Soft-Wired: How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Can Change Your Life by Michael Merzenich, PhD, offers a wealth of stories and scientific information on how brain plasticity holds the key to slowing the signs of aging.
I was interested in this book as a means to learn more about rewiring the brain after chemical injury. But reading Dr. Merzenich’s comprehensive history of brain plasticity and how he helped pioneer this field, I learned how it can be applied by everyone and anyone to help them recover from health issues of most any kind, and to slow the effects of aging… to make us all stronger, more capable, competent and even more intelligent.
“Plasticity is all about getting the most out of each brain, for the potential betterment of each human life, at any time throughout that life,” writes Dr. Merzenich.
I wish my mother had tried BrainHQ exercises before she succumbed to most of the symptoms we all associate with an aging person — poor memory, difficulty understanding conversations when people speak quickly or there’s a lot of background noise, trouble falling asleep at night and then waking up during the day, slow reactions (she recently hit a tree with her car, unable to move her foot off the gas pedal quickly enough). You may laugh, but I’m smiling, because Dr. Merzenich says it’s never too late to rewire your brain, and I’m going to make sure both she and I put in time every day doing the necessary exercises to make our brains more alert, more focused, more fit.
I’ve already shared the simple suggestions that Dr. Merzenich says that he follows and that everyone else can too, such as to initiate some new activity or experience every day, to look for positive little surprises and take delight in them, go out of your way to make new friends, try a new social or cultural event and try to figure out why all those other people like it so much (yes, I’m going to attend my first football game), look in the mirror and do a self-assessment and correct whatever you see that needs correcting, and continuously enrich your life on both small and larger scales.
Dr. Merzenich also touches on important information on how pain is not only in the body but centered in the brain, and how mind-body healing can be of use in chronic pain, a virtual epidemic today. He recommends NOT sitting down all day, but mindfully moving around as much as possible, paying attention to the feelings of your movements and the sights and sounds in your environment.
At the end of the book, you have a direct web link to the Posit Science website, where you can try the brain rewiring exercises (BrainHQ program) that Dr. Merzenich designed.
Here’s to a healthier body and brain!
Becca Chopra, author of Balance Your Chakras, Balance Your Life, Chakra Secrets and The Chakra Diaries