The expression ‘plastic brain’ doesn’t mean your brain is made of a cheap, disposable material. Plasticity means the quality of being easily moulded, and scientists have discovered that the human brain has this capacity, to change continuously. It can modify its connections and rewire itself, at any age, for better or worse.
Scientists agree that the human brain is the most complex machine on earth. What other appliance, gadget or computer program could reorganise itself, make new connections and actually change shape?
Each time we learn a new dance step, for instance, a new connection is formed in the brain, a neural pathway that tells our foot how to make the move.
In the past it was thought that after a stroke, any brain damage was permanent. But since the brain has been better understood, stroke treatment and rehabilitation has shown that it is possible to regain brain function, completely in some cases.
As we get older, we’re advised to get enough sleep, avoid stress, eat healthily, get plenty of physical exercise and of course, give the brain a regular workout.
Learning a foreign language or a musical instrument keeps the brain stimulated. We’re never too old to learn, so try to find time to indulge in a new hobby.
Knitting is one of the activities that has been found to activate areas of the brain that help to generate a sense of calm, improve emotional processing and make better decisions. Who’d have thought, just from knitting?
Reading and writing, keeping a diary and of course solving crosswords and other word puzzles is an excellent way to look after your brain.