A Monkey Can Do It (yes, that’s a challenge)

In 1996 at University of Texas Medical School at Houston in the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy there was a study conducted by Nudo RJ, Milliken GW, Jenkins WM, Merzenich MM. The crux of the study, as I understand it, was to track the changes in the brain of a monkey as the changes relate to motor skill training (yes that’s an over simplification – but you can read the whole thing by clicking here). In the book I am reading, The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work (affiliate link) the author, Shawn Achor, refers to the study as a famous study – And maybe it is but not in my world.

The crux of the study is that the monkeys, squirrel monkeys to be exact, were tasked with putting their hand in a small hole to retrieve food. In order to survive they were required to do this repetitive motion virtually all day. As they became proficient at the retrieval, their brains changed and enlarged in the areas related to motor skills.

London Taxi Drivers have large Hippocampus

In another study the brains of London cabbies were studied. This study showed that the portion of the brain which controls navigational skills was greatly enlarged in these individuals.

By now you are wondering why I am prattling on about these studies. I know it’s not the usual here’s a everyday story or two now relate it to your potential growth format we’re used to me following. But here’s the exciting part –

these studies show that our brains CAN change!

Let me repeat that, these studies show that our brains CAN change. Our brains can evolve right before our eyes (okay that may be a stretch) but change they can!

So why is that important?

In August of last year I wrote about Ways to Overcome Your Happiness DNA in that post I gave, what I still believe are, good tips for how to improve your outlook on life – Bla Bla Bla – and so forth and so on….

Here’s the really exciting part – ready – If you want to be happy –


Yep, just like learning to play the piano, or speak in public, or run faster! Practice is the key (I didn’t tell you THAT last August).

This week I have tested the theory (don’t you think I’m a cute guinea pig? don’t answer that).


My Happy Brain

On Sunday after reading about the study and having my little a-ha light bulb go off in my head, I began to test the theory. I sang (something I do when I’m happy), I acted silly (something I do when I’m happy) and I pretended to be happy. The result?

VOILA! I felt happier!

So, I am continuing to practice my happiness. I’m continuing to evolve my brain into a happier, or at least a more conducive and receptive to happiness, place. I’ve decided that if a monkey can evolve it’s brain, maybe, just maybe there is hope for me! <;and you :)>;

As usual, I invite you to join me on my journey!

(note for my regular readers, this is the post I intended to write on Monday but was too distracted to pen)

About Gayle

Gayle is a Social Media Enthusiast and Consultant with Biz Buzz Social Media Marketing; co-owner of Glynne's Soaps; a dalmatian rescuer; genealogist and member of the Daughters of the Revolution (DAR) and of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC); a Cubs Fanatic; hopeful bagpiper; purveyor of positive; and a curious seeker of life.
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