So, what’s with this Phoenix in The Phoenix Mind?
Here’s the Meaning in Myth and in Science.
The Phoenix is a mythological creature who is a bird-like creature of the element of fire. They are made of flames, or have the plumage of flame-colours.
At the end of their life-cycle, which is usually considered to be at least 100-years, they burn to cinder; turning into a pile of ash.
From this ash, comes another Phoenix. Different sources hold different views on the “who” this is; the same phoenix re-born or a new phoenix from the old material.
Whichever is true; the Phoenix has been redefined.
The Phoenix in Our Brain
There’s a phenomenon in brain science right now called ‘plasticity’, or ‘long-term-potentiation’.
The brain is comprised of many neuronal strings, or wires; called neurons. These are cells which can fire energy along their string to the next neuron.
As we grow, experience and learn, these wires become stronger or become weaker. Like a muscle, the more a neuron is firing, the stronger and more efficient it becomes. It has more energy along it so it gets wider, puts in shortcuts and has many more exits at the end so the energy won’t have to queue.
This is how the brain works.
Strength and Atrophy
When we act, neurons fire. Thinking, speaking, moving our arms or eyes, or hearing – neurons in each cortex fire energy towards the next neuron in the string. So millions of neurons create little strings from the motor cortex to the muscles of the arm.
The more you move the arm, the stronger and more efficient these tubes become.
The less we use a skill, the thinner and weaker the wire becomes, until it dies and a little protein comes and cuts off the dead branch. However, a new sapling can grow there again; whether you’re 5 or 95, your brain can create new neurons and get them up to that efficient stage again.
Neuro-plasticity in Practise
So here at The Phoenix Mind, I’m focused on those thoughts, actions and experiences which will keep the neurons you want to use a lot strong and any actions or habits you dislike; help you to ignore those neurons or create a fork in the road so they have a different outcome.
We’re here to grow the strong neurons of compassion, learning, communication and positive connotations. We can equally re-wire bad habits and negative thoughts to connect with happy and productive experiences instead.
Three Instant Actions to Support Neuronal Growth:
- Move your body. In new ways. Put your arms above your head. Now touch your lower back.
- Mix up your senses. Read out loud. Do simple mathematics while dancing or re-name different letters with emotional words.
- Learn another language. Sign language, Esperanto or the language of the brain: using words like “cognitive” “phenomena” and “imaging”. If you don’t have the resources; Make a Language Up. Seriously. Talk it with your child or teach your dog to fetch/sit to the command; assign meanings to strings of syllables.
For more information on general practises to improve your mind and body, sign up to the library letter and gain access to my free guide to well-being.
Got any tips to share or questions? Want to ask if X activity will help? Want more details on plasticity? Share in the comments!
– Rose –