“My left brain is doing the best job it can with the information it has to work with. I need to remember, however, that there are enormous gaps between what I know and what I think I know.” – Jill Bolte Taylor
Cognition noun: The mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses.
Before we get to the fun stuff that is referred to as cognitive brain exercises, let’s take a moment and take a look at some other important information about that wonderful brain, which contains a darker area often called “gray matter”.
Everything we do as humans always comes back to the starting point….the brain. Many of the activities we perform are done in a cognitive manner and when there is a disruption, such as medical issues, aging, drugs and alcohol, then a type of malfunction, or short circuit begins to appear. For some, it can become a permanent situation, but as we know from modern day science, when it comes to aging, there are methods that can be implemented in simple ways to bring us back to center, so to speak.
Feeding The Brain – An insatiable Appetite
Knowledge and food go together very well when it comes to getting satisfaction in this case. Learning can become an addiction and at the same time, it is a natural process of the very nature of our survival. The human thirst for new and improved ways of thinking will never cease, but, without proper diet and exercise (mental & physical) it will only stall if not cease.
When taking a look at foods that feed the brain the best, one begins to notice that there is an absence of sugary, meaty as well as many “man made” concoctions. What is seen are natural, healthy, plant based foods to supplement the entire body and with several types that target the brain. Eat wisely and it will take care of you.
The unfortunate reality in today’s society is that the younger generations somewhere along the line have taken a notion that many plant based essential brain foods are not good, taste bad, not sugary enough…excuses! Eventually, they will realize that the fast food years just does not equate well with their abilities or lack of, with regard to health and the cognitive brain.
Left Hemisphere – Right Hemisphere
On the left, speech & language, mathematical and logic reasoning. On the right, face recognition, visual-spatial comprehension & intuitive/holistic operations.
Science has known for decades (as well as most older adults) that the younger generations do not use both hemispheres of the brain as they are still in their forming years regarding learned knowledge, whether through schooling or life lessons. It is just a fact of life. It is not until one advances more in age that the differences become very apparent simply for the mere fact that we, sexagenarians, just know more. It has been a lifetime of learning that now is ready to emerge to help some of those younger generations to survive.
But the brain is fragile and requires much attention to keep it functioning on all cylinders.
First Breath – Final Breath of Life
From the moment one takes their first breath, the learning begins. Some may argue that this process starts even earlier and it is not the intention of this post to prove or to deny their thinking. Cognitive brain exercises therefore must be the first program inserted into the brain, since once you take that first breath, you have learned that it is good and want a second breath and so on, for the rest of your life. It is a learned thing. Want more, breathe more!
As we age, being able to recall faces, moments, stories, and places, can become a challenge to some and a boon to others. Staying active and fit surely helps but you have to keep that brain active…constantly.
Why do so many people begin to flourish when they reach the age of 60 +? They have spent a majority of their lives learning, accumulating, and sorting and now realize that it is time to start to put it all into action. They begin to write, start businesses, travel, relax and plainly, begin to be happy in life. Ah, the golden years.
Some of the best treasures in life come in the form of memories and in writings. The material stuff is nothing more than a link to those memories that trigger your brain. See, you are conditioned already and you will pass it on to others later in life.
Running Up The Downhill – Re-evaluating life
Midlife Crisis! What is it and how do we deal with it? To best answer on the definition, here is a link to a well-known source for you to look at, Midlife Crisis. As you can see, it may not be a crisis after all but a re-evaluation of one’s life events at which point the dot’s begin to connect from the left hemisphere to the right.
Somewhere in this portion of life, one begins to realize that they have achieved a mastery of sorts. Our data centers are full of useful information that is now ready to be divulged to those that will follow us for generations to come. This is a comfort level to many and serves as a gateway to stimulate the brain even further to continue gathering and expanding. The brain is not full after all. The more we know, the more we realize how much we don’t know….yet!
Are you curious? You should be for the mere fact that life has not ended and that there is so much more to learn and experience. When in our youths, we had no control of emotional and intellectual growth, but now, we are able to steer that ship in the desired direction to include our emotional attachments, or detachments there of.
These are the years when a new-look on life takes form (I call it my second childhood) and look less to the negative emotions in exchange for more positive stimuli’s. They say older adults are happier, smile more and all around have more fun in life. Must be true!
Workout Time – Connect The Dots
Challenge yourself to expand on your mastery of life’s learned skills or to start new ones. In order to keep cognitive you have to constantly stay in a forward motion. Data suggests that positive brain activities (crossword puzzles, learning new math skills, etc…) can lower the risk of dementia by as much as 47%, when done several times per week. That’s nearly half your brain.
Keep it fit and in turn, it will keep you healthier and happy in the later years. Your pragmatic creativity gets stronger with age and keeping those neurons fired up will give better assimilation and connectivity to thinking outside of the box.
Think about putting it all together by using a method called autobiographical writing and story telling. It is more prevalent than first thought as more and more sexagenarians are jumping on the bandwagon to give those whippersnappers of youth a run for their money.
Day Is Done – Get Some Rest
When I first started doing some research for this post, thoughts of physical and mental cognitive brain exercises to me, meant finding and writing only about games. There are thousands up thousands of them all around us and that includes workout programs for all those that are mobile enough to do so. They have their places and are more than welcomed into life as we individually see fit, but nowhere, was I prepared to realize the depth of this particular area of growing up. It is certainly one that is worthy of returning to for further investigation in the future.
As you can see, staying fit, eating healthy and foremost, keeping our brains active has rich and fulfilling impacts on not only just one person, but many who will be following in our footsteps, and it is our duty to educate them with memories from our past and thoughts from our souls.
Although the brain cannot be replaced, other parts of the body can be and they are called Replacement Parts.
That’s my show!