Brain Changers

(A while back I accepted the offer of a chance to participate in the Correspondence section of our local paper, with the stipulation that my submissions have a 250-word limit.I accepted the offer, and take the word limit challenge seriously. What a challenge that is! In revising and revising to decrease the size and maintain the point, at times the point changes. I fight the feeling that I am losing my style, if that is what it is, all those cute, clever examples to support my opinions. My blog posts don’t have word limits, so maybe I can record my witticisms here to experiment with style/brevity. Can I really say anything impressive and provocative in 250 words or fewer?)

Perhaps you have heard “neurons that fire together wire together.” That explains how we learn the isolated steps of the Achy Breaky then put them together in a sequence resembling a dance.

120 years ago Henry James alluded to the brain’s malleability, but with little fanfare. In 1948 that characteristic received a name – neuroplasticity – thanks to Polish neuroscientist Jerry Konorski. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that it was understood that our brains could adapt in function and structure beyond childhood.

This ability to form new connections is a response to learning, experience and memory-making.
To stimulate our brain cells to be happier folks, here are 4 simple alterations we can make, according to Shawn Achor in his 2011 TED talk.

1.Write 3 things you appreciate for 21 days. It doesn’t have to be complicated journaling;
it can be a 2-minute task writing in the margin of a newspaper headed to recycling. It is the thinking and the doing for 21 days in a row that allows our brains to retain a pattern of looking at our worlds through a positive lens.
2. Exercise. Can’t get around the fact that our brains need movement. Dig out those cassettes and relearn the steps to Achy Breaky for starters.
3. Meditate. That term intimidates me. I understand ‘practice mindfulness’ better. Focus on the moment. Our brains need a break from the multi-tasking chaos that technology creates.
4.Commit random acts of kindness regularly. This requires conscious thought, and done
consistently, it is a brain changer.

(Recommended reads: The Brain that Changes Itself and The Brain’s Way of Healing, both by Norman Doidge, MD. Check out this website: brainHQ)

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About gleefulee

Retired after 33 years of teaching English and French (one year in private school in Memphis, TN and the rest in public school in Doniphan, MO. Enjoying new adventures - all those things I put off for lack of time, energy, now I can try them! Pottery, writing, traveling, camping, kayaking, dancing, listening to some of the best live music ever, and making passionate, lively new friendships. All christened with an appreciation for great red wine! Created and operated KC's on the Current, then sold it and managed it for new owners. Now totally retired and looking for my summers to be full of fun as well! Born and raised in St. Louis, MO
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