Monday, February 07, 2011

Newness: The Stuff of Brain Growth

Newness: The Stuff of Brain Growth

Many of us are thinking of changes we want for the coming year. This is a beautiful opportunity to incorporate brain growth as part of a health-conscious lifestyle.

Newness is the key to triggering dendrite growth. The “growth end” of the brain neuron, the dendrite area, literally reaches as we open our minds to new understanding, new connections, new experiences and new skills. This reaching can be seen as a kind of a stretch. Put your arm out and reach toward a nearby window or door. Look at your hand and watch your fingers extending. That’s what your dendrites do when confronted with newness. In that process, supported by the basic nutritional elements of brain health, your dendrites grow in complexity and length. Age does not affect this ability to grow your brain power. Happy day!

Research has shown that in people whose brains have made extensive dendritic connections, the symptoms of Alzheimer’s never manifested even when the brain upon autopsy showed the changes of Alzheimer’s disease. This alone is powerful motivation to consider triggering dendrite growth.

How do we bring this element of newness into our lifestyles? Take a moment to review your normal day. We all have a number of routines, familiar and automatic. There’s a clue to look at in your routine. What are you doing automatically? Changing little things in those automatic actions will begin to trigger dendrite growth. Try switching hands when you brush your teeth, and you will get an idea what it feels like when your dendrites are reaching. It may be uncomfortable or annoying. Look at that experience of “uncomfortable,” and you can see what newness requires.

Now think about some areas of your life where you might really enjoy reaching beyond your comfort zone. What is intriguing, fascinating to you? What gives you a little stir in your heart or midsection? What moves you?

When I committed to doing fifty-five blogs in a row on brain health, I felt a sensation of excitement, mixed with an anxious whir. Also mixed in there was curiosity and anticipation. Nothing to do with comfort. All those different feelings add up to a worthy foray into newness, and here I am.

I invite you to journey through your day with an eye to the routine you have created. Do this with love, and see what unfolds.

Suzanna Stinnett

No comments: