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”.

I’m also adding his new memoir, The Voluntourist, to my reading list.


amy said...

great post and hilarious commentary John.

Linda G. Richard said...

May God Bless you and bring you full healing. I joined your blog because my best friend, sister really has a Meningioma and I am trying to learn about them. She has been fighting this for a few years. She has been treated very badly and ignored by doctors, in fact they ignored her thinking she was only having headaches so long that she became blind before they would do anything!! I was looking for information about whether she may get her sight back after surgery when I found your blog. I will tell her and her husband about it. Thankfully she has a wonderful supportive husband to help her through this.. :-)

I wish you the best! Yikes you have a captcha and my vision stinks. We will see if you get this comment. LOL!