Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Rewiring Your Brain
Lately I have been listening to the audiocasts Brain Series put on by the National Institute of Clinical and Behavioral Medicine (www.nicabm.com). Their series reminded me of an article written by speaker, author and therapist Bill O'Hanlon, "The Brain Plasticity and Depression Connection." What follows is a heavily adapted summary of his key points along with some of my own thoughts.
Newer theories state that anxiety and depression state is caused by the lack of brain growth in the emotional section of the brain called the hippocampus. For years medicine has been based on the theory that the cause is a biochemical imbalance and deficiency in certain neurotransmitters like serotonin. What is interesting about this newer theory is the discovery of ways we can grow our brains or significantly decrease brain decline.
Our response to environment is proving to be more critical to brain growth than was previously thought twenty five years ago. "...stress, which plays a key role in triggering depression, suppresses neuro genesis, brain growth, in the hippocampus." Bill O'hanlon
So here is a very brief summary of Four Things You Can Do To Rewire Your Brain...
1. Playing or listening to music. In short musicians have more brain matter. gdc click on my blog - "Brain and Music"
2. Get up and move - movement stimulates brain growth hormone.
3. Stretch yourself mentally and learn something new.
4. Social Connections - ones absent from moaning and groaning. Social connection lights up brain circuitry that gets sluggish with depression. Important is to limit participating in worry, obsessing, complaining to no more than 10 minutes. If you can't do this under your own will power then it is time to get professional help.