How to improve brain agility

If there is one part of the human body that fascinates me even more than the intestinal flora, it is the brain. I am especially intrigued by how to maintain neuroplasticity, that is, mental agility or brain dexterity. I owe this interest to an accident I had a long time ago.


When I was 20 years old I had a mini-brain stroke from which I emerged almost intact. Fortunately for me, the symptoms only lasted a few months. During that time of uncertainty, while it was not known what had caused my stroke, I did a lot of research on the function of the brain.


All I had access to at the time was my dad’s medical books. They were the only books we had at home that were related to the brain, so during my convalescence I dedicated myself to learning about different diseases.


A few years later, my taste for learning about the wonders of the brain did not disappear. That’s how I learned about the term “neuroplasticity” or brain plasticity.


Contrary to what was thought before, we now know that the brain can create new pathways or connections between neurons (neurogenesis).


Although I lost many neurons in that accident, my brain completely regenerated itself over time. You can hardly see a trace of the impact that the problem had on me. It’s incredible!


What is neuroplasticity?


Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to adapt. As mentioned in the Positive Psychology article:


“It refers to the physiological changes in the brain that happen as the result of our interactions with our environment. From the time the brain begins to develop in utero until the day we die, the connections among the cells in our brains reorganize in response to our changing needs. This dynamic process allows us to learn from and adapt to different experiences” – Celeste Campbell (n.d.).


Have you heard the phrase, “if you don’t use it, you lose it”? Well, it seems to be true, so let’s exercise your mental agility and improve your brain agility!


Take my mom, for example, she started learning how to crochet when she was already a grandmother. She knew how to knit a bit, and when she developed an interest in learning how to crochet, she started watching tutorials, after tutorial to develop her skills. She now makes beautiful dolls, pillows, blankets, you name it!


Last year she made me a quilt that I love and use when the kids don’t feel too well. I tell them to get in bed with Granny’s magic quilt, and that makes them feel better. I use it when I want to rest and need comforting.


We can always learn and become experts in new subjects.


Here are some things you can learn to help you exercise your mental agility:


  • A new language
  • A musical instrument
  • Handicrafts
  • A poem or song
  • Use a paper map or memorize the address you need to get to
  • Strategic games like chess
  • Make fermented food – because you use all your senses ?


Other practices that also help are:


  • Getting enough sleep
  • Meditation or visualization
  • Exercise
  • Keeping stress under control
  • Blueberries, avocado, omega 3, nuts, among others


And remember: one thing is the capacity we have to learn, and the other is the desire we have to learn.


I hope that what you have read has motivated you to learn something new today so that your brain makes more connections between neurons and keeps you alert, healthy, and happy until you are 110 years old! 


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