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Neuroplasticity: Train Your Brain and Be Smarter

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Think faster.

Focus better.

Remember more.

Become a better driver.

All of these are research-backed benefits of the brain training methods designed by neuroscientist Michael Merzenich and his team at Brain HQ.

The best part is that all of these skills can be created by our own brains - in fact, that's exactly what our brains were designed to do!

It's called neuroplasticity and it's the science of how our brain changes, evolves and creates itself.

Dr. Merzenich has a impressive resume that includes writing the book Soft-Wired, delivering TED talks, and founding Brain HQ. Today, he's on the Optimal Performance Podcast to help us understand how we can use this science to improve our brains and live as the best version of ourselves.

"You should think of a real life as one in which you are continuously learning." - Dr. Michael Merzenich (Click To Tweet)

Neuroplasticity: How Your Brain Learns

Dr. Merzenich uses the example of learning to read to demonstrate neuroplasticity and the brain's ability to change and create itself.

We're not born with the ability to read. We don't have a reading brain before we learn to read. We must create it from scratch.

The reading brain must be developed step by step, from learning the alphabet, sounds, words, sentences, and into more complex abilities like context and comprehension.

We actually create the ability to use these visual and mental skills to be ability to glance at a paragraph and quickly understand the communication.

If we never learn to read, we don't have this reading brain.

As Dr. Merzenich explains, every time you learn a new skill at a refined level you create a controller in the machine (your brain) for that ability.

We do this continually in life. The more we do it, the powerful our brain the more complex a person we create.

In this episode of the Optimal Performance Podcast, Dr. Merzenich explains how to understand this process and leverage it to get the most out of our human experience.

That's what living optimal is all about! Enjoy.

What You'll Learn From Brain HQ's Michael Merzenich

  • The ONE THING we need to know about our brain and it's health
  • The myth of aging and age-related cognitive decline
  • Scientific differences between a train brained and an untrained brain
  • Brain HQ: Making Edlerly People Better Drivers - increases reaction times, mental processing, and lowers senior depression by 40% for up to 5 years
  • How much brain training do you really need?
  • The reading brain: the example of how your brain creates itself
  • Impact of acetylcholine depletion on cognitive performance - and how to make your brain more efficient with choline (the neurotransmitter responsible for mental processing speed)
  • Brain training = improving the machinery in your mental "factory": Neurotransmitter optimization = improving the efficiency and workers along the assembly line
  • As this machinery declines - the results are ultimately catastrophic (depression, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, etc)
  • Increased brain training & engagement linked to increased health and longevity
  • Brain training as performance enhancement for athletes
  • How to best engage your brain to help it change itself so you can increase your intelligence and mental performance
  • How socialization and social media change your brain
  • Using neuroplasticity training to rebuild people who are "socially busted" - helping abused or autistic children learn to make social connections
  • Creating new skills and opening up new opportunities for your life
  • "Crossword puzzles & Soduku's are not terribly useful"
  • What to learn for in brain-enhancing hobbies: action control & sensory perception
  • Fixed Mindset vs. Growth Mindset: Being a lifetime learner - subject to continuous growth.
    "You're sort of a darned fool in life not to be interested in continuous growth and improvement" (Click To Tweet)
  • Current government studies at Brain HQ to help teach people how to be better sleepers...lack of sleep = "slowly going to hell" (Click To Tweet)
  • Where you can get more of Dr. Michael Merzenich
  • Dr. Merzenich's Top 3 Tips to #LiveOptimal

Links, Resources, and Books from our guest or mentioned on the show:

Brain HQ Website <--- Get 25% OFF Brain HQ when you sign up through this link

Soft-Wired by Michael Merzenich

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck

Natural Stacks Products Designed To Support Optimal Health & Performance:

CILTEP: Our all-natural nootropic stack with ingredients shown to increase LTP (Long-term memory potentiation) [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

Dopamine Brain Food: As Dr. Merzenich said in this interview, dopamine is one of the "critical agents of change" in our brain's development

MagTech: Proven to enhance synapse density in as little as 2 weeks [6]

Vitamin D3: Vitamin D is a crucial hormone precursor involved in sleep, mood, new cell growth and bone formation [7, 8, 9, 10]

Dr. Merzenich's TED Talk

 

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