Did you know that you have a new brain? Don’t look around. Don’t even put your hands to your head. The brain you were born with is still the brain you have today. It’s just that new technology and advances in research have shown that the brain you have today is very different than what it was thought to be. That means that it’s very different than what you thought it was.
Your brain is not a fixed genetic inheritance. The internal structure of your brain is constantly changing in response to what you do or don’t do. They call it plasticity or neuroplasticity. That means that the brain you have today is different than the brain you had when you were a kid, even a young adult.
Actually, regardless of your age, the brain you have today is probably much different than the brain you had last year, last month, last week, and possibly even yesterday. Thanks to the Law of Plasticity your brain knows about all these changes.
Your brain’s plasticity doesn’t act alone. It has contrived a map that records everything you do and don’t do. It’s not like a road map where the locations of everything are fixed. It’s a brain-map that’s constantly changing in response to what you do and don’t do. Your brain-map is constantly recording the transmissions received from vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch and feel. Every time you do something, a new transmission is received and recorded on your brain-map.
Those transmissions are recorded and placed together with related transmissions previously received. So, the more you do something the larger the area. The fewer transmissions received for an activity the smaller the area displayed.
But, the size of the area displayed doesn’t stay the same. The size of the area is constantly changing in response to what you’re doing or not doing. If you reduce your activity in an area it will display smaller. If you increase your activity in an area it will display larger.
This constant changing isn’t just for aesthetics. Your brain uses its map to initiate and control your responses and learning, and your brain has been doing that since you were born. That’s why repetition and practice are so important.
It gets even more sophisticated. The layout and structure of your brain map is controlled by the Law of Plasticity. The Law of Plasticity is actually responsible for the survival of your brain. Your brain’s only resource is the blood it receives. Your brain uses that blood to function. That makes the efficient use of blood Plasticity’s primary responsibility.
In order to use the blood being received efficiently Plasticity needs to know what information you use or need, and with what frequency. The greater the frequency the greater the importance. Knowing that, Plasticity is going to store Information received so that you, the User, use the blood available to your brain in the most efficient way.
To a great extent it’s the frequency of your efforts in a particular activity that determines the importance of the information received. The more important the information the bigger the sector on your brain-map. The bigger the sector the more blood it draws.
When it comes right down to it, your brain-map will determine how your blood is distributed to the tissues and cells in your brain. Since it’s your behavior, or lack of it, that determines how your brain-map is drawn, you are responsible for the distribution of blood to tissues and cells in your brain. You are responsible for the functioning of your brain.
You’ve heard someone say that they used to speak a language fluently when they were younger, but haven’t used it in years, and other than a word here and there, they can no longer speak the language. That’s because that section in your brain-map has gotten really small, moved out to distant regions, and is drawing much less, if any, blood. The connections aren’t functioning as well as they once did.
You can replace language with any other activity that you’ve spent a lot of time doing, and then, for whatever reason, significantly reduced or stopped completely. The impact on blood distribution and brain function will be the same.
Unless the blood you previously used is applied to another activity increasing in area size, it will just be conserved. Blood that’s being conserved is not being used. That will affect the functioning of the tissues and cells in your brain.
To increase a section in your brain-map you have to use the information or skill involved. The more you use it the bigger it gets. The less you use it the smaller it gets. It may even disappear completely. You know, “Use it or Lose it”.
Even if an area is getting smaller, drawing less and less blood, you can do something else that shows a growing area drawing more and more blood. Tissue and cells will respond accordingly. So, keep your brain active and involved if you want to keep it healthy and functioning.