REPAIRING THE BRAIN :
We have seen from several other articles that I have published on this site how significant childhood trauma can adversely affect the physical development of the brain which, in turn, can result in various cognitive, emotional and behavioural problems in adulthood.
However, we have also seen, thanks to a quality in the brain known as neuroplasticity, that it is now known that, under certain conditions, the brain has the potential to recover from the damage it incurred during early life.
For example, if our brain was affected in such a way when we were young that, as adults, we are extremely anxious and hypersensitive to stress, mindfulness meditation has been shown by much research to have the potential to greatly alleviate this problem.
In order for positive changes to take place in the brain that are long-lasting, it is necessary to alter the structure of the brain on a neuronal level; seven major elements that are of great importance to achieving this are as follows :
REPAIRING THE BRAIN : THE SEVEN KEY ELEMENTS
- NOVELTY – the brain must receive new information and stimuli in order to change itself
- REPETITION – the brain must be repeatedly exposed to this new information to enable it to start making, strengthening and consolidating new neural connections.
- ATTENTION – it is necessary to pay good attention to the new information/stimuli for the new, beneficial neural connections to occur (paying attention stimulates the production of acetylcholine in the brain which aids the development of these new neural connections)
- DIET – in particular, Omega 3 helps the development of new neural connections (Omega 3 can be bought as a supplement).
- AEROBIC EXERCISE – research suggests that this form of exercise helps the brain to positively regenerate itself
- RELATIONSHIPS – forming close bonds with others (and, importantly, relating well to ourselves) has also been shown to lead to beneficial brain development
- SLEEP – it is important to get sufficient sleep (research suggests that the brain most actively ‘repairs’ itself during sleep).
David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE)