We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.
It was only a couple decades ago that it was considered medical fact that the brain didn’t change that much after childhood. And if parts of your brain were damaged, it was thought that the functions controlled by those areas were forever gone. However, people continued to defy this limiting perception of the brain and despite being told otherwise, they did indeed restore function. How could this be? Many speculated about the plasticity or the malleability of the brain for hundreds of years. But no one accepted this as universal theory. Current research has changed all that.
Neurons that Fire Together, Wire Together
We now know, without a shadow of a doubt, that every part of the brain is constantly changing and adapting in direct response to what it thinks, sees, and acts no matter how young or old you are. It is now known that the actual physical structure of brain and its functional aspects are highly dependent on experience. The brain can create new neuronal connections throughout its lifetime if it is asked to do so.
High quality experiences lead to a high quality, well organized, bigger and thicker brain. Substituting high quality experiences such as reading, using complex verbal and written language, having meaningful conversation with others, playing physical games, learning to play an instrument for lower quality moments like passive television watching, speaking or texting in short phrased monosyllabic messages, chat room conversations, and being sedentary are literally changing the size, shape, structure and therefore the function of the brain in an entire culture.
Therefore, not all neural plasticity is beneficial. The brain is driven by efficiency. If a bad program continues to run repeatedly, the brain simply becomes more efficient at running the bad program.
“We ‘own’ our central nervous system to a far greater degree than we imagine. We can get our hands on the steering wheel and deal with anxiety, depression, ADHD, and a range of other problems. Neurofeedback shows us how powerful we are.” -Symphony in the Brain, Jim Robbins
Yet, there is good news. We can change the brain at any moment in our lives. We can make better choices in how we think, how we speak, and how we act. However, once the brain gets locked into an imbalance in brainwaves, it starts firing the wrong waves at the wrong time in the wrong places, and it can be nearly impossible to remove this neurological dysregulation. It needs to be asked to stretch itself; it needs to be asked to make new neural connections to compensate and change. Neurofeedback and iLS do this brilliantly.
The brain is akin to a great symphony with each musician being the best in the world. Normally, it creates a sound of perfection beyond our understanding. Occasionally, however, the conductor is flustered and the timing of the players is off or confused. They are all still playing magnificently but perhaps not in synchronicity; and it sounds awful!
Neuromodulation is used to harness the power of neuroplasticity to train the brain to reorganize itself back into harmony.