Scientists used to believe our brains didn’t change in adulthood, but new imaging techniques like these have taught us otherwise. We also know that activity can enhance the brain: walking, playing piano and juggling promotes growth in the brain (but the brain shrinks back if the activities are given up).
These connections help dispel the myth that the mind and brain are separate. The word Resilience Factors describes anything which improves brain function, whether it is psychological or biological in nature. Biological resilience factors include BDNF and bcl-2 (two molecules which enhance brain growth). Psychological resilience factors include:
Optimism, humor, gratitude, flexible thinking, acceptance, spirituality, charity or altruism, the ability to “step outside yourself,” supportive friends, good role models, and physical exercise.
—Chris Aiken, MD, Updated 12/22/2016