As neuroscience advances, it becomes very clear that our brains define who we are, at least in the ways that are visible to ourselves and others. Each thought, sensation, and movement is mediated by our brain and its peripheral nerves. In the past, it was thought that our brain development was pretty much completed by age 21 or so. Well, keep reading!
New discoveries now show that our brains are in a continuous, subtle “sculpting” mode that responds to what we experience and do every moment of every day. We are continuously becoming… always changing in interaction to our environments, external and internal, throughout our lives!
This idea can be kind of unsettling…when are we “done”? Well, if by “done” you mean “no longer changing”, the answer is never. We are always growing, changing, and becoming, as long as we are living. The happy news is that a lot of that changing is influenced by things that we can actively choose to control. We can choose what we spend our time doing every day, and those patterns of activity will affect our brains’ structure and performance. Quality activity yields healthier, more capable brains. Healthier, more capable brains allow us to engage in richer, more enjoyable and productive activity… it’s a cycle.
Sitting on the sofa and watching TV can be a nice way to take a break and get some rest, but too much of this will result in reduced brain development, which will in turn reduce who you become. The more time spent in doing activities that are important to you, and that provide a just-right challenge, the smarter and more capable you will become. Time to get up and start doing!