Neuroscience states that neurons which fire together also wire together. It is a clear explanation that our brain has an ability to delete stuff which we don’t need anymore.
Also, practice plays an important role here. The more your practice doing something, the better you become. Thus, the more you run the neuro-circuit in your head, the stronger it becomes.
However, today scientists have also found out that as it is important to strengthen neural connections, it is also important to know how to get rid of those old connections. Scientists call this process “synaptic pruning”.
In order to understand better how it works, imagine that your brain is a garden. Instead of growing flowers, you grow synaptic neural connections. Serotonin, dopamine and other neurotransmitters go through these connections.
Things which take care of your brain garden are called glial cells. They are in charge of transmitting signals to particular neurons. But there is also another type of glial cells which get rid of waste from your brain. These pruning gardeners are called microglial cells. But the question arises how do these gardeners know which connections to get rid of.
Scientists have found out that synaptic connections which are not used anymore are marked by a protein C1q. When this protein is found, microglial cells find it and destroy the synapse. In this way, your brain gets rid of old information in order to leave space for new knowledge.
You probably have had a feeling that when you learn something new, you feel as if your head is full of things. When you create new connections in your brain, they become inefficient ad hoc connections. Thus, your brain has to analyze these connections in order to get rid of some and leave others. This process happens when we are sleeping.
The synapses are pruned in this way: when we sleep, our cells shrink by 60 percent in order for brain gardeners to get rid of the unnecessary information. This is why sometimes we wake up in the middle of the night and have an ability to think clearer. Therefore, it is recommended to take daily naps in order to wake up with a fresh head. When you don’t sleep enough, you can’t think clearly as this process of getting rid of waste out of your brain slows down.
There are some ways through which you can control what your brain gets rid of. Synaptic connections which your brain doesn’t use anymore get marked in order to delete them, whereas connections which are in use get nourished. Thus, you should be careful about what you think.
If you spend more time guessing how your favorite TV show will end and not focusing on your work, you can imagine which synaptic connections your brain will get rid of. Sure, it is out of your control to manage what happens during your day, but what you can do is to control how you let those experiences affect you.
Instead of focusing on negative things, you should pay more attention to positivity. You should clear your mind, meditate and carefully choose what stuff you feed your brain.