The Superpower That Helps You Flex Your Brain — And 5 Ways To Use It

Your brain is more adaptable than you realize.

woman leaning against airstream camper with a wild space image in the background DeanDrobot + Canva Creative Studio / shutterstock 

You probably saw this buzzword, "neuroplasticity," and wondered what is all the fuss about. Neuroplasticity, it turns out, is one of the most important aspects of brain health and keeping not just our bodies, but our minds young and vibrant.

Without neuroplasticity, we lose our ability to think creatively and modify our thinking, to grow and change. Pretty important stuff.

Neuroplasticity, in layman’s terms, is the ability of the brain to change and grow in response to both internal and external life experiences, such as a new job or after a stroke, by creating new neurons and building new networks in the brain. 


It is the ability of the brain to adapt, to modify and learn new skills, habits and beliefs, so we can continue to meet the ever-changing needs in our lives and continue to thrive. Without neuroplasticity, we can get stuck in unhealthy thought patterns and continue with destructive behavior. 

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Here are five ways neuroplasticity benefits you and some suggestions for enhancing it

1. It helps you think more flexibly 

Being able to adjust our thoughts and manage changes in our lives is paramount to being happy.

When we have rigid ideas about how we think things should go and need to be, we create frustration and unhappiness in our experience.

An easy way to practice this: 

Being able to shift gears, such as when our favorite Starbucks drink is unavailable, or a business meeting did not go as we had expected, is the key to finding happiness and contentment. A flexible brain is able to say, "Oh well, I tried a new drink that I didn’t think I liked but is pretty good, or I have to adjust my strategy with these customers to meet their needs, I didn’t quite get it at the meeting."


2. It helps stir your creative juices

We all love the idea of feeling that creative flow and coming up with new and novel ideas for problems or experiencing those “aha” moments. Neuroplasticity enhances our creativity and helps us tap into that wonderful flow.

Creativity helps us improve our job skills, enhance our relationships and help us experience the joy of expressing ourselves.

An easy way to practice this: 

Get out your paint brushes and colored pencils. Allow yourself to draw without any intention or idea in mind. It can simply be colors blended together or scribbles.

The point is to just allow a different expression of ourselves, other than just verbal communication. Maybe you are inspired to dance, put on some music and let yourself dance freely! Whatever it is, do something you don't normally do in order to help you "flex" new parts of your mind.


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3. It jars your memory and enhances learning

No surprise here, yes, neuroplasticity helps us with this as well and encourages neurogenesis, the creation of new neurons and new brain cells. Chronic stress and anxiety deplete our ability to form new synapses and neurons. 

Learning new skills in therapy such as mindfulness or DBT skills can be hindered without neuroplasticity. 

Easy ways to start practicing this: 

Have you wanted to get back into learning Spanish, Italian or maybe Russian? Well sign up for a class, or make it even easier, download an app like Duolingo. Even a short time, like 15-30 minutes a day, can make a difference and increase neuroplasticity.


Do you still have your flute or clarinet in the back of your closet? Pull it out and start playing again, anytime we learn something knew and go outside our comfort zone, we challenge our brain and increase neuroplasticity. 

4. It opens your mind to new thought patterns

A common characteristic of depression is deeply entrenched negative beliefs and thoughts about the self and the world. Increased neuroplasticity aids the brain in learning new adaptive, healthier thoughts about oneself and aids us in developing an open mindset, and learning new patterns of thinking.

Neuroplasticity helps us change dysfunctional thought patterns, and aids us in our receptivity to change.

An easy way to start practicing this: 


Make a plan to handle an emotional situation/problem differently next time it arises, thinking through how that might feel and how the outcome and your reactions might be different. Then consciously make the effort to enact those changes in your reactions. 

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5. It increases your mental and emotional resiliency 

With increased synaptic connections and communication between the cells, the brain is able to bounce back more and adjust to setbacks and challenges in life. With age, stress, and certain disorders such as depression, anxiety and PTSD, our resilience is compromised and we don’t see other possibilities.

It’s as if we are stuck in a hole, with a ladder to the right of us, but we can’t see the ladder and have tunnel vision. Neuroplasticity helps us shift our field of vision and change our mindset


An easy way to practice this:

Write a list of times when you have successfully managed challenges such as juggling, children and a new job, challenging emotional states that you were able to overcome, and remind yourself daily of these things. Positive self-talk, such as this is temporary, you handled challenges before well, this too shall pass, all remind the brain that it can manage and you have the ability to deal with difficult emotions and situations.

Yeah, You got this!!



An additional method for enhancing your neuroplasticity 

Neuroplasticity can be enhanced with activities such as brain games, puzzles, learning a new language, exercise and meditation. It also can be enhanced with the therapeutic benefit of psychedelics. Psychedelics can be very beneficial in enhancing and increasing neuroplasticity in the brain.

In particular, studies have shown classic psychedelics boost neuroplasticity and neurogenesis, the growth of new brain cells, helping our brains rewire connections and grow, and enhancing our ability to make positive changes in our life, critical to our mental health. 

Clients who struggle with resistant depression, anxiety, PTSD, OCD, and other mental health disorders, are finding relief and some clients no longer meet the criteria for their disorder. Neuroplasticity is at the core of our ability to change our lives. The benefits of psychedelic-assisted therapy can last for months to years in a relatively short time.


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Monica Ramunda, LPC, LCMHC, is the founder of Sacred Healing Journeys. She offers Midlife Women’s retreats focused on helping women reinvent and thrive, as well as support for clients interested in exploring Ketamine-Assisted Therapy and psychedelic therapy