4 ways to use neuroplasticity to your advantage
What is Neuroplasticity is a question that has been explored many times. Most will know it’s got something to do with the way your brain learns.
You would be right.
Neuroplasticity is all about the brain learning something new. As you start to learn a new skill or amount of information, your brain will be busy creating a new pathway for it.
It’s why it feels so hard to do something new, even after trying a few times. It takes many repetitions of the same movement or information for it to stick. But once it’s stuck (or encoded in science terms) is it there forever?
The short answer is no.
Your brain can’t take on all the information it ever learns. It can’t retain it all forever. There just isn’t enough room for that.
But what it can do is work out what’s important and what’s not. What’s being used and what is not anymore. It’s why if you learnt an instrument when you were a kid, you might kind of remember some of it but most of it is hard to recall.
Use it or lose it situation.
Here’s the other thing about neuroplasticity, your brain cannot decipher good from bad information.
What I mean by that is, learning about a new topic at school or uni – good, learning your new job – good, learning addiction and dependance – bad.
How can I use neuroplasticity to my advantage?
Being aware that your brain can’t decipher between good learning and bad is the important part. You will never be able to pick and choose how your brain learns, but what you can do is concentrate on giving it the best tools to learn good information quickly.
Use it or lose it.
You want to keep something in your brain for later, make sure you keep revisiting it to keep it from being ‘erased’.
Be specific about the information.
Be very specific about the exact information you want to learn. If its key definitions from a textbook, don’t go back over the fluff in the book, just recite and test yourself on the key definitions.
This is key to quickly learning. If anyone tells you revising is key to learning new things, tell them they’re dreaming’! The key to learning is repeatedly testing yourself. Repeat the specific information over and over again. Think of it like muscle memory. After all, your brain is one big muscle.
I’m sorry to say but younger brains learn faster. The older we get, the harder it is to learn new things. But don’t give up or give in. Just because it takes longer, does not mean it is impossible. Use your experience to join the dots on new learning. Use the pathways you have already made, and just add to them.
Want to know why it’s so hard to focus, read here Why Can’t I focus?