The One Thing You Need to Grow Your Adult Brain
Your fully developed adult brain is very different from that of a child or teenage brain.
The generation of new neurons in the adult brain was once thought to be impossible. New research has discovered that some neuron growth is possible in certain regions of the hippocampus in the adult brain. The evidence of neural stem cells in the adult brain is exciting news.
Perhaps the only thing holding your adult brain back from utilizing more neurological activity is something you are already familiar with. It is now shown that stress may be a factor deterring the production of new neurons. This is due to the fact that human survival depends upon reacting to stress in a way that ensures safety. Once safety and security is established, the brain not only has the time to ponder deeper logic, it apparently has the right chemical environment to increase brain development.
When you are sleep deprived, depressed, frightened or stressed out, you probably have observed how your own brain is affected. In contrast, when you are well rested, nourished, content, and confident in your security something strange happens...you get bored...itchy for something novel.. you get CURIOUS!
Your brain suddenly reminds you that there is more to life and more to learn. Your adult brain is waiting for you to give it the signal to learn more, function at a higher level and increase neural activity. You just have to stop stressing long enough to let that big brain do its job. Think about it...there have been times when you were trying to solve a dilemma and were so stressed and wrapped up in the problem you could not find a solution.
Until...you gave up, took a break, a nap, called it quits...Suddenly, it appeared to you out of nowhere it seemed..the solution was so clear, as if your brain in hibernation mode had done the work for you, made connections your conscious stressed out self could imagine. Your brain on stress is a very different brain than it is without stress. A brain on stress is adaptive to stress and works to function for your survival, which means everything else is put on hold. Your higher thinking and the answers to your life's questions will not happen when you are in survival mode.
The good news is that you made it past survival mode, and here you are. You are the curious life-long learner you were meant to be. Let periodic stress signal you to navigate a safer path, but do not let it become the only path. Don't fall into the trap of "never enough" thinking, where you are constantly stressed and never content with your life. Do less and be more. Integrate play and leisure activities into your schedule. Decrease work overload in areas that chronically stress you out . Don't commute another 50 miles to buy the boat you won't have time to use. Say no to overcommitment and to people who take too much from you. Most importantly, give yourself and your brain the one thing it needs to grow wiser, your PERMISSION.
Don't let stress arrest your development. You have the right to remain curious.