Exciting News: You Can Grow New Brain Cells! This is How

yoga studioI was watching a YouTube video this morning when I heard this simple, liberating sentence: “we now know that you can grow new brain cells.”

Unexpectedly, a feeling of relief and excitement washed over me. I’ve been on a high all day ever since hearing it.

But why?

I think it hit me so hard because it filled me with a new sense of optimism, opportunity, and hope. You mean to say that I haven’t ruined my brain completely? I’m not deteriorating, second by second, losing memories and capabilities with every glass of wine I drink and YouTube video I watch?

I had the same reaction as Camille Rowe, the woman who received the news on YouTube: “Thank goodness!

In the video Camille was speaking to Dr. Robert Bilder, Professor and Chief of Medical Psychology-Neuropsychology at UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience. He went on to explain what it takes to grow our new brain cells.

Dr. Bilder: “The best thing you can do for your brain is to exercise.”

Camille: “More than meditation?”

Dr. Bilder: “Yea so far, it may be that there’s just more evidence for exercise but part of that is driven just by increasing the oxygen flow to your brain…”

“It turns out one of the most reliable ways to grow new brain cells is through intensive physical activity. You can actually see neurons in brain regions change in size and volume as a result of engaging in these kinds of activities.”

yoga studio

As if you needed one more reason to exercise more.

It makes your body healthier, makes you feel happier, makes your skin clearer, helps you sleep better, you fit into your clothes better, and now – it makes your brain grow. Are you still looking for a reason to invest $100 a month in a gym membership?

The only reason I can say that is because I made it a January small goal of mine to finally join a yoga studio and although I feel thankful every time I’m on the mat, I still have to convince myself to go to class every time.

Watch the video

I found the video by British Vogue to actually be pretty interesting. Now, Dr. Bilder does go on to tout the benefits of crystals and their healing powers, which did make me do a mental *record scratch.* But here’s how he put it.

Dr. Bilder: The placebo effect is often given a bad name in science, but the bottom line is if we can get things done and make people feel better well then that’s fantastic. There really are no side effects… So if we can channel that belief that we’re gonna do better, I think we can make a lot of strides in psychology.

Camille: [Dr. Bilder] hit upon something interesting there.  This idea that, regardless of objective science, simply believing in something and acting accordingly can have a profound effect.

When you put it that way, I can advocate for the placebo effect. So if there’s something that you’re experimenting with in your journey to happiness and self fulfillment, whether it’s prayer or smudge sticks or whatever it is you do, then I absolutely believe in making it a priority and doing that every day. Even if there is no objective scientific evidence that it works – there are no bad side effects!


Photos by Good Vibes Yoga via The Design Files, video by British Vogue

Cristina V. Cleveland

Cristina V. Cleveland is a senior beauty editor based in Austin, TX. She has been exploring personal style and decor on Fuji Files since 2009. Her work as a writer and editor has appeared in publications like Refinery29, Birchbox, TradHome Magazine, To&From Magazine, Coco+Kelley, CamilleStyles and ads in Glamour, InStyle and Lucky.

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Rather than pushing up-to-the-minute trends and products, Fuji Files is about discovering a lasting, personal aesthetic and the journey to feeling your personal best. 

Fuji Files was started by Cristina Cleveland, the Managing Editor of NaturallyCurly, the largest hair and beauty content platform. Her work as a writer and editor has appeared in publications like Refinery29, Teen Vogue, CamilleStyles, Blavity, Birchbox, TradHome Magazine, Coco+Kelley, and ads in Glamour, InStyle and Lucky.