Neuroplasticity and Intimacy- What You Need To Know
Brain science can tell you a lot about how to have a happy and healthy intimate relationship. But not many people are exposed to the research that may help them. Neuroplasticity is an important concept in neuropsychology. It is the idea that the brain can change throughout one's lifetime.
Remember the saying "you can't teach an old dog new tricks?"
We used to think that people's brains become rigid with time and that their ability to learn and change is reduced over time. However, we now know that this is not true. The brain is capable of changes through your entire lifetime. It's just that is often difficult making these changes. Although making changes to how we think and behave is hard, it is not impossible!
Change is hard. We all know that.
But why is it hard and how do we go about making changes in our lives? Change is hard because the brain likes to fall into old patterns of behaving. In neuropsychology they say, "the neurons that fire together, wire together." This means that if you have been thinking or behaving a certain way for a long time, it becomes an automatic habit and it can be hard to break. If you are used to feeling insecure when you get close to someone. Or if you start to get anxious and worry about your partner leaving you, or you automatically distance yourself when you notice that they are getting close, these are examples of automatic habits.
With neuroplasticity you can change these habits. It just takes time.
Each time you respond to a situation different than you would in the past, you are creating new neural connections. For example, if you are someone who tends to run away from a relationship when you feel close to them, when you force yourself to do the opposite, you are making new neural connections. If you catch yourself thinking the same thing you have always thought that leads you to run away from intimacy and you change your thinking, you are making new neural networks. These new neural networks need time to grow. So repetition is key.
If you have experienced traumatic relationships in the past and you feel anxious with intimacy, you can overcome this.
There is the possibility of change. Often therapy is an important aspect of making these changes. And while you are going to therapy and practicing thinking and behaving in new ways, you are not only changing your life, you are changing your brain. You are creating new neural networks and taking advantage of a lovely thing called neuroplasticity