Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Better cognitive health - escape your comfort zone
A recent article in the AARP magazine starts with the headline, “whatever scares you, do it. Now.”
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been scared a lot over the past year or so. A brain tumor, a post-surgery bone infection, ineffective antibiotics and poor Lumosity scores have all scared the snot out of me at one time or another.
But, I read a bit more of Ken Budd’s article and found that what he really meant was push yourself out of your routine and try something new, embrace variety.
The article goes onto say that our brains crave challenges and that trying something new can improve out “neurocognitive scaffolding”. I don’t know what that is, but it sounds like something I need.
The part of the article I found absolutely fascinating is his comments about the risks of not taking risks: “Risk-taking diminishes once we hit age 50, the journal Psychology and Aging recently reported — so if you need incentive, consider this: Boredom kills. Too much tedium can increase health dangers such as smoking and drinking too much, and it can shorten your life span, according to researchers at University College London. Which means, yes, you can literally be bored to death.”
Now there's a lot of ways to die, but the thought of my wife or son or daughter having to call up friends and family and say, while dabbing a tear, "Yes, he died of boredom" sounds so embarrassing that, if I wasn't already dead, I'd die of embarrassment.
As an Appalachian Service Project volunteer, I admire his commitment to “…volunteering around the world and plunging myself into sometimes scary, always fulfilling experiences”.
Here’s a link to his article: http://www.aarp.org/home-family/friends-family/info-05-2012/new-adventure-escape-comfort-zone.html
I’m also adding his new memoir, The Voluntourist, to my reading list.