INTENTION and the BRAIN
INTENTION and the BRAIN
“Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom” Francis Bacon
What is intention?
1. A thing intended; an aim or plan
2. An intention is an idea that you plan (intend) to carry out
3. Your goal, purpose, or aim is your intention. It’s something you mean to do, whether you pull it off or not.
4. An anticipated outcome that is intended or that guides your planned actions
5. An act of intending
6. A volition that you intend to carry out
7. Mind over matter
Neuroplasticity: The brain's ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life.
Neuroplasticity allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment.
Proponents of mindfulness meditation have known that meditation can actually cause physical changes in the brain. It can change the brain, through Neuroplasticity.
The more mindful we become and the more we meditate, the more our brain adjusts to this as our go to place, or default state. This affects flows outside of the meditation practitioners dedicated time, and it becomes a continuum throughout the day and not when one is actively meditating
“With meditation, your brain is effectively being rewired: As your feelings and thoughts morph toward a more pleasant outlook your brain is also transforming, making this way of thought more of a default… The more your brain changes from meditation, the more you react to everyday life with that same sense of calm, compassion, and awareness.” Jessica Cassity
Our brains get rid of old pathways with a process scientist called Synaptic Pruning
“Imagine your brain is a garden, except instead of growing flowers, fruits, and vegetables, you grow synaptic connections between neurons. These are the connections that neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and others travel across.
“Glial cells” are the gardeners of your brain—they act to speed up signals between certain neurons. But other glial cells are the waste removers, pulling up weeds, killing pests, raking up dead leaves. Your brain’s pruning gardeners are called “microglial cells.” They prune your synaptic connections. The question is, how do they know which ones to prune? Researchers are just starting to learn bout this mystery, but they do know that the synaptic connections that get used less get marked by a protein, C1q (as well as others). When the microglial cells detect that mark, they bond to the protein and destroy—or prune—the synapse. This is how your brain makes the physical space for you to build new and stronger connections so you can learn more.”
The more you use a neural pathway, the stronger it becomes. Its opposite is also true. I you don’t use it or use it less, it gets weaker. This is where intention comes to play. Once you identify a negative thought or belief system, create a new intention around it! The brain does still need time to do its clean up and get rid of the old synaptic energy pathways.
Our brains need time to prune a lot of those old connections away and build more streamlined, efficient pathways. Our brains do this clean out when we sleep—your brain cells shrink by up to 60% to create space for your glial gardeners to come in take away the waste and prune the synapses.
The fact is, you actually have some control over what your brain decides to delete while you sleep. It’s the synaptic connections you don’t use that get marked for recycling. The ones you do use are the ones that get watered and oxygenated. So be mindful of what you’re thinking about. Be aware of your thoughts. What you think about, you bring about. Reframe and intend to do better and be conscious of what you are focusing on. So be mindful of what you are mindful of. Replace the negative with something positive,
There is a saying in neuroscience that neurons that fire together wire together. This means the more you run a neuro-circuit in your brain, the stronger that circuit becomes. Visualization and meditation are key factors and both of these practices are hugely beneficial. Quieting the mind is essential to long-term mental health and well-being.
A 2013 study on mice published in the journal Brain, Structure and Function used differed types of noise and silence and monitored the effect the sound and silence had on the brains of the mice. The silence was intended to be the control in the study but what they found was surprising. The scientists discovered that when the mice were exposed to two hours of silence per day, they developed new cells in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a region of the brain associated with memory, emotion and learning.