Tip: This section may improve your brain, and help someone you love grow older and wiser gracefully!
In 1978 my good friend, a top science communicator and creative person extraordinaire, introduced me to the elite blossoming world of Neuroscience at Salk Institute and University of California San Diego in La Jolla. My passion for brain science, consciousness studies and mind-body potential grows yearly with age, necessity and desire to keep my memory sharp and the creative juices flowing.
Every day new research is published about brain plasticity and why it is important to exercise mind and brain as well as body. Mastering a new skill definitely improves your quality of life. You can improve your memory, sharpen your attention, improve spatial reasoning, reflexes and peripheral vision. For several years I would roll out of bed in the morning, do some Qigong, go to the gym or take a brisk walk, do my morning rituals and then go online for a brain training workout. I believed I had a “lazy memory “and I wanted to change that. It takes time and discipline but I continue to see the benefits. In the past, medical professionals believed that a brain was hard-wired and could not be healed or changed in any way. Today neuroplasticity recognizes that a brain is capable of reorganizing, adapting to a variety of experiences, and that it will continue to develop new meaningful internal connections throughout a person’s life.
Brain training is an exercise, do it, do it regularly, and see the results! Each of us has the ability, power and means to change his or her life for the better. There are some excellent books written about these transformational adaptations and the following are a few of my favorites. With the internet and advanced technology, ways to exercise and improve your brain and mind are readily available online. Plus help for those who have suffered a brain injury. I admire the work of Dr. Michael Merzenich. One of the founders of Posit Science and the online site: Brain HQ. He is also the author of Soft-Wired: How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Can Change Your Life”. Brain HQ also offers a free trial subscription.
Norman Doidge, M.D., author of another influential breakthrough book, “The Brain That Changes Itself” and “The Brain’s Way of Healing” is pioneering new frontiers in brain science. If this interests you, watch Dr. Doidge’s documentary, Changing Your Mind, about harnessing the brain’s plasticity to treat medical disorders like schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress. Lumosity also offers online brain training with trial subscriptions. I have played some of these games online while a grandchild sat on my lap at the controls. The young ones also like to play some of these interactive games. My HAPPY neuron, is a new (2015) online site for brain training. One of my medical heroes, Oliver Sachs, M.D. is a prolific author of more than ten inspiring books. His book, “Awakenings”, was made into a film. “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for A Hat” opened my eyes to his compassionate insight of complicated medical conditions. If you love listening to music, you may be inspired to read “Musicophilia” and discover how the music you listen to affects your brain. New books will continue to be posted, many referred to in future Blogs too. Every day new online learning games are being developed. Like learning to play a piano or becoming a Qigong master, doing anything well requires time, discipline and lots of practice. Modern human beings are masters of adaptation, and our brain may be the director of how we humans adapt and how these changes affect the quality and choices of our lives. There are other intriguing discoveries about Epigenetics, in brief how our internal (meaning thoughts, feeling, foods) and external (pollutants, stressors)environments affect health and gene expression…ah Grasshopper.
CHALLENGE: Try brain training for at least three months then check your improvement. Do you notice quicker response to visual clues? Has your memory, your ability to remember more, improved?
Courtesy: Emma Seppala, PhD at www.emmaseppala.com