Don’t Die Waiting for Your Brain to Change

There are some things you should not wait to take action to change.  Actually, your brain depends on your taking some easy, fun and free actions.  At IPPA in June, I had the opportunity to hear Dr. Joyce Shaffer explain some wonderful research in neuroplasticity (how the brain can change itself).  Dr. Shaffer did not just discuss the research, she lives it.  I cannot help but like a researcher who declares:  “The goal of this review is to add dignity to aging, emphasize science-based ways to enrich heredity, maximize human potential, and enjoy playing a role in evolving human intelligence.”  Who would be against any of that????

Some of the research from Dr. Shaffer’s review I liked the best:

Marian Diamond’s original groundbreaking work which showed how an ‘enriched’ environment (rats were touched and talked to each day vs. those who were not lived 50% longer) grounded the conversation for not only living longer but living longer with a healthier brain.

Richard Davidson’s brain research examining the impact of meditation on increasing positive emotions and decreasing depression — which then lead to research showing how meditation increased focused attention — something hard to come by in our technology overloaded world.

Davidson’s research opened the way for Posner and Tang’s research in the field of well-being therapy.   Using integrative body-mind training such as meditation, Posner and Tang found white brain matter changes with “improvements in self-regulation” (your ability to manage your own behavior).   Shaffer stated “short-term meditation can be beneficial for white brain matter neuroplasticity and be beneficial for prevention and treatment of mental disorders that include a component of difficulty with self-regulation.”

Living longer if you connect with people and being more focused and less depressed if you meditate, are great findings.  Rounding out the research is the ability to grow new brain connections just by moving more, and more intensely.  That is a nice way of saying, EXERCISE!

Dr. Shaffer has devoted her personal time to proving that research right.  She is a global cyclist who invested a year bicycling an average of 80 miles a day in 45 countries and 6 continents.  Listen to a recent interview Dr. Shaffer did with me on V for Vitality.  The interview is the last 20 minutes of the show.

For those who enjoy the outdoors and are lucky enough to live near the Red Mountain Spa, the photo on this blog was taken on one of their great guided hikes this past weekend.

I started my day with 20 minutes of meditation and an early walk before sitting at my desk to work – an hour and 20 minute investment to get me through the next 12 hours.  Seems like a good return on my time investment.

Create an incredible week.






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About the author

Andrea Goeglein is part organizational psychologist, part entrepreneur, and all about success—your success. She understands both the pressures you face and the dreams that inspire you. Andrea merges her experience as a business owner with her training in Positive Psychology to provide effective, efficient and challenging personal development products and services. She combines an emphasis on objective assessment with an approach that is always powered by your spirit and guided by your goals. Her professional development offerings are based in theory and backed by direct business knowledge.

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