We used to believe that once our bodies reach physical maturity, the brain no longer generates new brain tissue and because the brain no longer heals itself, we would eventually succumb to dementia by the time we reached old age.
Thankfully, the belief that our brains were static organs was proven wrong. The brain is one dynamic organ with the continuous capacity to regenerate new tissue. In other words, our brain continually heals over time. There are two processes involved, namely neurogenesis and neuroplasticity. Neurogenesis is the process of creating new neurons while neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to recognize and rebuild new neural pathways. When these two processes are combined and understood, we now have the ability to keep our brain healthy and in top shape. You can also check out Zindelijkheidstraining for references on this tip.
An article by Dr. Roger Landry cites two things that can help prevent brain decay.
Learning helps prevent brain decay and the process of learning new skills is like being continually exposed to a fountain of youth (but for your brain).The more we learn, the more we use our brain and when we use our brain more, we help keep our brain in the best shape possible.
Mindfulness helps prevent stress and helps protect the brain. According to Dr. Landry, stress rots us from within and can be very destructive to our cognitive function. Rather than letting our emotions take control of our stressed-out state, we can actually control the way we think in order to regain control.
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Understanding how the brain works is crucial to protecting our child’s brain and ours as well. When we know what makes the brain active, we think of ways to keep it active. For example, studies have shown that people who were more active in puzzles or learning were more likely to avoid degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s.
For parents, you can always encourage your children to be active learners. What do I mean by active learning? This is where he or she participates in an activity where he or she is engaged physically and mentally – like doing a crossword puzzle, or putting together a 100-piece puzzle. Other forms of active learning include activities like reading a book, writing, and any activity that involves synthesis, application, and evaluation (Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning).
It’s also very important for children to learn how to deal with stress and this is to teach them how to be mindful. They need to be reminded that they have control over any stressful situation.
I also recommend the following books. For further resources on mindfulness for children, check out the excellent “Child’s Mind: Mindfulness Practices to Help Our Children Be More Focused, Calm, and Relaxed”. It’s about teaching mindfulness and its concepts to adults and teaching them how they can pass it forward to their children, as is the premise began by the author.
If you have older children, “The Mindful Teen: Powerful Skills to Help You Handle Stress One Moment at a Time (The Instant Help Solutions Series)” is an excellent resource. This is a book that shows young people about different mindfulness strategies and exercises that will allow them to better themselves, regardless of what life throws at them.