It's startling to think about how we've got a spaceship billions of miles away rendezvousing with Pluto, yet here on Earth there are major aspects of our own anatomy that we're almost completely ignorant about. We've climbed Everest, sent men to the moon, and invented the Internet — but we still don't know how our brains work. The positive outlook is that many health, science, and research specialists believe we're on the precipice of some major neuroscientific breakthroughs.

One example of a recent discovery with major implications is our further understanding of neuroplasticity. Simply put, we used to think our brain was what it was — unchangeable, unalterable. We were stuck with what nature gave us. In actuality, our brains are like plastic. We can alter neurochemistry to change beliefs, thoughts processes, emotions, etc. You are the architect of your brain. You also have the power to act against dangerous impulses such as addiction. The therapeutic possibilities here are endless.

Below, broken up into two parts, is a terrific infographic detailing the essence of what we know about neuroplasticity and how it works. It was created by the folks at Alta Mira, a San Francisco-area rehabilitation and recovery center. 

Part One

Part Two

Want a high-res, unedited version of the image above? Your wish is my command.

(h/t @DaniMansfield)

Want to learn more about neuroplasticity? Comedian and mental health advocate Ruby Wax is an expert. Honestly! She has a master's from Oxford! She's also a Big Think expert and a very entertaining resource on the ways we can modify the makings of our own brains:

Top photo credit: Jezper / Shutterstock