Plastic Brain

Our brain is a complex machine, an incredibly smart one that tries to maximise our quality of life, by making us more adaptive, learning from our mistakes and mastering the skills we use the most.⁣⁣
‘Plasticity’ refers to the ability of transforming itself according to needs, whether they are ours or our environment’s. Our brain is at its most plastic during our development, where new information and skills can – more – easily be learned. ⁣⁣

Does this mean plasticity is a good thing? No. ⁣⁣
Is it a bad thing? Neither.⁣⁣

Let’s try to understand why. If our brain changes in relation to circumstances, the way it changes will depend on the circumstances. ⁣
If it experiences a lot of stress, it will readily implement an emergency system that will make us alert most of the time, to prepare for the adversities we are experiencing. (If a child is psychologically or physically abused on a daily basis, their brain will prepare for it, trading the ability to self-soothe with the one of noticing signals of danger, for example).⁣⁣
“Being less responsive to environmental change” means, in a situation like this, undergoing constant danger without the means to handle it. ⁣
The same characteristic that makes some people more “vulnerable” to turn traumatic events into depression, is also the one that facilitates them when a change occurs around them. Those same people that develop an emergency system more easily (thus being more anxious) are also the ones who benefit more from a positive upbringing.⁣⁣

So, we could call resilient those who resist the adversities around them without being irreversibly affected by them, while they are also the ones who will introject less of the positive elements in their life.⁣⁣
We happen to live in an era where resisting is considered more functional than integrating, but let’s not get fooled: we need both!⁣⁣

(The facts I have summarised above are a simplified version of what we study in psychobiology books, there are many more nuances to this, and these differences are not rigid ones, plasticity can be improved and resilience too.)⁣⁣

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