Stay in the Land of Wonder
As children, we are encouraged to use our imaginations, stay curious and continuously learn. So why do we stop? Stimulating your mind should always be a priority, whether it’s through learning a new skill, practicing a hobby, or challenging yourself with games and puzzles. Leveling up with cognitive training can help train specific aspects of cognition like memory, attention, reasoning and strategic thinking.
It’s not easy to find the motivation to adapt healthy lifestyle choices, which is why we connected with Dr. Dev Ashish, a Neuropsychologist at Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, and asked him for some advice to overcome a few common objections.
I don’t know where to start.
"It can feel overwhelming to start something new. Start small with things you enjoy but find things that challenge you. If you love Sudoku or crosswords, for example, make sure you push yourself trying more advanced levels as you go along. Doing the same activity at the same skill level isn’t exercising your brain like learning new things or a harder level would. You’ll be surprised what you can accomplish over time if you start today.”
Computers and technology make me anxious.
“Breaking things down and starting small without judgement is the key. Starting with one new program and then practicing it well before learning another will be helpful. Rome was not built in a day, and neither is a new skill.”
Using my imagination or pretending just feels silly.
“Go easy on yourself. There is nothing wrong with allowing the imagination to wander, it is when we are self-critical that we limit the possibilities of exploring new ideas, skills, or hobbies.”
As we age, we focus less on “play time”, leaving an opportunity to stimulate and challenge our minds as well as our bodies. Take a look at this article from Psychology Today to find “7 Simple Yet Effective Ways to Jump-Start Your Imagination.” There’s also something about colors that can spark inspiration. Add some to your life with these free downloadable adult coloring pages from Crayola.
Making room in your self-care routine for brain exercise has been shown to help improve cognition in adults. Small efforts can help you enjoy an improved feeling of focus and develop an excitement with learning and making connections.
Browse all seven Building Blocks for Aging Well to help maintain your brain health and wellness.