Brain Plasticity: A Hot Topic for Meditators as Well as Educators
May 23, 2013 by DrDonna
Surprised that even Zen Buddhist monks are talking about brain plasticity? On a TED talk, one monk named Matthieu Ricard reports that our brain can be trained in well-being. Ricard has been called the happiest man in the world. His idea is that meditation can be used to stimulate the brain and get it to change through the concept of brain plasticity.
Your Brain is Constantly Changing
At one time years ago, scientists and doctors thought that once the brain was formed, it didn’t change. It was fixed and you couldn’t improve your IQ or your cognitive abilities. This was truly a limited viewpoint and not really based in common sense. If the brain didn’t have the capability to change, then you’d expect to stay at the level of a newborn your entire life.
However, scientists wised up and the concept of brain plasticity was born after researchers proved that the brain has the capacity to grow from intellectual stimulation and learning. This concept of brain plasticity is the key foundational neurological principle that the Gemm Learning programs are based upon. It’s why many children who go through the program can start to notice small changes in the first few weeks of training. They feel their brain changing and growing.
How has Brain Plasticity Affected You?
You yourself have felt the results of brain plasticity every time you read a book. The new ideas in the book give you a new view of the topic and of the world. There’s a reorganization of the neurons and their synapses in your brain to accommodate the new information you are learning. You may feel a new passion for the topic as a result of the new ideas introduced to your brain; this new passion is the excited neurons “talking” to you. You may not ever go back to thinking about the topic in the same way you thought about it before you read that book. Brain plasticity is a wonderful thing. It proves to us that we can continually grow.
Mind training isn’t a luxury, says the zen monk. He thinks we need to train our brain how to calm down our racing thoughts and emotions and that our brain functioning determines how well we function in life. But brain plasticity can have an even more significant impact on children who struggle with learning difficulties.
Brain Plasticity Helps Children Overcome Learning Difficulties
Thanks to brain plasticity, it’s possible to boost the cognitive functions of the kids that are falling behind. By providing brain training, we can improve the cognitive skills of these children to promote their growth and well-being. And providing brain training is what we do best at Gemm Learning.
And when we do it, we notice happier kids better able to handle their emotions–without the meditation.