Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Brain Salad Surgery

The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes
WILIAM JAMES (1842-1910)

What if everything you think you know about the way your brain functions is flawed?

What if your brain is less like a computer or a machine and more like an extremely flexible piece of plastic?

What if the "power of positive thinking" has solid scientific relevance that connects to the metaphorical salad of thoughts you toss around each day?

And if those thoughts aren't getting you to where you want to be in your relationships or career, is it possible your brain can change itself?

For more than four centuries, mainstream medicine and science has maintained brain anatomy was fixed. We are who we are because of 'hardwiring' that took place in childhood, shaping our future thoughts, actions and habitual behaviours. Based on assumptions that the brain could not change, you could then conclude human nature was also fixed and 'hardwired'.

A Canadian doctor has emerged to challenge these assumptions.

"We used to see the brain as functioning like a machine with parts," says Toronto psychiatrist Dr. Norman Doidge.

"We thought each part performed one function, in one part of the brain, and if a part was damaged there was nothing you could do about it. The brain could not grow new parts, circuits were hard-wired and brain function was genetically predetermined, so we were all stuck with the mental performance we had".

Dr. Doidge has simplified complex science into clear, vivid stories that reveal remarkable changes the brain can make and in turn, transform the people who carry them around. His book, "The Brain That Changes Itself", offers great insight not only to those with neurological disorders, but for anyone intrigued to discover how to learn, change and reach their full potential.

In his book, Dr. Doidge reveals how the plastic nature of the mind affects not only mental mind maps in trauma but in daily thoughts and activities. But, your brain is so malleable it is also quite vulnerable to its surroundings and toxic messages from media, parents, peers and other people who feel compelled to dump misery into your mind. According to Doidge, "The brain is like a snowy hill and if you keep skiing down the same route you can create ruts - precisely because snow is pliable. Worrying is a rut. When you catch yourself worrying, change the channel to a healthier activity. Eventually those worry paths will diminish".

The implications of these discoveries about a more plasticized, malleable brain are profound.

What if the motivational speakers and new age spiritualists have been right all along?

That apart from a neurological disorder, the only real disability in life is attitudinal?

In other words, if every thought is a seed, planting crab apples makes it scientifically impossible to harvest orchards brimming with the juicy, red McIntosh.

Will you take care to sow only those thoughts you want to take root?

Could you allow your brain to blossom in a new way?

"In bookstores, the science aisle generally lies well away from the self-help section, with hard reality on one set of shelves and wishful thinking on the other. But Norman Doidge's fascinating synopsis of the current revolution in neuroscience straddles this gap: the age-old distinction between the brain and the mind is crumbling fast as the power of positive thinking finally gains scientific credibility ... Mind-bending, miracle-making, reality-busting stuff with implications for all human beings, not to mention human culture, human learning and human history"

1 comment:

Mark L. Fox said...

I have nver seen this before: when you click on the video in this post it says "this video is not available in your country"

Huh ?