The number one concern of most Boomers as they age is losing their mind! After all, what is the point of a long life is you are not fully there to participant in it!
Famed neuroscientist, Richard Davidson has identified 4 key factors to keep your brain healthy. As he puts it, “well-being is a skill.” All four the factors exhibit neuroplasticity, that is if you practice the skills that elicit it, your brain will build strong connections to support it. We add some everyday ways to help you build this skill.
Resilience is the rapidity with which you recover from adversity!
The American Psychological Association lists ten ways to build resilience. You need to practice the skill before you need it – so get started.
- Develop good relationships.
- Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems – try to look beyond the present.
- Move towards your goals – do something regularly, even if it seems like a small accomplishment.
- Take decisive action, rather than detaching yourself from the problem and wishing it would go away.
- Look for opportunities for self-discovery that enhance your sense of self-worth.
- Nurture a positive view of yourself by solving problems, even small ones.
- Keep things in perspective – put stress and painful events into a broader and long-term perspective.
- Maintain a hopeful outlook – try visualizing what you want rather than worrying about what you fear.
- Take care of yourself -physically, mentally and socially.
- Meditate or write about your deepest thoughts and feelings about stressful events.
The ability to see the positive in others! The ability to savor positive experiences!
Davidson’s research show that Love and Kindness meditation can make positive changes in a short time.
In the meditation, participants envisioned a time when someone has suffered and then practiced wishing that his or her suffering was relieved. They repeated phrases to help them focus on compassion such as, “May you be free from suffering. May you have joy and ease.”
Changes in the brain were evident in just two weeks and the people exhibited greater pro-social behavior.
Here is a primer on Compassion Meditation.
A wandering mind is an unhappy mind.
47% of an adult’s waking hours are spent not paying attention. We can do better.
A simple way to improve your attention is to play solitaire on a computer for speed. It requires you to focus attention. In this case the object is still to win but also to win as quickly as you can. Watch your times come down with practice. Also, you will learn to detect when your mind wanders.
When people are generous they activate areas of the brain that are associated with well-being. Importantly, there is a lasting effect.
You can give money, you can volunteer your time but you can also do simple things everyday. Say thank you. Recognize kindness in others. Open doors for people. Help someone with a simple task like lifting groceries into their car. The opportunities are boundless.