Challenging Ourselves

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Out for a Stroll (2020)

In these days of isolation (whether chosen or imposed), it is tempting to give up our routines and self-discipline in favor of comfort foods and comforting re-runs on television. Instead, it may be more helpful (and healthful) to adjust our routines in order to take better care of ourselves, our family, our neighbors, and our world.

I have not been able to travel far to photograph this beautiful world, yet I do have my backyard and neighborhood. After all, this blog is called reflections from my lanai! There is a sandhill crane family that stroll across my backyard every afternoon. The two little ones grow by leaps and bounds every day. And the sun and moon rises have been spectacular! Besides, this time at home now gives me time to organize my photography collection.

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Moonrise (2020)

I now enjoy more time for reading – guilt-free. I want to recommend a book that I just completed this morning: The XX Brain: The Groundbreaking Science Empowering Women to Maximize Cognitive Health and Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease by Lisa Mosconi, Ph.D. (Avery, March 2020). The title is a good description of the whole book! The most hopeful part of the book is that it is never too late to change your lifestyle to protect your brain. And, this is especially true for female (XX) brains. Turns out that all those lifestyle changes we made to prevent heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and cancer are good for brain health, too.

In one of our classes at my church, we have been viewing a Great Courses video series called Outsmart Yourself: Brain-Based Strategies to a Better You by Peter M. Vishton of the College of William and Mary. Many of the strategies recommended in the video series parallel those in Dr. Mosconi’s book.

In addition to the foods we eat, how often we move our bodies how much stress we have in our lives, and how soundly we sleep, other well-established disease-prevention activities chiefly include how often we challenge ourselves intellectually and even how content we are with our careers. (Mosconi, ch. 14)

You may want to read Mosconi’s book or view the Great Courses video series to learn about specific ways to improve your brain health and reduce the risk of dementia. Where can we start now when we are out of our normal routines? We might challenge ourselves to do something we have never done before and are not necessarily good at, for example, trying a new recipe if we are not “good cooks”, reading a challenging book, learning a new language, or learning to paint. OK, so these are the “somethings” I am planning to try. What about you?

 


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