The human brain is often referred to as the most complex organ in the body, responsible for controlling everything from our thoughts and emotions to our physical movements and bodily functions. But did you know that the brain is also incredibly malleable? This means that it has the ability to change and adapt in response to different experiences and environments. This process, known as neuroplasticity, has been the subject of extensive research in recent years, revealing a wealth of new insights into how the brain works and how we can harness its malleability to improve our cognitive function, mental health and overall wellbeing.
In this article, we’ll explore what neuroplasticity is and discuss some of the ways in which we can use Sophrology to rewire our brains.
What is neuroplasticity?
Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to change and reorganise its structure and function in response to different experiences and environments. It plays a critical role in various aspects of brain function, including learning, memory and recovery from brain injury or disease.
Research has shown that neuroplasticity can be enhanced through various interventions, such as cognitive and physical exercises and meditative practices, like Sophrology. Understanding how neuroplasticity works and how to optimise it can lead to improved brain health and function.
What are the benefits of rewiring your brain?
- Improve mental health: Rewiring your brain can help you improve your mental health by reducing symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress. By changing the way you think and respond to negative emotions, you can improve your overall wellbeing.
- Increase resilience: It can help you become more resilient to life’s challenges and help you to develop coping skills and bounce back more quickly from stressful situations.
- Enhance learning and memory: By creating new neural pathways, you can enhance your cognitive function and improve your overall brain health. This can also improve your ability to learn and remember new information.
- Change negative behaviours: You can begin to learn new, healthier behaviours and habits to be able to respond better to triggers.
- Achieve personal growth: It can help you achieve personal growth and self-improvement as when you change the way you think and behave, you can become a better version of yourself and feel motivated to reach your goals.
How to rewire your brain with Sophrology?
Sophrology combines breathing techniques, relaxation, visualisation and meditation and each of these science-backed modalities helps you rewire your brain by helping you change your mindset and how you respond to stress, anxiety and other negative emotions.
Here are some steps to rewire your brain with Sophrology:
Start with relaxation:
To rewire your brain, you need to start by arriving at a state of dynamic relaxation. Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed and practise a short body scan and a few deep and slow breaths, visualising your breath moving in and out of your body. This helps to calm your nervous system and reduce stress.
Visualise positive outcomes:
Visualising positive outcomes and events helps your brain create new neural pathways that reinforce positive thoughts and emotions. Use guided imagery or Sophrology visualisation exercises to create a positive mental image of yourself achieving your goals or overcoming challenges.
Meditation is the practice of being present in the moment without judgment and training your brain to focus on the present moment instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. This helps to reduce stress and anxiety and improves your ability to cope with any stressful situations or difficulties that arise. Meditation in Sophrology can start by simply noticing your sensations and perceptions after an active exercise like the pump or the head rotations.
To rewire your brain, you need to practise regularly. By setting aside just 10 minutes each day, you’ll begin to notice positive changes in your thoughts, emotions and behaviour and you’ll soon lead a more meaningful and fulfilling life.
Repetition is key to rewiring your brain
If you’ve ever tried to learn a new skill or break a bad habit, you know how challenging it can be. But did you know that repetition can help rewire your brain and make it easier to achieve your goals?
It’s true – when you repeat a task or activity over and over again, your brain forms new neural pathways that make it easier for you to perform that task in the future. This is because of neuroplasticity and the brain’s ability to change and adapt over time.
When you practice Sophrology regularly, at first, it might feel difficult to follow the guides and you might struggle to remember the movements and breaths. But the more you practice, the easier it becomes. This is because your brain is creating new neural pathways that support this skill.
The more you practice, the stronger those pathways become. It’s like building a muscle – the more you work it, the stronger it gets. And the more those pathways are used, the easier it becomes to recall that information in the future.
This is why repetition is so important when it comes to learning new skills or breaking bad habits. If you want to get better at something, you need to practice it consistently over time. This can be applied to all sorts of things – from becoming a better public speaker, practising Sophrology to quitting smoking. Every time you resist the urge to smoke, you’re strengthening the neural pathways that support that new behaviour.
But repetition doesn’t just change the way your brain works – it can also change the structure of your brain. One study found that people who learned how to juggle showed an increase in grey matter in the area of the brain responsible for processing visual information.
What does it mean to have an increase in grey matter in the brain?
An increase in grey matter in the brain typically refers to an increase in the volume or density of neurons and their connecting structures in certain regions of the brain. Grey matter is one of the two main types of tissue in the brain, along with white matter.
Grey matter is primarily composed of cell bodies, dendrites and synapses, which are responsible for processing information and transmitting signals between neurons. It’s found in various regions of the brain, including the cerebral cortex, which is responsible for many of our higher-level cognitive functions, such as language, memory, perception and decision-making.
Research has shown that certain activities, such as meditation, aerobic exercise and learning new skills, can lead to an increase in grey matter volume in specific regions of the brain. For example, studies have found that regular meditation can lead to an increase in grey matter volume in regions of the brain associated with attention, emotional regulation and self-awareness.
An increase in grey matter volume can also be a sign of neuroplasticity, which is essential for learning, memory formation and recovery from injury or disease.
However, it’s important to note that an increase in grey matter volume does not necessarily indicate improved cognitive function or better overall brain health. More research is needed to fully understand the relationship between grey matter volume and brain function.
Just 10 minutes a day can make a big difference
So, how can you use neuroplasticity to rewire your brain in your daily life? If you’re a beginner to Sophrology, set aside time each day to practice it. It doesn’t have to be a lot – even just 10 or 15 minutes a day can make a big difference over time.
And don’t be afraid to make mistakes! Failure is a natural part of the learning process, and it’s through those mistakes that your brain can create new neural pathways that support what you’re trying to learn.
Of course, repetition alone isn’t enough to achieve your goals. You also need to have a clear plan in place and be willing to put in the hard work and effort required to achieve your objectives. But repetition can be a powerful tool to help you get there.
One thing to keep in mind is that it’s important to mix up your practice routine over time. If you do the same thing over and over again, your brain can become complacent and stop creating new neural pathways. So, try mixing up your routine – practice in different environments, use different tools or techniques and challenge yourself to try new things.
In our free ‘Reach Your Goals’ online course, learn the super tools that can be applied to every situation in your daily life such as when you feel stressed and anxious, lacking in confidence or when you want to feel more empowered. These short, effective Sophrology exercises are perfect to practice on the go, anywhere and anytime you need them most and will help guide you to reach your full potential.
In conclusion, repetition can be a powerful tool to help you learn new skills and break bad habits. By practising consistently over time, you can create new neural pathways that make it easier to achieve your goals. So, don’t be afraid to put in the hard work and effort required to get there – your brain will thank you for it!