Posts Tagged ‘mental stimulation’

Factors that determine how much of your brain you use

April 23, 2016

I don’t think there is a single solution for maximizing how much of your brain you use. I think it’s a combination of many factors (there are many ways to influence the brain). Here are the key factors (I think) that determine how much of your brain you use:

  1. Exercise: how much exercise? What type of exercise? Frequency of exercise? Variability of exercise? Heavy or light? Endurance or strength? Balancing/coordination? Flexibility? Hormone-stimulating exercises? Walking? Running?
  2. Rest: how much sleep? Naps?
  3. Mental stimulation: reading? Writing? Debate? Games/puzzles?
  4. Food: fresh foods? Cooked or raw? Meat or no meat? Carbs or no carbs? Nutrient-dense? Fasting?
  5. Supplements: caffeine? Supplements that promote the flow of blood to the brain (e.g., Gingko Biloba)? Green tea? Black tea?
  6. Nature: how much time spent in a park? Frequency?
  7. Stress: no stress? Moderate amounts of stress? Massage? Foam roller? Body work?
  8. Music: how much? Classical or other?
  9. Social: lots of socializing? Lots of friends? A few close friends?
  10. Positive attitude: how to keep positive and motivated? Laughter? Smiling?
  11. Goals: short-term goals? Long-term goals?

One thing that I am fairly sure of is this: the body and brain adapt quickly. A strategy that works today for stimulating the brain will likely not work next week or next month. Constant change is crucial. Also, it seems that each human is unique. What works for me may not work for you.

How to put ourselves in situations where we are confronted with sights, smells, feelings, sounds, tastes that we have never experienced before

October 16, 2015

I have a theory that dementia, perhaps even Alzheimers, is caused by a lack of mental growth.

So what can be done to avoid getting dementia and Alzheimers? To answer that question we need look to those individuals with tremendous mental growth … we need to look to children.

Think about, say, a 3 year old child. Every day hundreds, perhaps thousands, of new information enters through all five senses: sight, smell, touch, hearing, and taste. Every day he experiences things that he has never experienced in his life.

Contrast with adults. There is probably not a single thing that we see, smell, touch, hear, or taste that we haven’t already experienced before, hundreds or thousands of times.

No new input = no mental growth.

No mental growth = stagnation (a.k.a. dementia, Alzheimers).

Can we be like a child again? That is, can we put ourselves in situations where we are confronted with sights, smells, feelings, sounds, tastes that we have never experienced before? And can we do that every day? (And still have a job)

A friend, somewhat jokingly suggested:

I don’t know anything about boating. If someone were to drop me into a boat in the middle of the ocean, then I would be forced to quickly learn about navigation, ocean currents, weather, and a bunch of other things very quickly. I’d probably die.

I’d prefer not to be in situations where I might die.

I want to hear your thoughts on this: how do you put yourself in absolutely new situations?