Would you like to be happier, more successful, and smarter? Who wouldn't, right? Fortunately, it is possible due to a scientific term called neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity means that our brains can change—essentially rewiring themselves—by forming new connections. Because our brains are malleable, we can build and strengthen connections that have a positive impact on our learning, memory, attitude, and skill development. To take advantage of your brain's ability to grow and change, here are some useful strategies:
Meditate. Within weeks of beginning a meditation practice, your brain begins to change. For example, monks who meditate regularly have been shown to have different neural structures than the average person. Their brains can process greater awareness and more compassion, and they also benefit from reduced stress and an improved sense of wellbeing.
Visualize. Visualization is another useful method for rewiring your brain. Consider the following experiment which studied the brain matter of piano players. Half of the pianists were asked to practice a piano exercise for 2 hours a day for a week. The other half merely imagined practicing while keeping their hands still. Yet in both groups, researchers found that the region of the motor cortex associated with these finger movements had expanded!
Adhere to the 10-Second Rule. When you have a positive experience, take at least 10 seconds to allow yourself to linger over it, rather than quickly moving on to the next thing. That gives your brain time to transfer the positive feelings from short-term to long-term memory. Rick Hanson, neuropsychologist and author of the book Hardwiring Happiness, recommends this activity to “really get those neurons firing together so that they wire this growing inner strength in your brain,” resulting in greater happiness.