Use it or lose it!

Like most of our body, the brain lives by the motto of “use it or lose it.” When it comes to preserving a skill, if you want to retain it, you have to maintain it. Similar to a person who is bored and desperately looking for something to do, neglected neurons usually find other purposes, and often quite rapidly. According to Nancy Kanwisher, a professor and researcher at MIT, “Neurons seem to ‘want’ input.”

This opportunistic tendency on the part of the brain often works in our favor. When a person goes blind, for example, the occipital lobe, the part of the brain that once handled visual stimuli, doesn’t simply wither away. Instead, it gets colonized by circuits used for processing sounds. Thus, it’s no coincidence that sight-impaired people often have more acute senses of hearing as well as the extraordinarily sophisticated tactile skills that are needed to differentiate the raised-dot letters used in Braille. Their plastic brains have made this adjustment.

The brain you have today is also a reflection of what you do on an everyday basis. Choose your habits wisely!