Many of you may focus daily on exercising the muscles of your body. You may walk, run, or workout with cardio machines, to strengthen your heart and lungs. You may use free weights or machines to strengthen and build muscles in your back, chest, legs, arms and shoulders. This is all good and necessary, but what about your brain?
I am glad to provide an answer to that question. I have spent many hours researching the brain’s ability to become stronger and to increase cognition. Cognition is defined as the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses.
Dr. Norman Doidge, a psychiatrist, researcher, author and faculty member at the University of Toronto, states, “Often, people think of childhood and young adulthood as a time of brain growth – the young person constantly learns new things, embarks on new adventures, shows an inquisitive and explorative spirit. Conversely, older adulthood is often seen as a time of cognitive decline, with people becoming more forgetful, less inclined to seek new experiences, more ‘set in their ways.’ But what recent research has shown is that under the right circumstances, the power of the brain plasticity can help adults minds grow.”
As indicated in the above statement, the brain is flexible and can be train to grow at any age. After 50 many people do not challenge their brain, some have the same hobbies, the same job or profession, and they live in the same city. Their lives frequently become extremely routinized.” Formal education has typically been completed. Consequently, the brain atrophies, just as your muscles in your body atrophies, if you don’t use them you will lose them. This is also very true for your brain. The brain can be train to make you a healthier, happier and more productive person.
Brain training can take many forms: Reading, new hobbies, mediation, physical exercise, eat well and get sufficient sleep. The brain can be trained best through focus, the main thing that imped our cognition is distraction. Distractions are power drains on the brain’s ability to focus and one on the best ways to get more from your mind is to give yourself the gift of uninterrupted stretches of time.
I personally use biblical mediation as an “exercise” to build my spirit, and improve my cognition. Mediation is most beneficial if focused is maintained for at least 30 minutes, more if your schedule permits. Earl Miller, a professor of neuroscience at Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT states, “Think of your mind as a muscle that can be strengthened with exercise. But the latest science suggests that “exercise doesn’t mean app-based brain games or activities, but prolonged uninterrupted concentration, Miller says, put simply, a distracted brain is a dumb brain.
To quote a favorite Bible verse of mine: “Study this Book of Instructions continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.”
To your health and happiness
Dot High-Steed is a health and life coach, who has over 25 years of experience in health/wellness, business and education.
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