Combining Neuroplasticity and Positive Psychology in Clinical Practice to Increase Positive Development across the Lifespan, was the title of my Conversation Hour and Poster presentations at the 3rd World Congress on Positive Psychology. This focus on personal empowerment at any age was greatly appreciated by this group of more than 1200 attendees from 54 countries!
As I emphasized there, we need a science-based discussion by informed scientists to increase awareness of benefits of integrating brain-plasticity based strategies into positive psychology to add dignity to aging, emphasize science-based ways to maximize human potential, and enhance evolving human intelligence with vigorous longevity.
We can afford people unprecedented hope for Positive Development across the Lifespan when including neuroplastic-based interventions. Neuroplastic gains with 50% increased lifespan were demonstrated when rats were held and spoken to in the research lab of Marian Diamond. These lab rats were “enriching heredity” throughout the human equivalent of 90 years. Marian Diamond is one of several researchers who believe humans can achieve similar gains at any age.
Increasingly studies in humans find improvements in brain chemistry, architecture and performance associated with lifestyle choices. Using touch, talk, education and other positive psychology techniques clinicians can enhance this trend toward better functioning, greater well-being and heightened motivation to make healthy lifestyle choices that can drive brain plasticity in a positive direction.
The gains of this integrative approach can exceed the sum of the component parts when interventions target brain sites considered most vulnerable to the so-called “normal decline of aging”. Thomas Insel’s call to facilitate the profound shift in how we promote mental health is urgent with the global trend of humans living longer.
Stay tuned for further details on Brain Power 2020 and contemplating how we could enhance it.