April 3, 2018 Resilience by DR. RICK HANSON, PH.D

Inner resources are like superpowers: they increase abilities, create greater success, improve quality of life, and make you more effective. Of all the inner resource superpowers at your disposal, the ability to learn is the most powerful because it allows you to cultivate and grow all of the other inner resources you desire. 
Each time you learn something, it creates a lasting change in the neural structure of your brain. Scientists call this phenomenon “Experience-Dependent Neuroplasticity.” When you learn something new, the neurons in your brain fire together and build a new path specific to what you have learned. 
These constant changes in the wiring of your brain allow you to have a powerful influence over your own mind. When you mindfully stay with and breathe into an experience, your neurons create stronger pathways that you can return to in the future with greater ease. For example, as you sit and meditate on the feeling of compassion, your neurons start to build a stronger pathway back to that feeling, rewiring your brain toward re-experiencing compassion.
Just as it is easier to drive somewhere without GPS once you pay attention along the route, staying with the experience of an inner resource you want to cultivate will help your mind find its way back there again. Canadian psychologist Donald Hebb explains: “Neurons that fire together wire together.” In other words, the more time you give your neurons to work together and build the path to your desired inner resource, the more readily you’ll be able to draw upon that resource in the future. 

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