Use it or Lose it – Rewire Your Brain in Daily Doses

Use it or Lose it – Rewire Your Brain in Daily Doses

Dr. Ellen Weber
April 19, 2007
 
While you sleep at night, your brain takes on the enormous task of rewiring itself, based on what you did during the day. It's how the plasticity in the human brain can work for or against you. 

For example, if you organize your day into a schedule to get more done – you grow dendrite connectors for organization. Simply act on a target you set – and the brain's plasticity will rewire for sharper focus for the following day. Plasticity can also work against you though.

Find yourself turning off the alarm and sleeping in late when you should be at work? Your brain wires for more of the same on the following day.

Tend to eat more than you burn off in a day?  With each extra bite – your brain rewires for more of that food and for less exercise.

When a fellow worker frustrates you, do you vent or stress out? New research shows how each time you react with poor tone – your brain rewires for similar reactions next time you face frustrations.

Unfortunately, habits form in the brain's basal ganglia, and because of the rewiring process while you sleep bad habits could be wiring against the very progress a person hopes to make.  Most would agree that ruts are hard to escape and no wonder! They can even turn into sink holes where you find yourself looking up to see bottom, simply through the nightly wiring process.

Why not use the brain's plasticity for daily growth in a new career direction? The key is to do more of what you value at your workplace – and your brain does the rest. It simply rejuvenates for acumen in areas used … all while you sleep.

For example…

Laugh and you'll build more dendrite brain connectors for humor at work.
Support others and your brain rewires for building goodwill.
Organize in advance and expect plasticity for more order into your mind.
Focus on genuine communication and expect fewer meta messages.
Exercise in even small amounts and rewiring will stretch into daily doses
Listen to music and your brain helps you to hear new cadences the following day

Initial changes in any of the areas above will likely be difficult. Why? Comfortable routines – even the negative ones – are easier and more rehearsed from the brain's basal ganglia, than  new practices created from the brain's working memory.

Daily changes rewire as potential possibilities until, after a few repetitions, new approaches embed themselves in the basal ganglia as comfortable routines.

Stop doing any task though … and the rewiring stops too – which is why the scientists warn us to … "use it or lose it."  What are you mentally wiring for today?

 

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