Step out of your box, your comfort zone and go beyond what’s easy. I teach and advocate this but at times find it difficult to do myself. We all prefer familiar and what doesn’t require much effort, but that WILL NOT strengthen our mind and memories. The comfy way doesn’t create the cognitive reserve which will help us to utilize our brains to their best capacity when older. It’s time to use not just the familiar, but stretch and grow into the unfamiliar. It’s time to use our whole brain!
Summertime is a time to reflect, relax and rejuvenate. Up until a bout a week ago, for me it was anything but these. It felt like a sprint and I was just trying to keep it all going and manage well. I fell into patterns and routines that were tried and true and would help me function well. There’s nothing wrong with this approach and it was beneficial for that time. However, now that patterns are changing and I have a few moments to breathe, it’s time for something new.
How we learn and take in information best varies for each of us. I like visual and auditory, prefer routines and organization. But there are also times to use my hands, be spontaneous and go with the flow. Summer is a great time to experiment and step out of our natural, preferable routines and try something new. When we do this, we activate parts of our brain that may be underutilized in our normal patterns of behavior. We use our whole brain not just the dominant part, which will be extremely important as we age.
Here’s a quick example-grab a pen, go ahead, right now-grab a pen.
Which hand did you grab it with? I bet it was with your dominant hand-the one you write with and do most things. Now grab that pen with the other hand-feels different doesn’t it? Now write your name with your non-dominant hand. Not so easy? Our left and right brains work differently, yet together. Patterns of behavior and our natural tendencies dictate which side becomes a bit more dominant. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only side we should use!
The more we use the non-dominant side of our bodies, it causes us to think differently. To write with our non-dominant hand we have to really think about how to make every letter. It’s like learning to write all over again. But we can do it, it just takes a different set of impulses to relay the information to that side of our body. Simply by using that other hand, we activate all kinds of brain cells in different ways. It’s similar to using different muscles-when we first use them, they can be sore and feel clumsy. But the more we use them, the easier the motion and the more we strengthen them.
Now we can take this same concept and apply it to how we manage our days, what we choose to do, and how we act and think. It can be as simple as picking up a pen with the other hand to changing our entire approach or outlook. Whatever we do to use the lesser utilized parts of our brain inevitably strengthens those areas. This allows us to use these areas more as we age. The use it or lose it adage totally applies here. Use these areas of your brain now to not lose them later!
So are you with me? Let’s use our whole brain starting this #SummerToRemember and step out, be a bit uncomfortable and start an adventure of using ALL of our brain. It will surely help us all make our summer moments memorable!