Keeping the Brain Engaged

27 July 2022

The brain is a wonderful organ but still an incredible mystery. Studies are ongoing but there are still so many things we don’t understand or haven’t fully traced. One of the interesting areas is how the brain builds new pathways. When involved in trauma, like a car crash, some people lose the ability to speak, not because of any damage but from the emotional distress. It is similar to the depression some people experience at the loss of a loved one, or the lethargy that some experience after the loss of a job, retirement, or empty nest and how it can be overcome.

One of the abilities is called neuroplasticity or the ability for the brain to forge new pathways or rewire itself. The experts hope that with further understanding it can help with various types of mental illnesses and their treatment options.

Read on to discover some things you can do on your own without a prescription or doctor’s visit. Even if you are not experiencing difficulties, some of them sound pretty fun.

Video Games

There are many opionions surrounding video games, but if you like the hobby, there are some positives like:

  • Motor skills and coordination
  • Visual recognition
  • Reasoning and problem solving
  • Memory
  • Reaction time

Different games seem to promote different skills. Puzzles develop critical and creative thinking. Recovering from a failed video game can spill over into realizing you can bounce back from other issues.

New Language

Researchers studied a group that were learning a new language and one of the conclusions was that it increased the gray matter in the brain. The gray matter not only deals with language but attention, memory, emotions, and motor functions. These are all important factors especially for seniors who can decline rapidly. Experts think it can help slow down symptoms of dementia.

Besides gray matter, the brain holds white matter. This is the substance that helps connect different parts of the brain and transmit information between them. New language skills helped the white matter with improvements in vocabulary, critical thinking, comprehension, and multitasking.

Creative Arts

Music therapy has been around for a long time. It not only elevates the mood but it helps with memory and requires concentration. Assisted living facilities will often include a session with “oldies” music to help their residents.

Bob Ross taught us all about the simplicity of putting paint on a canvas. It also fosters forgiveness because of all the “happy little accidents” that turned out just fine in the final product. YouTube has a lot to offer. You don’t need to invest too much money in supplies. Check out Walmart in the craft area. It can help release your brain from current problems that can lead to more creative solutions.

The bottom line is to try something out of your ordinary realm. It can be as simple as shopping at a different grocery store to make your brain work differently. Make a list of “field trips” to shops that sell items you would not ordinarily be interested in. Take a guided tour of your local museum or garden. Craft stores frequently offer or can refer you to classes or watch videos to find new techniques for things you already enjoy.

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