Posts filed under ‘Be Mentally Active’

Going Green as Brain Exercise?

Recycling Saves The Earth: Image by nazreth on Stock.Xchng This week marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, a worldwide effort to raise environmental awareness.   Everyone is encouraged to participate by making changes to their lifestyle, changes like recycling household trash, saving energy and water, changing habits that can negatively impact the natural world around us.

What’s this got to do with brain exercise? (more…)

April 23, 2010 at 2:00 pm Leave a comment

Meditation for Mind Improvement: It Only Takes A Little!

Ever wanted to try meditation, but thought you wouldn’t be able to stick with it for long enough to make a difference?  Good news! Even a few short meditation sessions turn out to have measurable effects.Meditation Garden:  Image by Renaudeh on Stock.Xchng

Quite a few studies have documented that  that meditation seems to have a positive impact on the brains of long-term practitioners, but it’s usually been assumed that the length and intensity of their practice was necessary to see the benefits.

That made meditation an unlikely tool for your average Jane or Joe, who has neither the time nor the discipline for a 3 hour daily meditation practice.

But a new study (published this week in Consciousness and Cognition) suggests that even brief flirtations with meditation may have measurable brain benefits.  Over a period of four days, the study participants were instructed in 20 minute mindfulness meditation sessions.  Surprisingly, their cognitive skills improved significantly after the training.

Why is this important?


April 20, 2010 at 10:49 pm Leave a comment

How Spring Cleaning Can Exercise Your Brain

image One of the simple (and perhaps slightly wacky) pleasures of my life is trying to figure out how even the most mundane of tasks can be done so that they help stimulate  the brain, trigger new neural growth, and maintain old memories and skills.

This week’s focus?  That odd urge so many of us get this time of year, to clean out the corners and cubby holes of our homes.   So in between my own dust-triggered sneezes,  I’ve been pondering how spring cleaning could be used to exercise our brains.  Here’s what I’ve come up with:

1.  Refresh Old Memories

Digging through closets, project boxes, and even dresser drawers always seems to trigger old memories.  Whether it’s a box of old family photos, a blouse you wore for a special date many years ago, or scraps of wood that came from the birdhouse you built with your father many years ago,  don’t just skip over these items. Let the memories flow, and see just how much you do remember about each item.   The very process of remembering strengthens the memories, and makes it more likely you’ll hold onto them in the future.

2.  Change Your Environment (more…)

April 9, 2010 at 12:17 pm Leave a comment

Remembering Who You Are: Genealogy For Your Brain Health

Family Tree - Image by fangol on Stock.Xcng
By now, you probably know that exercising your brain is an important part of maintaining the health of your mind and memory.  You may also know that  specially targeted brain fitness programs (like Dakim) and intellectually challenging  hobbies can be part of that exercise, helping to keep your brain fit and healthy.   This week, I thought we’d look at a popular hobby that offers a unique set of challenges to our minds and memories – tracing the family tree.

Why is it so unique? Building your personal family history starts with your own memories. Recording what you know about your family strengthens those memories, and every time you go back over that information, the neural network that supports it becomes stronger.

At the same time that you’re reinforcing old memories, you’re laying down new memories – new information that you’ll discover about family members, history, geography.


March 30, 2010 at 7:16 pm 1 comment

"I Remember Better When I Paint": A DVD about the Arts and Alzheimer’s

I have a passion for creative expression and the arts, so when a reader (Hi Donald!) pointed me towards this trailer, I clapped my little hands with glee.  It’s narrated by the marvelous Olivia de Havilland, whose voice lends an extra layer of depth and beauty to the project.

The idea behind the film?  Creative workshops, museum trips, and classes that allow hands on artistic expression are being effectively used as therapies for patients with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.    The artistic process taps into parts of the brain largely untouched by  Alzheimer’s,  not only allowing the patients a means of expression, but also forming a bridge of communication with loved ones and caregivers.


March 16, 2010 at 1:33 pm 1 comment

Still Alice: A Touching Alzheimer’s Story

image This week, while wandering the aisles of the local big-box store, I ran across something unexpected. Tucked in among the true-crime and romance paperbacks was a blue and white cover that caught my eye.

The title, “Still Alice,” made me pick it up, and  review quote from USA Today made me buy it.  “ A poignant portrait of Alzheimer’s… Not a book you will forget.”

Originally published in 2007, “Still Alice” is author Lisa Genova’s fictional story of  a brilliant woman with a bright career, three grown children, and a strong marriage.

And then she gets Early Onset Alzheimer’s.

In her fifties.


March 11, 2010 at 5:30 pm Leave a comment

The Soundtrack Of Your Memory

The Music of Memories: image by emospada on Stock.Xchng

It has the power to move us emotionally, and get us moving physically.  Its rhythms can affect our brainwaves.  It stimulates multiple,  diverse areas of the brain, improving connectivity. And when we associate a particular piece of music with our experiences and emotions, it becomes a trigger that can help us to recall those experiences — who hasn’t had heard a familiar song, only to have a long-lost memory come flooding back in full detail?

And now, a group of researchers  at  the University of California believe that they can use the power of music to help Alzheimer’s patients hold onto their memories of their life just a little bit longer.

How does it work?


March 9, 2010 at 6:06 pm 1 comment

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About This Blog

A healthy mind and brain is key to a healthy, active life. Come along for the ride as we explore the basics of brain health, with topics including:
  • Physical Exercise
  • Cognitive Training
  • Stress Management
  • Social Interaction
  • Sleep
  • Nutrition
  • A Sense of Purpose & Connection
Authored by Tori Deaux
Sponsored by Dakim Brain Fitness



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