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Neuroplasticity, Cochlear Implants, Meditation, and Journaling

I watched a fascinating show last night about neuroplasticity, the malleability of the brain, its amazing power to learn and adapt.

The doctor who invented cochlear implants talked about how they far exceeded medical expectations because the brain took the impulses sent to it by the device and figured out what the device was trying to do. People who had lost their hearing began to hear again the sounds they had lost.

One of the keys to neuroplasticity is focus. The brain has to be focused on a task in order to learn from it and mold itself to perform the task better and better.

That’s why meditation is one of the best neuroplasticity practices. Studies have even shown that life-long meditators have a different brain structure than non-meditators.

Which, of course, leads us to journaling. This is just me talking, but it makes perfect sense that journaling is like meditation on steroids when it comes to neuroplasticity. You focus on the words on the page, while your mind focuses on a memory or some other idea. This creates the perfect setting for the brain to adapt to the practice of journaling over time, opening itself to new inputs and fashioning a structure to make the most of them.

You can teach an old dog new tricks. And you can do it with nothing more than a pen and paper.

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