A stress ball can illustrate how the brain can change to enable it to self-repair and thinking to change. A person going through stress might grab a stress ball and squeeze it in their hand. When they remove their hand as they think through the stressful situation, they can build new neurological pathways. Just as they remove their hand and the ball moves back into shape, the brain may have developed a new pathway to solve a problem. Some call this characteristic as plasticity.


Many have said that we only use 30 percent of our brain, but that is not really the full truth. The brain has brain wave activity in which the neurons develop synapse to form a path for thinking activities or memories. These are constantly occurring, so it appears the brain is not being used, but that is its strength.

The brain deletes unused pathways, but that neurological pathway remains open for another thought pattern that develops. If all the synapse is in use, the brain will build a new pathway. This is why the brain in considered plastic.


As an organ, the brain is irreplaceable. We cannot imagine a brain transplant, because it holds our file of memories. A brain transplant would give us someone else’s memory and education. The brain is open to injury from force or chemical deficiency. If they brain cannot repair itself, than we have no way to correct problems.

With neuroplasticity, we can work to change toxic thought patterns. The method used to help someone find more productive thought patterns. With new reference points through questions, the person builds thought paths that bring the person to another result. This method of thought change goes by the term brain mapping and offers counselors in prisons a way to help criminals develop new ways to think about their behavior.

Sometimes strokes leave a person needing to relearn how to do everyday things because the brain receives damage in the stroke. When we retrain, we are sending the message around the damaged area. The brain provides its own means to repair.

The fact the brain appears unused is its strength. If we are born with set paths for each function that we learn in life, we would not be able to change and we would be born exactly as we will be from day one. We know that we change and grow as we age so we know that the brain does not remain stagnant.

When you grab the stress ball, think through and realize that maybe your brain is building a new synapse or just allowing you to travel through the present synapse. In addition, the brain is prepared to endure the challenges of your life.