Every Friday I am giving you a challenge in a lifestyle area that can make a difference to brain health.
Last week I gave you a Spirituality Challenge. You were supposed to write down your complaints and then reframe them into positive opportunities. If you can’t remember why you were challenged to do that, you can check out last week’s video here.
If you took the challenge, I am interested to hear how it went – so you can drop me a comment into the chat or message me on Facebook.
In today’s challenge, we are going to talk about mental activity and brain health.
Effort is Key
Have you ever been at a conference or listed to a presentation that really made you think? When you were learning something new, did you feel like your brain got a real workout?
You may have heard the Thomas Carlyle quote: “No pressure, no diamonds.”
I like to apply Carlyle’s quote to the mental area of brain health. It is the effort you make in learning or thinking that has the effect on your brain. If you are an amazing crossword puzzle completer, and crosswords are a breeze for you to complete, then you are no longer using them as a brain workout. You need to find things that are new and challenging to work your brain.
Today we are going to look at how you can bring the ‘new’ into your life.
Isidor Rabi, the Nobel prize winner in physics was once asked why he became a scientist. He attributed his choice to be a scientist to his mother. Unlike other mothers, she never asked him at the end of the school day: “What did you learn today?” Instead, she asked him: “Did you ask a good question today?“
By focusing on asking questions, his mother built into him a lifetime love of learning. Creating a feeling of wonder and curiosity sets the stage for a lifetime of learning. [For more ideas, check out our blog post Nurture a Sense of Wonder]
Research tells us that continuous learning is a key aspect of brain health. Putting the novel and complex into your life is very good for your brain.
Now that is easy to do when you are in school, because ideally that should be what your teacher does for you each day.
But what do you do when you are no longer in school?
Well luckily you have me to give you a brain challenge to help you put the novel and complex into your life.
The first thing I want you to do is to re-create the curiosity and wonder you felt about the world when you were a child.
Take 15 minutes and write down 50 questions you have about the world. Now that is a lot of questions but there is a lot to be curious about!
15 minutes is a relatively short period of time, so you must really let your mind go and not be restricted in asking ‘sensible’ questions. When your 15 minutes is up, pick just one of those questions and find the answer today. You can return to your list each day for a fresh and ‘curious’ look at the world. By the end of the week, you should be looking at the world in a new way as a ‘learning playground’ with a lot of interesting things to interact with.
So to recap:
15 minutes, 50 questions and then each day discover something new and a little complex, to wrap your mind around.
and if you prefer the spoken word, check out the video below.