The human brain controls the mental status that guides our physical functions. Although the body is amazingly orchestrated to navigate various crises or abrupt changes that alter these processes, certain behaviors can impact the way the brain works in guiding our lives.
A traumatic event linked to grief or pain can have a dramatic impact on our brains. We might become numb as thinking slows down or generally stops. Some people become agitated and physically aggressive to act out their emotions. Although most emotional impacts are temporary, some can have a lasting effect that conditions the brain to think in new ways and to adopt alternative behaviors for activities like pain management, problem solving, etc.
Becoming addicted to a substance like drugs or alcohol as well as a behavior like gambling or shopping can cause the brain to respond differently to various stimuli. For example, certain parts of a gambler’s brain will light up with interest or desire when a gambling opportunity or reminder is encountered. The same can happen when a person confronts stimuli of any kind related to his or her strong connection to something.
Experiencing a new culture, whether an overseas land with a different language and unfamiliar customs or a jail cell that is a completely new experience, can cause changes in the brain as it tries to navigate the new information about your surroundings. Language, customs, and laws are just a few of the social and cultural adaptations that must be made, some of which can be difficult to manage.
Learning new information that has a lasting impact can change the way the mind processes ideas and concepts. For example, with respect to personal education on an informal or experiential level, a long-time bachelor with limited views on romance and marriage might begin to blossom after meeting someone attractive with whom would like to pursue a meaningful relationship that could possibly lead to marriage. A school diploma or college degree is likely to influence a person’s beliefs in important social systems like family, education, employment, and related ideas. The brain may respond to stimuli about these areas in new ways subsequent to personal experience or formal education.
Many things we do in life change the way we think. Simply living for several decades is likely to impact our thoughts and beliefs. However, conditioning like those above often cause the brain to change the way it handles important information.