When we are very young – say two or three years old – we learn at an incredible pace. We are learning, laughing and making tens of thousands of new neural pathways in our brains every day. If you start a child learning different languages before the age of five, they are able to manage four or five languages quite naturally.
When we look at child prodigies, such as pianists, violinists, mathematicians, we can clearly see that the parents involved have noted and supported those learning processes each and every day.
The brain is a muscle. The more you ask of it, the more you work it, and the more you expose it to stable stimulus, the more capable and active it becomes.
While we lose brain cells with age, we can gain better problem solving and reasoning abilities which help us to make better decisions around learning.
If you don’t use your mind actively, like any under-used organ it begins to lose its capacity to be efficient and effective.
If you go the the gym twice week to keep your body in shape, think how putting your mind through its paces daily helps it perform at a high level.
You interact with the outside world in two modes: active and passive.
When you are active you are highly engaged with the frontal cortex and reasoning parts of the brain. You are in problem solving and solution focused mode. At this time you are prepared to challenge your own knowledge and adjust what you know to accommodate new learnings, knowledge and perspectives.
When you are in passive mode you are experiencing the outside world through the impressions of your five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. But you are not outwardly engaging in problem solving. You may be laying down new knowledge and neural networks in your brain, but you are not necessarily challenging your knowledge and perspectives.
The second kind of passive experiencing mode is when you are even less engaged such as when you are watching the television or a film.
Think about it – what were the last 10 TV programs or films you saw? Can you actually remember them? Because most people can’t because the brain was largely passive and not fully engaging.
So what can you do to train your brain and mind?
Do you problem solve every day?
Are you using your brain creatively?
Are you thinking proactively and not just reactively?
Are you challenging your mental abilities daily?
Are you daily expanding your knowledge?
All these activities proactively engage your brain and mind in a developmental way, so not only is your brain renewing physically by creating new neural pathways but you are also building the stamina of your thinking processes. The old saying of ‘Use it or lose it’ really does apply.
So will all this activity make you manic?
Well, you need to balance your brain activities so it experiences all five levels of activity (High beta, beta, alpha, theta, delta).
Hypnosis teaches you to use all the different levels of brain activity from highly active through to deeply relaxed, without being too much in the high beta state which is the alarm state.
The most active thinking people also need to learn to counter that by being able to switch to being the most relaxed thinker whenever you need.
Being able to make those switches when you need to keeps your mind active and capable throughout your life.