If you’ve read this blog (or my Self Help Blog) very long, you probably already know that I home schooled my three daughters from Kindergarten through 12th grade. Right from the start, I taught them the importance of learning something new every day. Beginning in Kindergarten, at bedtime, each had to tell me three new things they’d learned that day. Naturally, most nights saw them listing off more than just three – but they never went under.
It’s an approach that we should take to each day as well.
What would happen to our muscles if they didn’t get daily exercise? Imagine, for a minute, that you were confined to bed for months – unable to walk. Your leg muscles would become so weak that, when you were able to leave the bed, they would struggle to even support you, let alone walk or run.
Our brains need stimulation and activity to function as well. In fact, as we age, our brains need more activity – not less. Yet, the average person between the ages of 35 – 65 begin to stimulate and challenge their minds less. They become comfortable with what they’ve already learned in life, and frankly don’t see the need to expand on this knowledge.
Can you say, “Danger zone!?”
As a person gets older, they lose some muscle – that’s why it’s so important to exercise, physically. In addition, as a person ages, their brain loses its ability to withstand neurological damage that results from aging. This neurological damage can bring about memory loss and slow down the thought process.
However, we can give our brains the “muscle” it needs to fight off this decline by doing the following:
- We need to eat a healthy diet – rich in vegetables, fruit, and fish.
- We need to exercise daily. Walking is an activity that all experts agree on, whether your goal is weight loss, better heart health, increased lung capacity, or sharper minds.
- We need to challenge our minds every single day. We should never become lax or content in our knowledge.
There are many important facets to eating and being healthy. One of the most important aspects is not overdoing alcohol consumption. Alcohol Rehab can help you get healthy and on track.
I’ve spent a few weeks focusing on the diet aspect and when it comes to the physical aspect, little more can be written than MOVE THAT BODY!
So, let’s shift our attention to, arguably, the most important of the group: Challenging our minds. Let’s make a pact, right now. We will start learning at least three new things each and every day. Then we should hold ourselves accountable each evening by asking, “What three things have I learned today?” What should you do on an evening when you can only name 2? Get out of bed and find #3, that’s what!
Each night of the week, try to remember each night before’s 3 as well. By the end of the week, coming up with the 21 may be tough, but your brain will absolutely thrive on the challenge.
Of course, it goes without saying, if the three a day and 21 a week isn’t challenging enough – increase the number!
This is my own, personal approach. I’m a huge history buff. Huge, huge, huge. So it’s no surprise that one of the areas I challenge myself daily is in one of my favorite subjects: History. I also love spelling, Grammar, and literature – so I also try to learn something new every day in this area as well. The following are some of my favorite websites when I’m on an educational scavenger hunt:
Links for American History Buffs
I have each of the above historical websites bookmarked and visit them regularly. I love to take a period of history and delve into it as deeply as I can. I try to find out everything I can about each individual, each place, each battle, etc. I’m trying to branch out from my favorite periods of history (named above!) and explore the World Wars, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Rome, World History, early settlers, etc.
I actually started this year with every intention of learning all that I could about China and it’s fascinating history. Somehow, though, I wound up sitting at the table with John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Paul Revere. All they wanted to talk about was Valley Forge, the Boston Tea Party, and the Declaration of Independence (Mr. Jefferson’s favorite subject). I was outnumbered, so I gave in. Confucius said he’d wait for me.
I also have committed myself to learn more about geography. Places simply
While reading, period, is great for our minds – reading more challenging material is even better. It really doesn’t get more challenging that Shakespeare or the classics, does it? A funny thing will happen along the way, however – you’ll fall head over heels in love with them and wonder how you ever survived without them. Shakespeare is beautiful and fascinating. His stories make today’s television shows and movies pale in comparison. Big time.
I’m going to begin giving little DID YOU KNOW? nuggets at the end of my posts as well as a quote. Memorizing the facts and quotes will, hopefully, prove to be a delicious little mental workout.
Tomorrow, I’ll post some other great educational websites – covering science, math, foreign language (personally, I’m brushing up on my Spanish, then I want to move along to Italian), geography, and world history.
Just remember, your education should never, ever stop. Just because most of us are no longer in a structured school any longer doesn’t mean we can’t learn just as much as we did when we were. In fact, we should be able to learn more! Our brain cells won’t know what hit them – but they’ll feel better than they’ve felt in years.
Make each moment count double,
DID YOU KNOW?
When George Washington died (in 1799), Martha Washington was so overcome with grief that she was unable to attend his funeral. She reportedly burned all of their letters to one another to protect their privacy. However, it appears a few which had been kept in her desk were spared.
Martha closed off their bedroom as well as George Washington’s study to guard herself from painful memories. She, herself, died in 1802 from a “severe fever.”
Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company. – George Washington