Neuroplasticity and Motivation – Brain Science with Dr. Salcido
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Neuroplasticity and How Your Brain Fires – with Dr. Salcido
As we talked about in another video, we thought 15 years ago that the brain wasn’t changing and that as soon as you hit your early twenties the brain just stopped developing. You were kind of stuck with that hardware. There’s a big industry now for personal development, for all of this what I would call the software upgrades. You change your mindset, you have happier thinking. But now we know you can actually upgrade the hardware. You can actually change your brain. Your brain physically changes, and that’s something called neuroplasticity. It doesn’t mean your brain is plastic, it means your brain is able to be moldable, changeable. That’s what neuroplasticity means, and there’s some really powerful ways that you can actually activate that for your own personal development and for your health as well.
So neuroplasticity basically means the brain is kind of moldable. You’ve basically got a big glob of melted plastic in your brain and you can mold it depending on what you do with your life. Then when you get back into your normal groove, it freezes that way. Okay. That’s really interesting. I talk again, also, a lot about the neural pathways that we create and how that has to do with neuroplasticity. If you take the road less traveled enough, that becomes the road that is traveled and it’s because the signaling in the brain goes that way eventually. Is that neuroplasticity, in essence?
Interesting. So neuroplasticity isn’t just this natural thing we’re just gifted with.
We have to kind of earn it. Okay. That’s where I was confused and I didn’t understand that. So, how do we improve neuroplasticity, then?
In order to improve neuroplasticity, one of the biggest things we talk about and we’ve talked about before is movement. Movement is one of the most powerful ways you can actually stimulate neuroplasticity. What happens is, when you exercise, and it doesn’t have to be aerobic, it doesn’t have to be resistance, it doesn’t have to be high intensity like Crossfit or anything like that. Any type of movement really helps BDNF improve, which is a big stimulator of neuroplasticity. Movement in general is really great to create a new, healthy, changeable, moldable brain.
Got it, okay. That’s interesting. There have been studies that have shown, I know, that generally speaking, those that are regularly active do show higher IQ and they do show lower instances of anxiety and lower instances of depression. But it’s interesting. I wonder if it all circles back to this neuroplasticity.
It does, it does. Actually, something really interesting to touch on that point too, is one of the biggest ways they’ve found to stimulate neuroplasticity is by having what they would call an enriched environment. Enriched environment would basically mean, let’s say you’re talking about a lab study, you have these mice that are in just a basic cage. There’s nothing for them to do. There’s no way for them to exercise, they don’t have any other mice in there to interact with. There’s no interaction whatsoever. They’re just in this blank canvas, essentially, and they found neurogenesis and neuroplasticity tanked. They just absolutely went to nothing. But as soon as they put in there a wheel for them to exercise, they put other mice in there for them to interact with, healthier food, all of the sudden neuroplasticity went up. It’s just to show a powerful indicator of how much your lifestyle can actually affect your brain’s ability to change.
That’s really interesting. I think Google has the right idea by creating the workspace that they created, right?
The days of trying to get 30 minutes in is really tough, but I really love those long meditations. That has proven to be a really solid way to stimulate neuroplasticity, right?
Yeah, because you notice it’s so easy to get lost in the day to day, constantly. If that becomes the way that your brain is wiring and firing, then that just becomes the norm so anything that’s breaking that is going to bring you back to baseline a little bit.
What’s funny is that … This is getting a little bit off topic or sort of, but I’m thinking deep on this. We get into habits that are good and are bad, right? My habit, I get up in the morning and I train fasted. I work out first thing in the morning and that’s just my habit. But every once in a while what I try to do, just for the stake of stimulating my brain and improving that neuroplasticity, is I’ll throw a wrench in it and I’ll work out in the afternoon. It’s such a challenge because my brain is just like –
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