Here’s a small experiment for you: In a notebook or on a piece of paper, jot down a memory of a time when you were happy. Include details — what you were doing, what you were seeing, and how you felt. Don’t forget the sensory details — what did it smell like around you? What were the sounds in the background? Continue writing for as long as it takes for you to feel transported back to when you lived it.You may feel the rush of all you felt back then. You may only feel a tiny bit of it, but as long as you bring back even some of that feeling of happiness, you’ve stimulated the part of your brain that knows happiness — and the more you stimulate it, the easier it becomes for you to be and remain happy.
What you’ve just loosely experienced is called neuroplasticity.
Even as late as the 1960s, scientists believed the brain stopped changing after infancy and early childhood. It was widely accepted that by adulthood, the brain’s structure was not only permanent but that the brain no longer had the ability to change or adapt. Research in the last few decades has negated that hypothesis, proving that, in fact, our brains are malleable organs that continuously create new neural pathways and alter existing ones in response to new experiences, new information, and new memories. This forming of new neurons in our brains and the brain’s extraordinary ability to change is called neuroplasticity.
What this means is that you have greater control over your mind than you believe.
How can you use neuroplasticity to change your brain and change your life? Here are some ways.