A new year brings potential. Potential for greatness, potential for adventure, potential for positive change. What will you do in 2017?
Lately, I've been giving much thought to the power of learning something new. A word that continues to pop up is "neuroplasticity". Neuroplasticity refers to the brain's ability to change and grow over the course of a lifetime. For many decades, it was believed that as we aged our brains became "fixed", hence the phrase "you can't teach an old dog new tricks". However, modern research shows just the opposite. Our brains continue to develop over time, creating new neurons and connections. Every time we learn something new, connections are being made, there is an increase in blood flow and the internal structure of existing synapses can change. A 2010 study in The Journal of Neuroscience found that after only two sessions of practicing a new task, the brain creates more gray matter. Doing something over and over again doesn't just make the task easier, but it can actually change the brain's structure.
Whether you decide to play a musical instrument, learn a foreign language, master a skill, or simply try something you've never done before - may this year be full of growth and potential! Happy New Year!