The human brain has long mystified science by defying all the usual medical mechanical understandings. Finally, now, after years of observation and experimentation, we are beginning to unearth its workings.
Early work identified the brain as consisting of two sides, the right and left brain, with the creative processes attributed to the right and the more logical and rational processes delegated to the left lobes. The right and left brain theory is one that most of us have heard however the model now emerging, as a result of the latest research, is of a much more complex and holographic brain.
The latest findings in the field of neural plasticity show a multi-faceted construction that is capable of growing and changing during our entire lifetime. This ability to grow and change gives enormous hope to anyone suffering from brain injury of any type or, more importantly, for anyone who just wants to use their brain more effectively. However, this ability to change is also our undoing because it appears our brain records new learning, quite indiscriminately, indelibly into our neural links.
It really does seem that the old adage use it or lose it is absolutely true, in every way! So how can we develop a better ability to use the skills our brain offers us? And how can we lose that which we no longer want or need?
I propose approaching life in a ‘whole-brained, whole-hearted’ way. In my experience, this means it is easier to retain more of what I chose and maintain a more balanced perspective. Instead of becoming obsessive to stay focused or existing with anxiety, our nervous system can relax. A whole-brain approach to life opens us to the opportunity to live life whole-heartedly.
Here are some strategies that will encourage whole-brain connections:
Movement has been shown to significantly activate the brain, however the movements that grow new neural pathways are not repetitive ones but specific and deliberate developmental movements. The Brain Gym® activities recall the developmental movements naturally done during the first years of life when we are learning to coordinate the eyes, ears, hands, and whole body. They can dramatically help concentration, focus and memory, organizational skills, attitude, and physical coordination amongst much more.
Yoga, martial arts, chi gung, tai chi, and other movement programs of ancient lineage have a long history of balancing the body, mind, and spirit.
Try using both sides of the body to engage both sides of the brain, especially if you are a very one-sided kind of person. Try using your non-dominant hand to do some of your day to day tasks or let your non-dominant foot take the lead.
Do something new
The process of figuring out something new switches on new neural pathways. If you are anxious about learning it may be memories of learning challenges (remember, that brain is our strength and our weakness!) that are stopping you. Experiment with new ways to learn and if it is still difficult get some emotional release work done to let go of the pain. We each have a very unique learning style which schools rarely cater to. Finding our comfortable learning style really does make learning easy.
Learn a foreign language or music. These are shown to increase brain capacity although they must be done for 5 years to really cement in those increased neural pathways.
Draw, dance, paint or pursue another creative avenue. The process of learning combined with fine and gross motor skill development is a great brain workout.
Be comfortably competitive with yourself (or others). Again this involves trying new tactics, practicing and using your neural pathways. And ever notice that excited, yet satisfied feeling when you compete and win? That is your brain wide- awake.
Look after yourself
This sounds obvious but more and more good nutrition is being shown to be vital to good brain usage. Enough protein, complex carbs, good fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and nut butters, vitamins and minerals are essential. Protein is important in every meal and if you are vegetarian ensure you understand how to combine foods to get all your amino acids. And go organic if you can. Fish oils and multi-vitamins are useful supplements but check with a professional before you spend too much, find out what your body needs.
Generally, it is recommended to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. That is the very minimum for most of us. Sipping rather than gulping a glass down when you remember means fewer trips to the toot, so fill up a bottle and just aim to finish it by the end of the day. Be aware that once you get thirsty you are already dehydrated. Aim to never be thirsty.
Slow it right down. The frontal cortexes of regular meditators are consistently more developed.
Mindfully engage in boring repetitive tasks. Think about each step. Approaching life mindfully, ie being aware of each moment, is a type of moving mediation. See meditate for the benefits!
Also, Stay away from too much TV, or other zone-out activities. These can be great de-stressors but used in excess they can numb the brain. The zoned out comfort zone is not whole-brained nor whole-hearted.
Finally, keep the energy flowing.
Get regular tune-ups to keep the energy flowing. We service the car to make sure it runs properly and yet we often don’t do it for ourselves. Make sure you do for yourself the things you need to do to keep running well, we all know how much it costs to repair a badly maintained vehicle!
Some people can live on beer and cigarettes till they are 103, it’s true, but most of us have a constitution that is a little more sensitive. I use complimentary therapies such as kinesiology (of course!), acupuncture and massage (especially Thai and Kahuna) to maintain my balance and add others as needs be. Find what works for you and make it a priority.
Pro-actively choose to keep moving and clear blocks. When we are stuck we are not whole, there is a part of us not ready to move. Practice having faith in our natural inclination to whole-ness. Relax into knowing what you know, be open to what you don’t know and keep taking steps forward.
By taking a whole-brained, whole-hearted approach you will find that either the aspect that is stuck will unstick, or else what you need to do to unstick it will become obvious. Or else you might just come to a place of peace with where you are. Whatever happens, maintaining your intention to whole-ness will help you find it.
For more tips have a look under the tag ‘booster’ https://gaylandeta.com.au/tag/boosters/ or feel free to get in touch!
I hope this helps you to live a beautiful and joyful life!
This article was written by Gay Landeta with the intention of helping you to Create the Life you Want to Live! All rights reserved 2014.