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Stretch and strengthen your mind with reading – just be sure to read different books in different genres!
This morning I read a great article on Everyday Health (one of my favorite websites, and one that I visit daily, sometimes several times a day!). The article was called “Longevity: 10 Ways to Add Years to Your Life.” After finishing here, I hope you’ll go read the entire article – there’s a wealth of information.
One of the 10 ways involved mental fitness, and as a mental fitness evangelista (I totally just made that word up… evangelist just sounded so “male”) I perked right up. I actually haven’t even finished all 10 yet, I was THAT anxious to share this great advice and information with you.
A study funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) found that people who most often participated in information-processing activities, such as listening to the radio, reading newspapers, playing puzzle games, and visiting museums were 47% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who participated least often in these same activities. The reason? “If you sit around and don’t exercise a muscle, it atrophies — and the same goes for the brain,” says Dr. Kimford Meador, MD, fellow with the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) and professor of neurology at the University of Florida. So get your brain working by engaging in mental stimuli that you enjoy. Mind exercises can be anything from reading a good novel to playing cards to working through crossword or Sudoku puzzles. – From Everyday Health
If I were to condense all of this wonderful advice into a sentence, I’d go with, “Be an active participant in the world around you, always in tune with and in touch with what’s going on.” When people cut themselves off from other’s and shut out the outside world, they put themselves in grave mental danger. If you don’t use a muscle, you lose a muscle. Use your brain in many and varied ways each and every day.
- If you think you’re social enough, become MORE social.
- If you think you read enough, read MORE.
- If you think you seek out fresh, new information often enough, learn MORE.
- If you think you challenge your brain enough, challenge it MORE.
If you want to keep your mind strong and your brain fit, you have to be a proactive participant. PLEASE don’t just read mental fitness advice, heed mental fitness advice.
A final reminder: Don’t keep reading the same types of things over and over. Don’t keep seeing the same genres of movies over and over. Growth never occurs in ruts and ruts never occur in growth. They’re enemies! Branch out, spread your mental wings, and challenge yourself in new ways. Pick a subject this week that you know ZERO about and read everything you can get your hands on about it. Google the subject and/or go to the library. Make your goal to know as much as you possibly can about this subject within 7 days.
Here are a few ideas:
- fly fishing
- Mammoth Cave
- making pie crusts
- sea turtles
- Mary Todd Lincoln
- Walt Disney
- Audrey Hepburn
- dream analysis
- How to make homemade pasta
- polar bears
- The Everglades
- How to attract hummingbirds to your yard
- The Kentucky Derby
- Energy Drinks: Pros and Cons
- Napoleon Hill
- Nat Turner
If you’re feeling particularly feisty (I like that), choose more than one area of interest. Twice the fun, twice the benefit. Stretch your mind and challenge it on a daily basis.
Make each moment count double,
Dig in the past! Challenge your mind by reading older books. Reading Shakespeare, the Bible, and books written prior to 1960 will strengthen your mind in ways you never dreamed possible. Your mind will work double-time as it’s challenged to bring the words and meanings of the past into the present. The Bible and Shakespeare are positively beautiful and I’d recommend them even if I didn’t know they were great for you mentally.