A common misconception for a very long time has been that the brain stops developing once we reach adulthood. Many years ago, it was strongly believed by experts and neuroanatomists that once the brain reached a certain level of growth, it will remain there, incapable of further growth or regeneration. Most thought that we were born with all the brain cells we would ever have and that once those were gone, they were gone forever. While it is true that the vast majority of all brain cells are formed during the prenatal and infancy stages of development, this believe that brain cells stop growing after the infancy development stage, also known as neurogenesis, has been proven wrong.
Recent studies have now been able to show that the hippocampus, the region of the brain which is associated with emotional development, ability to learn and memory storage, can continue to create new cells as we grow older. This process is called ‘Adult Neurogenesis’. The brain being unable to generate new cells was long thought to be the main cause of certain neurological impairment and diseases, but with this new information on adult neurogenesis, the prognosis has changed.
The creation of new brain cells in the hippocampus can lead to better control over emotions, improvement in productivity, enhancement in learning, increase in memory and a stronger sense of creativity. The formation of new brain cells as an adult may seem like a random occurrence, but in reality, there is much we can do to promote the growth of new cells through our daily lifestyles.
There are a variety of outside factors that can lead to the onset of advanced neurogenesis in adults. Exercising on a regular basis and partaking in a nutritious, balanced diet can promote the generation of new hippocampus brain cells. As important as exercising is to the mind and body, the simple truth is that exercising has become the part neglected by most of us. Inserting a simple routine to exercise on a regular basis will bring about a lifetime of health and wellness benefits.
In addition, a thirst for knowledge aids the brain cells in continued growth throughout adulthood. Continuous learning can help to bolster the growth of new brain cells in the hippocampus. It is important to remember that the brain is a muscle, and for it to work at its best, it needs regular exercise and stimulation. Complacency of knowledge in adulthood is the enemy of progress and now we have the medical information to prove this assertion.
Keeping a low stress level can also be a boon to accelerated growth of brain cells during adulthood. High stress levels are a major roadblock to brain cells growing freely, which will eventually leads to an array of health issues. Stress has now gained a reputation for being a silent killer. Therefore, learning proper stress management techniques is essential to longevity. Being in a conducive and positive environment has also shown to have a favourable effect on adult stress levels.
Adult neurogenesis is now changing the way medical science approaches the generation of brain cells. What it should also change is your approach to adulthood. With so many options available to help encourage the growth of brain cells into old age, it would behoove adults to explore all of them and not take their brain cells for granted. Proper diet, regular exercise, stress management and continuous learning are the keys that stand between you and the continued growth of your brain cells to lead a long and fruitful life.
NLP & Hypnotherapy Trainer (ABNLP & ABH), Director of JIT & Company (Singapore)
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