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I have one word for you today—plastics.   Actually, with apologies to the movie The Graduate, the word I really have for your today is neuroplasticity


We used to think that the brain stopped developing in adolescence, but more and more we are learning that the brain is active and changing throughout our lives in response to our behaviors. This ability to grow and change is neuroplasticity.

Neuroplasticity is a hopeful and exciting phenomenon. While stress and worry can fog our brain and make it harder to learn new things or make good decisions, there are things we can do to build up our brain and make it stronger. We can literally change the structure and functioning of our brain, making brain cells connect to each other in new ways (neural paths) and increasing the density and volume of brain tissue.

Watch this video to learn a little more.

Building neuroplasticity is a great way to fight the damaging effects of stress—and it can be easy and not take a lot of time.  Here are some suggestions for “brain exercises”

  • Expand your vocabulary—learn a new word every day
  • Do a task like brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand, or with your eyes shut
  • Listen to different music
  • Cook a new recipe
  • Dance—even silly dancing with the kids in the living room increases neural connections
  • Read fiction and use your imagination
  • Get enough sleep—sleep, especially after learning something, promotes the growth of dendrites that connect brain cells

Anything that is new and challenges you to do things a little differently can build your brain “muscles” and make you more resilient during times of stress. It will only take a couple of minutes and it can keep you thriving on the farm.

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