Experts have yet to determine the limits of the brain’s abilities. Some believe we may never fully understand them all. But evidence does support the existence of one of its most important processes: neuroplasticity.
“Neuroplasticity” refers to your brain’s ability to restructure or rewire itself when it recognizes the need for adaption. In other words, it can continue developing and changing throughout life.
For example, if brain trauma after a car accident affects your ability to speak, you haven’t necessarily lost this ability permanently. Therapy and rehabilitation can help your brain relearn this ability by repairing old pathways or creating new ones.
Neuroplasticity also seems to have promise as a driver of potential treatment for certain mental health conditions.
Experts believeTrusted Sourcethe negative thought patterns that occur with depression, for example, could result from interrupted or impaired neuroplasticity processes. Exercises that promote positive neuroplasticity, then, may help “rewrite” these patterns to improve well-being.
Rewiring your brain might sound pretty complicated, but it’s absolutely something you can do at home.
Yes, you read that right.
Debate over the potential benefits and risks of video games can get pretty contentious, but if you enjoy gaming, there’s some good news:
ResearchTrusted Sourcesuggests this hobby can have plenty of cognitive benefits.
The benefits associated with gaming include improvements in:
- motor coordination
- visual recognition and spatial navigation
- memory and reaction time
- reasoning, decision making, and problem-solving skills
- cooperation and team participation
In short, when you play video games, you teach your brain new skills. These effects can improve your gameplay, certainly, but they also carry over to the rest of your life:
- Learning to recover from failure in a game can help you get better at bouncing back from setbacks.
- Exploring different solutions to a task in a game can help enhance creative thinking.
Different games, different benefits
According to a
2019 reviewTrusted Source, different types of games may offer varying benefits:
- 3-D adventure games seemed to contribute to improvements in memory, problem-solving, and scene recognition.
- Puzzle games help boost problem-solving skills, brain connectivity, and spatial prediction.
- Rhythm gaming, like dance or exercise video games, can help improve visuospatial memory and attention.
These effects appear to kick in after about 16 hours of gameplay. This doesn’t mean you have to play for 16 hours at once, of course — this actually isn’t recommended.
But adding a few hours of weekly gameplay to your leisure time can be a great way to improve neuroplasticity.