Monday, October 1, 2012

Be kind to your mind

Rick Hanson, author of “Buddha’s brain”, has some fascinating things to say about brain neuroplasticity.

In this post on Hanson discusses neural plasticity - the concept that, contrary to the views of earlier generations, the brain is not permanently “hard wired” and that it changes with experience.  In brief - change the experiences and you change the brain. Few would find this a revelation.  But Hanson also suggests that changes in attitude can also change the brain / mind. It is fascinating work - and work with great significance for educators.

The post is structured around three key points:

Fact 1. As the brain changes, the mind changes, for better or for worse.
Fact 2. As the mind changes the brain changes.
Fact 3. You can use the mind to change the brain to change the mind for the better.

I’ll keep this post brief and simply encourage readers to follow this link to a more extensive discussion (which is still easily accessible and “blog” sized) of Hanson’s ideas. Both the text and the embedded video are well worth reflecting on over a cup of coffee.

Hanson suggests that we should be more mindful of our brain - and vice versa.  This may seem a little “on the fringe” for mainstream educators - but really it is our core function. We all know that the state of mind of our students impacts upon their learning.  If we can impact on their mental health in general terms we can help them become people with a positive outlook on life and their place in the world.  There is much of benefit here for students - and teachers;  some deliberate positive reflection would do much for the emotional and mental health of many teachers.


Rick Hanson offers a daily email of practices designed to assist using the mind to change the brain.  Subscription is via his website.

Buddha’s Brain cover via Google images:
Original source =

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