I have been following Jim Kwik, who is now a world-renowned expert in memory, brain performance and accelerated learning. Termed as ‘The boy with the Broken Brain’ as a result of a childhood injury, Kwik created strategies to rebuild his brain and now coaches and trains clients such as Nike, Space X and Virgin in accelerated performance skills. He was on the set of the latest Avengers film coaching and supporting the actors through the learning of their lines.
Kwik speaks about enhancing your brain power with simple exercises that have been backed by research, one of which I would like to share with you.
Learning to juggle has been proven to change white matter in the brain. Having been taught that neuroplasticity essentially ends as we approach adulthood, it has been incredibly empowering to learn how new science in so many ways is now proving this wrong. The brain has the capacity to change, grow and adapt. Arguably our ability to adapt is the reason we have survived as a species.
London Taxi drivers are known for their encyclopaedic knowledge of the city including 25,000 streets of London and thousands of landmarks. ‘The Knowledge’ as it’s known can take 2-3 years to acquire. It was found that this incredibly difficult learning process caused structural changes in the brain with a resultant increase in nerve cells in the hippocampus, the area primarily responsible for memory.
Learning to juggle is a much simpler task and has been shown to alter the white matter of our brains, with fascinating evidence of the adult brain pruning and refining its wiring system to operate more efficiently as a direct result of this learned skill.
This capacity to rewire different neural circuits in an adult brain absolutely blew me away and more and more research is coming out to back this up. Always keen to try different ways to enhance my own brain capacity and support my parents in their mental health and longevity…I began a mini-experiment of my own.
I sat down with my parents discussed the research and explained to them the process of juggling as explained by Jim Kwik (process outlined later).
Two months on, going from just being able to throw one ball in the air and catching it, my incredible father has mastered juggling 3 BALLS and I am so thrilled every time he shows off his new skills; living daily proof before my eyes that he has expanded his brain capacity and rewired his brain.
My mum and I are works in progress. Mum is doing really well to juggle with 2 balls which is still a big leap forward… I’m, well let’s say I have a lot of catching up to do.
Want to change your brain with an easy exercise? Give it a go and share and have a competition with those around you to see who can get to juggle 3 balls and keep them in the air the longest.
PROCESS: Learning to Juggle
Equipment: 3 old socks each one rolled up into a ball
-I thought I’d use a few stones that I had to hand, bad idea on 2 counts. One they made a lot of noise constantly falling on the wooden floor and two…it really hurt when a stone accidentally landed on my head. You’ll know what I mean when you start this.
Location: Standing over your bed or a table or sitting down on your bed or floor
-I got very fed up of constantly and I mean constantly having to pick these socks off the floor. Much easier if I started off closer to the floor or near a surface at waist height.
Imagine a rectangular frame in front of you with your head in the middle
Hold one sock in your right hand and while your head is central follow the sock with your eyes as you gently throw it to the top left corner of this imaginary frame
And catch it as it falls straight down towards your open left hand.
Practice this daily trying to get a good height on the ball over your head as you throw it diagonally up and catch it in the other hand.
Now take a sock in each hand and as you toss one in the air and it reaches the top then throw the other one.
This takes practice but does come together with time
Now try with two socks in one hand and one in the other… this link may help you with added pictures and videos.
Let me know how you get on.
Remember each time you practice you are changing your brain and helping it rewire more effectively.
Happy Brain Training.