How to Develop the Neuroplasticity of Your Brain

This prescription for how to develop the neuroplasticity of your brain is from Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation for a patient named Jonathan. The advice given by Dr. Daniel J. Siegel, M. D., a professor of psychiatry at the University of California Los Angeles School of Medicine and the Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute.

Daniel Siegel has already appeared in several articles, such as Daniel Siegel Talks About Mindsight.

codeword-purpose“I reminded him that with regular exercise, a good diet, and sleep, he could set the foundation for promoting neuroplasticity. Jonathan and I made a verbal agreement that he would follow this “prescription” for health. It’s amazing how often these basics of brain health are ignored. Exercise is an underrated treatment—and now we know that aerobics not only releases the endorphins that can combat a down mood but also promotes the growth of the brain. Eating regularly and well, balancing the various food groups, and avoiding excess sugar and stimulants can help to reduce mood swings. And sleep, though in short supply and difficult at times to initiate for Jonathan, is a healer that can be approached in a systematic way. Sleep hygiene includes setting up a calming routine before bed. Minimizing caffeine or other stimulants once evening approaches, if not before; shutting off digital stimulation an hour or two before sleeping; and quiet activities such as taking a bath, listening to soothing music, or reading a book can all help the body as well as the mind to settle. With these brain hygiene basics in our contract, we could move into our specific efforts to promote integration.”
~ Dan Siegel from Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation

This quote has special significance to me in that it echos what I have been writing in my book, Healing with the Seven Principles of Mindfulness: How to Thrive and Succeed in a Complex Cancer System. Exercise, nutrition and sleep are covered in various parts of my book. It is important to realize that mental exercise, i. e., meditation, is just as important as physical exercise if you want to learn how to develop the neuroplasticity of your brain.

I particularly like the way Siegel wrote about sleep. His advice about turning off your computer and doing passive activities corresponds to what I am now doing for myself.

What are your sleep habits like? Do you get enough sleep? If not, why not? Maybe you should read the quote from Daniel Siegel again! 🙂

Books by Daniel Siegel

Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation

Daniel J. Siegel

This groundbreaking book, from one of the global innovators in the integration of brain science with psychotherapy, offers an extraordinary guide to the practice of “mindsight,” the potent skill that is the basis for both emotional and social intelligence. From anxiety to depression and feelings… [Read More…]

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