Your Brain and Live a Rich Life

By Alexandra Starr | Yoga International

Brain Life Live

For years, there was a fundamental disconnect between the way we perceived the brain and our physical body. While we knew there would be inevitable deterioration in our physical prowess as we aged, there was also an understanding we could mitigate the worst effects by exercising and paying attention to our diet. Our brain, however, was placed in a different category. After 40, we were told, it embarked on a slow and steady decline, and there was little we could do to stave off the decay. Luckily, we now know that particular theory of our mental life span is fundamentally flawed: The brain can grow and renew itself throughout our lives.

To be sure, as we age, there are some changes in our mental capacities, particularly in our short-term memories. And a portion of our mental trajectory is determined by genetics. But scientists have documented that our most important organ is fundamentally “plastic.” That is, it reconfigures itself in response to our behavior. And if we make a point of nourishing our mental, physical, and spiritual selves, we can make real strides in protecting our mind as we grow older.

Part of the reason there was so much skepticism for so long about our ability to mold the architecture of our brain was that we couldn’t witness the process, the way, say, we can see a muscle respond to weight lifting. But the introduction of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has opened the secrets of the mind, allowing us literally to peer into our head. And the verdict is that the brain reacts in very specific ways to the activities we undertake, much the way the body is honed by physical exercise.

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  1. admin@consciouslifenews.com' clnews says:

    Terrific article Michele. Thanks for posting this. My biggest take-away was “that exercising different mental muscles would boost their overall capabilities.” I tend to get in a rut. This article is a good reminder to try different things – both mental and physical (like dancing). Thanks again!!! -Ross

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