“There is nothing permanent except change.” Heraclitus
“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.” Gail Sheehy
“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” George Bernard Shaw
For those of you who are adamant about people’s inability to change, did you read my blog posted July 26th challenging this premise? If so, have you reconsidered your position? If not, I invite you to read it and come back to peruse this article. If you have begun to at least give pause to your unwavering posture, you have successfully challenged your own assertion. You are an example of becoming “unstuck,” open to the possibilities and of supporting the evidence of neuroplasticity. Yes, your slight shift in a long-held belief is much more remarkable than you might even realize.
What is neuroplasticity? Well, good old Wikipedia has a simple definition. They describe it as being an umbrella term which encompasses brain malleability throughout a human being’s life. It is also referred to as brain plasticity. For centuries, scientists believed the brain was mechanistic and not a living organism. Therefore, once a part stopped functioning, no recourse was available. It led scientists and healthcare workers to acquiesce to the idea there was little hope for certain diseases and conditions. In the 20th century, some scientists began to deviate from such rigid thinking and started to explore and research more about the plasticity of the brain. Based on scientific evidence, they substantiated their hypothesis that the brain was not a fixed machine during early childhood, and for a brief time, children could benefit from its plasticity. Unfortunately, they concluded, however, the window of leveraging this flexibility closed within a few years, and the brain evolved into a fixed, hard-wired apparatus. As time marched on, scientists questioned this static deduction about the adult brain, and upon further discovery, they determined that neuroplasticity did not halt after a certain period in one’s life. In fact, some believe it is present throughout a lifetime.
Now what does all of this mean? On a grand scale, it has vast implications for human beings who suffer from injuries, diseases and accidents. Scientists are beginning to recognize the capacity for remapping certain functions of a damaged part to a healthier portion of the brain. To me, it is most encouraging for humanity. How much better can it be living in these innovative, promising times? Although much of its impact will reveal itself beyond my lifetime, it is very exciting to witness the availability that can be used now. Behavior can change. Rigidity can be loosened, and negativity can be replaced with positive thinking. Thoughts and old messages can be managed more constructively or even altered. An old dog can indeed learn new tricks.
I suggest you read more about neuroplasticity. Not only does it offer hope to human kind, but for today’s discussion, it validates the belief of everyone’s ability for change and growth. Is it easy? Of course, not. In fact, the older we get, the more difficult it is, but so isn’t learning a foreign language, musical instrument, golf, bridge, etc. Often, more people are willing to venture towards developing those skills rather than practicing new skills to communicate more effectively and view the world in a positive light. Although changing behavior is more arduous for some than others, if one practices and perseveres they can do it. As a hypnotherapist, neuroplasticity complements my work because I help people realize their own resources to alter behavior. As a speaker, I convey with passion and vigor the idea of lifelong malleability. In fact, if one changes their behavior from negative to positive, it cannot help but impact those around them. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could have more people identify their exquisite uniqueness and talents to live a more positive, fulfilling life and become unstuck from the toxicity which weighs them down. If they stick with this new way of thinking, they will indeed become and hopefully remain “unstuck.”
Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself. New York, NY: Penguin Books.
Neuroplasticity. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved September 19, 2016. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/neuroplasiticity