Soul Sculpting Project: Tired of Your Old Brain? Sculpt a New One.
. . . be transformed by the renewing of your mind. . . (Romans 12:2)
Ever wished you had a new brain? Good news. We have the power to sculpt a new brain. A few years back we didn’t know this was possible. Now we know it is.
How to sculpt a brain:
Let’s say you want to sculpt a larger hippocampus.
The hippocampus is a small organ in our brain that looks a bit like a sea horse. What is is good for? Four of its many skills are memory, learning, spatial navigation and regulating emotions. If you want to have more of these skills you will want to enlarge your hippocampus.
Three ways to enlarge our hippocampus:
Choice #1 Become a London cab driver
London cabbies memorize 320 main routes, 25,000 streets, and 20,000 landmarks. Neurologists at University College London found that cabbies hippocampus’ grew significantly larger as a result of memorizing this large body of knowledge.
Choice #2 Exercise – Get moving
NeuroImage Journal 2017: A meta-analysis by an international team of researchers has concluded that aerobic exercise increases hippocampal volume and can improve memory function along with maintaining overall brain health as we age.
Choice #3 Meditate
A study done by Harvard found that after 8 weeks of meditation for 27 minutes day, meditators had an increased gray-matter density in the hippocampus.
I don’t plan to become a cabbie, but choices 2 and 3 intrigue me. And there are many other choices we can make to sculpt our hippocampus, as well as the other regions of our brain.
This process of brain sculpting is called self-directed neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity: neuron (a nerve cell), plastic (moldable). This means that throughout our entire lifespan our brain has the ability to change its structure, chemicals, and performance.
Gray matter can shrink and gray matter can grow.
Our brain is a continual work of art in progress. Every day we are molding and sculpting our brains. Our sculpting tools are our thoughts and our actions.
What we think about and what we do alters the structure of our brains.
If we want a new brain we can sculpt it.
Soul Sculpting Project: Beginning to Sculpt a New Brain
The first step to sculpting a new brain with self-directed neuroplasticity is to dream, ponder and pray.
What kind of changes would I like to see in my brain?
What thoughts and actions could I use to sculpt those changes?
Tip: Consider inviting God to be a part of this process. God is an expert in transformation.
Our brain is changing all the time. With self-directed neuroplasticity we can be intentional about the changes we want to create.
If we choose the same thoughts and actions we currently think and do we will reinforce the current connections and patterns in our brains. If we choose new thoughts and actions we will sculpt a new brain.
Interested in getting rid of some old brain patterns?
Here is more good news. When we stop thinking the same thoughts and doing the same actions the brain will experience synaptic pruning. When we don’t use certain neural connections, they eventually wither and die.
Have fun imagining, planning, and sculpting a new brain.
. . .be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness. . . (Ephesians 4:23-24)