Many years ago it was believed that the map of the brain of adults is fixed. It is fairly fully formed by early childhood and if for some reason it got dented by traumatic experiences in childhood, that is how it would stay for the rest of their lives.
However in the early nineteenth century the term ‘Neuro-plasticity’ was introduced. ‘ Neuro’ representing the neurons or brain cells and ‘plastic’ meaning their moldable and changeable nature.
Researchers showed that after monkeys were taught to spin a wheel in a very specific way that required an acute sense of touch in a couple of fingers, their brains changed. The part of their brain that received signals from those particular fingers was found to have increased by four times.
What does this mean for us?
The Nobel laureate Dr Charles Sherrington described the brain as “an enchanted loom with millions of flashing shuttles that weave a dissolving pattern, always a meaningful one, though never an abiding one.” It is the weaver who changes the loom by the very act of weaving. Hence, an activity, repeated over and over can change the brain cells and the pathways formed by the connections between them.
This can apply to the process of healing too – by practicing healing habits, we can begin to alter the looms of our brain. It could be painting, singing, walking or anything else.
Writing everyday since Day 0 has been a healing habit. I don’t think about how good or bad I am at it. I just do it. It helps.