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The brain is amazing. It’s complex, and it’s very powerful. We know more about the brain now, than we ever have done before - yet, even with this knowledge, the brain is so complex that we only have a small insight into what the brain can do.

Over the last few decades, there have been significant developments in brain imaging technology and that has enabled us to study the brain in far more sophisticated ways than ever before.

Here are a few fun facts that we know about the brain today:

  • We are born with 100 trillion synapses
  • We have around 100 billion neurons in our brains
  • We lose and generate neurons daily
  • We generate new neurons until we die
  • We gain new connections every day

As you can see from these facts, there is so much happening within our brains. Even just as you are sitting here right now, reading this blog. Most people go through their lives without thinking about this amazing asset we have. 

In this blog, we take a look at neuroplasticity and how we can increase the cognitive functions within our brain by taking control of our lives.

If you would like to explore this subject in more detail, please download our free webinar “Our Brains at Work, Rest, and Play: Neuroplasticity, Cognitive Enhancement and Taking Action in Our Lives”.

Watch the Webinar - Our Brains at Work, Rest and Play

What is neuroplasticity? 

Neuroplasticity, also known as brain plasticity, is the brain's ability to change its physical structure and its functional organization in response to training and new experiences. For example, the brain can grow new dendrites, form new neural connections, grow new neurons and strengthen existing neural connections.

All of this fundamentally changes the brain’s capacity to learn and function. Neuroplasticity happens across our entire lifespan, so there isn’t a day in our life when this isn’t happening within our brains. 

There are a number of factors that determine our brain’s plasticity, including:

  • Effortful processing - a level of difficulty and task complexity that ensures  our brain is being “worked” by an activity
  • Active engagement
  • Repetition and training (accuracy, consistency and automaticity)
  • Feedback 
  • Human variability (our genes)

We have control over the neuroplasticity effects on our brain

No area of the brain works in isolation. Instead, the brain works in networks of areas to help us perform day-to-day tasks, such as; memory; executive function; decision making; language; math; art; writing; socializing; and many more.

Neuroplasticity can enhance the brain’s ability to perform these tasks, by strengthening how the networks in our brain are functioning. 

We have control over the neuroplastic effects on our brains, and the brain adapts to what it does the most. 

That means we need to reduce factors that negatively impact neuroplasticity such as: 

  • Chronic stress 
  • Prolonged anxiety
  • Chronic pain
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Social isolation

As well as increase factors that positively impact neuroplasticity such as: 

  • Cognitive Exercise
  • Self challenge
  • Growth mindset
  • Exercise
  • Mindfulness
  • Social interaction
  • Proper nutrition
  • Proper sleep

How we can leverage neuroplasticity to improve cognitive functions

Everyone in the world is born with their own unique cognitive profile. This profile determines how easy or difficult certain types of learning are for each of us. But this doesn’t mean we can’t change that.

In fact, we can enhance this potential by using the principles of neuroplasticity to target, and improve, specific cognitive functions. This is known as cognitive enhancement, which can increase cognitive performance even at the elite level. 

Cognitive enhancement enables us all to be more:

  • Capable 
  • Successful 
  • Efficient
  • Effective

To ensure this neuroplastic change is effective over time, we need to keep our brains active over our lifespan, to integrate and use the cognitive gains we have been targeting, reduce factors that lead to negative neuroplastic change, and increase the factors that lead to positive neuroplastic change. 

Are you interested in learning more about how you can leverage neuroplasticity to make sustained cognitive changes overtime? Get in touch with the Arrowsmith team of neuroplasticity experts today



Tara Bonner
Post by Tara Bonner
November 16, 2022
Tara Bonner collaborates with professionals and educators worldwide, envisioning the convergence of learning and neuroscience. Tara has witnessed that cognitive programming can be a transformative force not just for struggling learners, but for all seeking to experience learning with ease and joy. She's honored to be part of these discussions and an organization that's revolutionizing education by putting the "Brain in Education."