Monday, January 30, 2012

February: I Intend to Stimulate My Brain

In January I focused on being positive and erasing negativity. As I move into February, I will be adding to my year of intentional thinking by seeking to stimulate my brain. As I did last month, I will begin my day with this intention and have it follow me throughout the day.

I am purposefully seeking to stimulate my brain because mental stimulation improves brain function. Perhaps you work crossword or Sudoku puzzles. Whether these have become a fun daily habit or your own type of puzzle meditation, you are stimulating your brain. I, on the other hand, do not work puzzles on a regular basis. So, from time to time, I like to force my brain to memorize something. Yes, just for the heck of it.

As we get older, or as we add more to our to-do lists, we may find our ability to recall something a bit more challenging. I call it “brain drain.” I’ve had this particular affliction off and on all my life. So at this point, I know it is not just about getting older or lack of hormones. While I make an effort to free up my to-do list and allow space in my brain, I find I still lack the recall I would like to have, and would appreciate recollection in a timelier manner.

A few years back, while studying for an exam, I realized the more I tried to memorize, the easier my recall was. After the exam, I began memorizing poems, songs, prayers, you name it and I would memorize it. It’s been awhile since I’ve done this and February seems like a good time to shake up those brain cells a bit. After all, the brain should be exercised like the rest of your body⎯it’s a use it or lose it proposition.

I’ll start February off with Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer. I think we all know a line or two from this famous prayer but I am determined to memorize it. Next up⎯the Gettysburg Address or the chronological order of the United States presidents, and perhaps a few French words or phrases thrown in. Why, why not? In January I focused on being positive. I'll carry the positive into February by positively stimulating my brain cells. I want to restore my faith in my brain, I want to stop “brain drain.” I don’t know about you, but I would rather use my brain than lose it.

God grant me the serenity...
Four score and seven years ago...
to accept the things I cannot change...

Okay, I have a bit of work to do. How about you⎯what would be fun for you to memorize to stimulate those tired brain cells?

Brain Cells photo courtesy of GE Healthcare