Understanding Neuroplasticity

November 14, 2011 by
Filed under: Research, Spinewave Bulletin 

Neuroplasticity. Probably one of the most important concepts in neuroscience and chiropractic today. It’s about how we wire ourselves. How we set our problems up, and break our problems down. It’s about how we change our brain, and change our lives. It’s about why no real, lasting change ever happens overnight. But why consistent chiropractic care creates champions.

This video by Rick Hanson, PhD in neuropsychology, is a wonderful introduction to brain plasticity – a concept important to everyone interested in getting well, staying well, and personal development. Anyone with a brain, actually. I have also included a useful transcript about how to make the most of positive experiences.

Taking in the good

This brings me to one of my favourite methods for deliberately using the mind to change the brain over time for the better: taking in the good.

Just having positive experiences is not enough to promote last well-being. If a person feels grateful for a few seconds, that’s nice. That’s better than feeling resentful or bitter for a few seconds. But in order to really suck that experience into the brain, we need to stay with those experiences for a longer duration of time – we need to take steps, consciously, to keep that spotlight of attention on the positive.

So, how do we actually do this? These are the three steps I recommend for taking in the good. I should note that I did not invent these steps. They are embedded in many good therapies and life practices. But I’ve tried to tease them apart and embed them in an evolutionary understanding of how the brain works.

    1. Let a good fact become a good experience. Often we go through life and some good thing happens – a little thing, like we checked off an item on our To Do list, we survived another day at work, the flowers are blooming, and so forth. Hey, this is an opportunity to feel good. Don’t leave money lying on the table: recognise that this is an opportunity to let yourself truly feel good.

  • Really savour this positive experience. Practice what any school teacher knows: if you want to help people learn something, make it as intense as possible – in this case, in the body, for as long as possible (why consistent chiropractic care creates champions!)


  • Finally, as you sink into this experience, sense your intent that this experience is sinking into you. Sometimes people do this through visualisation, like perceiving a golden light coming into themselves. You might imagine a jewel going into the treasure chest in your heart – or just know that this experience is sinking into you, becoming a resource you can take with you wherever you go.


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