I fractured a bone in my left elbow whilst hiking on Friday. Slipped on a rock – and down I went. It was painful!
One of the very sweet friends I was visiting advised me to look for the silver lining on the cloud. It was easy. It was my left elbow and I’m very definitely left-handed.
“Easy” I announced. “It will be brilliant for my neuroplasticity!”
She looked at me as if I was slightly mad and talking Double Dutch at one and the same time!
But I knew that having to clean my teeth right-handed, dress right-handed, wash my hair with just the one hand, put on make-up with just the one hand, pick things up with my right hand and so on was going to be challenging – and if it’s challenging it’s brilliant for our brains.
In this mad dash modern world in which we live, we naturally take the path of least resistance every time. We do things the way we’ve always done them, we follow the same routes to places, we even sit in the same place in meetings.
Yet the path of least resistance is quite literally the neural pathway of least resistance. We follow the same old neural pathways getting more and more habituated or to put it another way more and more stuck in our old ways.
Doing things differently builds new neural pathways, creates new connections in the brain and hence increases our neuroplasticity. Our brain grows and develops rather than stagnating.
So set yourself a challenge for August. Try and do one thing differently every day. Swap hands, change routes, mix up your routine, try something new – and let me know how you get on.
Oh – and by the way. You don’t need to break any bones to do it!