Cognitive science is the study of the brain mechanisms responsible for an individual’s thoughts, moods, decisions, and actions. Cognition refers to everything that takes place in an individual’s brain that helps him understand the world around him. To accomplish such an understanding involves mental processes such as concentration, memory, conceptualization, creativity, and emotions.
In his book The New Brain, Dr. Richard Restak uses the term “plasticity of the new brain” to refer to the capacity of the brain to transform itself. This is an incredibly exciting notion, and one that has endless positive ramifications.
Until recently, it was generally believed that the brain’s plasticity peaked out at young adulthood, if not earlier. However, researchers now believe that the brain is subject to transformation throughout life, which is why Restak appropriately refers to it as a “lifetime work in progress.”
Thus, whether you want to learn a foreign language, how to play tennis, or the techniques for getting healthy and maintaining a healthy weight, you first have to make changes in your brain. And the key to making such changes is repetition.
Repetition makes repeated impressions on your brain, but there’s a catch: If the repetitions are wrong (e.g., doing crunches the wrong way), you are not going to excel at the skill you have targeted. From whence comes the worn-out but true observation that only an insane person would continue to repeat the same thing over and over again and expect different results.
Which brings yet another question to the fore: If you continue to get negative results, should you invoke persistence? Or is it more sane just to give up and move on to something else? The answer is that you definitely should be persistent, but, based on what you have learned through your experiences, you should try a different methodology.
I know this first hand because I tried every known diet and “get skinny” program I could find with little to no success. It wasn’t until I coupled a healthy weight loss program WITH unlimited support (something I should have understood a lot sooner as I am a therapist and support is everything for success) that I finally saw success at getting my weight under control.
In other words, my brain’s plasticity made it possible for me to transform my view of the world. It was a cerebral transformation that made it possible for me to recognize that there is more to weight loss and health than pills, shots, powders, exercising, or any of the other short-cuts I was trying to take. Once I redirected my energy, I found success.