Our brain is a fascinating viscera. While definitely, it controls almost all of our activities, from sensory-motor control to language and emotions, it is also capable of reorganizing itself in response to new situations which is called neuroplasticity.
What does neuroplasticity mean?
Neuroplasticity or brain plasticity is the ability of the brain to change throughout a person’s life by forming new neural connections so as to counterbalance changes in the environment.
According to MedicineNet, “Neuroplasticity allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to changes in their environment.”
So that means that the brain develops even after childhood?
Before the 20th century, it was thought that only developing brain of a child has the capacity to change but the studies of the 20th century proved that many aspects of the brain can be changed even through adulthood. However, it is true that a developing brain shows a higher degree of plasticity than the adult brain.
Dr. Campbell says, “From the time the brain begins to develop in utero until the day we die, the connections among the cells in our brains reorganize in response to our changing needs. Neuroplasticity allows us to learn from and adapt to different experiences.”
How is this helpful for us?
This dynamic process helps us to cope up with a lot of problems. Neuroplasticity helps in recovering from serious trauma and it is also helpful in stroke recovery. Researches have shown that patients with severe brain damage were able to recover to an incredible degree and for stroke patients, neuroplasticity rehabilitation is a great way to recover.
What is the connection between neuroplasticity and mental health?
On mental health, neuroplasticity can have both positive and negative impact. Depression, Anxiety and other mental health disorders can lead to negative neuroplasticity and can cause damage to the brain. But by inculcating positive thoughts and actions, a mental health disorder can be cured just with the help of neuroplasticity.
Therefore, our efforts are required to get rid of negative impacts and to have a healthy mind.
How to tackle depression and anxiety with the help of neuroplasticity?
There are some neuroplasticity exercises that one can opt for to manage and treat depression and anxiety disorders such as: –
1. Breathing exercises like meditation or deep breathing
2. Yoga or other physical exercises like jogging, squats, etc.
3. Learning new things such as language, musical instrument, game, etc.
4. Participating in activities related to memory pattern, eye pattern and sensory perception
5. Do multitasking and change your routine regularly