Our brain is not a static organ rather it keeps on changing throughout our life. It changes physically, chemically & functionally every time so that it can optimize it’s abilities. It is found that every day an adult brain creates five to ten thousands new neural pathways. These pathways are related to different activity we perform every day. This feature of our brain is called neuroplasticity. Our brain is plastic and it changes every time.
For every function of it brain creates pathways and as the activity gets repeated the associated pathways gets stronger and hard to break it. Then after a certain time that activity becomes automatic and hard to change. Studies have found that each new habit we develop creates a new special neural pathway in the brain. As a result this habit becomes automatic and hard to break. It’s like your brain becomes hard wired to do that habit. It’s as if you added a new piece of hardware to your computer to force it to repeat a certain function all the time.
Let’s say for the first time when someone starts riding bicycle, brain starts creating new neural pathways for that activity and after a few days of practice that pathway becomes stronger and then cycling becomes an unconscious habit.
Can we use the superpower of our brain plasticity?
Yes we can, in one research it was found that hippocampus of taxi drivers is bigger than normal people. Hippocampus is the organ related to navigation, maping and long term memory. As taxi drivers have to navigate everytime while driving, they use that part of their brain frequently and consequently it grew in size and became dominated than other parts.
To make you more clear, if someone lost his eye sight in an accident then after a few days visual cortex, the organ responsible for vision will start shrinking because that part won’t be in use as before and other organ of brain associated with hearning, smelling will become more stronger because after loosing his eye sight that person will be more dependent on his hearing and smelling and so these organ will be in use more than as before.
So point here to understand is that we can change our brain just by changing our activity. Result can be seen in one week. We can do with our thoughts and emotions also. The way we perceive things, the way we see the reality, the way we feel… our every activity is creating new neural pathways or destroying old neural pathways in our brain. So it is changing our brain too.
To change any habit if we just stop doing that activity for a few days untill those pathways associated with that activity gets destroyed. But we can speed up the process with a twist. Instead of just by undoing that activity if we start doing another new activity then brain changes in fastest way.
If for example you developed the habit of drinking tea 5 times a day then developing the habit of drinking green tea instead of tea can help you get rid of your bad habit in quicker way.
Another example is, let’s say you get angry very soon, then instead of controlling your anger if you start practicing gratitude then it will be fastest way of avoiding anger.
We can change our brain anytime and we can change our life anytime.