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I’m old: therefore my brain is old and other bull shit.

May 28, 2020, Author: Toni

Have you thought about what you think about your brain? Are you following the myths of the past? Or have you incorporated recent research about the brain into your daily life? “For years it was thought that the brain, once fully formed, was fixed until it deteriorated with age,” according to Norman Doidge, Psychiatrist and Best selling author of  The Brain That Changes Itself. 

Dr. Doidge reminds us that the brain changes daily, can heal itself, can learn from experience, and can change and re-organize itself.  How does the brain change? It changes through activity. Researchers realized this through an experiment with rats. Rats in a stimulating environment had a higher amount of neurotransmitters, had a more robust blood supply, and weighed more than the rats placed in duller environments. What does this mean? The building blocks of our brain, the cells, are called neurons. Neurons are in our brain and our nervous system. The cells/neurons communicate to all the systems of our body through chemical signals called  neurotransmitters.  In essence, neurotransmitters are messages or commands that the systems in our body need to know what to do.  The more messengers, the better the actions, and the more actions, the more waste the cells/neurons create. Think of the side of the highway after a holiday weekend. We see all sorts of garbage. We live off of the main road leading into a popular rafting area. After a weekend, we’re bound to see remnants of pool floats and inner tubes, lost flip flops, and pieces of a cooler that broke under the weight of all the picnic goods (beer). The blood supply removes the waste. A robust blood supply means, it’s working to rid the body of all the waste from the all the messages. In contrast, rats in a dull environment did not send a lot of messages and there was not much waste created. These rats may have decreased in blood supply because of inactivity.  The body would have risen to the occasion and also deteriorates with lack of use. Nerves atrophy and blood vessels shrink when not in use.

Deepak Chopra wrote, “Everything hinges on how you relate to your brain. By setting higher expectations, you enter a phase of higher functioning.” Here are some ideas on how to exercise your brain taken from the book, Super Brain, by Deepak Chopra and Rudoph E. Tanzi:

  • Challenge yourself by learning something new. There are plenty of online courses, webinars, Youtube videos, etc in which you can teach yourself and spend time practicing it.
  • Exercise and move daily. Learn a new behavior or refine your skill on an activity you already like.
  • Be open to exploring your environment and looking at it with new eyes. Be curious and open about the world around you.
  • Practice nature bathing. Go outside and notice. Notice the way the sunlight plays on objects before you. Notice the shadows it creates and what it highlights. Notice the colors and textures. Take your shoes off and notice how the ground feels under your feet. Notice what draws you in. My dear friend, Diana Gogan, Spiritual Coach and Reiki Master, is the best when it comes to re-connecting with your spirit in nature. While she doesn’t have a specific class coming, check out her events page periodically.  https://www.dianagogan.com/classes-retreats.
  • Go out and talk to strangers. Strike up a conversation when standing socially appropriate distance away during a pandemic.  Better yet, act like the most known people in your life are strangers. Be curious about them and ask them about events and how they experienced or what they think. You might be surprised.
  • Order new dishes and taste new spices. Explore other items on the menu to take home from your favorite restaurant or get carry out from a new restaurant with a new cuisine. Buy a new spice blend and experiment with it. Incorporate a healthy spice like turmeric or garlic into some of your favorite dishes.
  • Embrace the opinions of others with the goal of exploration and learning. Let go of persuading or countering when listening to someone with a different perspective than you. A wise friend and business coach, Pamela Slim, encouraged me to embrace diversity not just in the traditional way we think of diversity but in ideas. See what Pam has to say and check out her blog https://pamelaslim.com/blog/.
  • Meditate.
  • Practice altruism and helping others.
  • Practice mindfulness. See yourself doing what you are doing at any moment in your day. Be in touch with your thoughts and feelings at that moment. Connect with your inner consciousness and be curious.

toni b yoga’s mission is to explore and discover. When you’re ready; to explore yoga, your own heart when creating a vision for your life, your own peace through fragrance of essential oils, or rest/sleep through yoga nidra, then call. Until then, challenge your brain daily and know that Benjamin Franklin was 78 years old when he invented the light bulb.

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