Imagine a world in which the activities we engage in make us dumber. Perhaps you have seen the social commentary cum comedy called “Idiocracy.” And if you look around, you know it is coming true now; people just aren’t as smart. Our role models are particularly hilarious. For instance, news anchors repeat inane commentary night after night. Politicians regularly make misstatements and develop incoherent strategies. Celebrities and sports heroes make headlines with their emotional ignorance. Best selling self-help authors repeat the same old formulas that were popular 40 years ago.
And now, according to a recent article based on the June 2012 SharpBrains Summit, our health care system is beleaguered by epidemic growth of neurological disabilities, not just in the aged. But brain health is exactly what is needed to drive innovation and prosperity.
Our information-based and data-driven economy is showing up our lack of healthy brains. The demand is out pacing supply. Healthy brains are not only valuable to employers; they are beneficial to society and individual thinkers. Once all employers understand this, we will have reached a point at which mental function will mean the difference between being on the street and living well due to regular employment and competitive salaries for your smarts. A healthy brain will also contribute to your financial savvy and avoidance of common health problems.
We are not left to our own to develop healthy brains. We live in an age where computers have found their perfect niche- doing repetitive tasks that are programmed to make us exercise our brains. Computer-based brain fitness programs abound (online and on disc) and advancement of neurological health is well funded. Thousands of retirement-age people have been proving the value of these programs, turning back their cognitive functions 10 to 20 years in a matter of a few months!
Besides brain fitness programs, we have confirmation that aerobic exercise also builds the brain and that meditation, as it builds attention span and awareness, improves brain flexibility and stress modulation. This means we can start brain improvement today. We don’t have to wait until we have surfed the internet for the best brain fitness program and lowest price.
Brain fitness blogs on the internet also offer “data-tons” of free content that excite the mind about knowing how it works. My mind really gets engaged with the process of learning about my brain, how it relates to the nervous system, hormones, organs and sensory input. It’s an incredibly complex puzzle that gives me injections of dopamine for identifying how it works and for being present to moment-by-moment states of being. It promises the ability to meet real challenges, find insights and be my own master.
Check out a few of the hundreds of brain blogs I have found on the internet. (See them at the lower end of the page.) Use your iPad or laptop to build your brain instead of watching TV, reading escapist novels, re-reading the same literary styles or worrying. After just a couple of weeks of regular brain building, meditation or aerobic exercise, you will notice that your brain is more creative and flexible, clearer and more hopeful. Your economic future will also thank you.
I’m off to the Brain Gym! Will I see you there?