Hi Kids, hope you’re great. Here’s another extract from my NEW BOOK! Enjoy…
Do you ever feel like your mind is turning to mush? Like your brain has been sitting on the couch, eating cake and smoking weed for two decades? Well, if you said ‘yes’ to those questions then (1) you’re not alone and (2) you can turn it around if you’re prepared to do the work.
The term ‘Mental Fitness’ means different things to different people (depending on the situation, application and conversation) but for the purpose of this conversation, I’m talking about our ability to think clearly, to process information, to stay focused, to communicate effectively with others, to remember things (short and long term), to problem solve, to be creative, to complete mathematical tasks, to understand new concepts, to learn new things, to deal with pressure and to express feelings, thoughts and ideas in a meaningful way.
Can We Get Better With Age?
In all honesty, I can say that at almost-fifty my mind has never been ‘fitter’. I’ve never had more clarity, never had a better memory, never been more creative and I’ve never been able to focus and concentrate more effectively than I do right now. So, why is that? Is it genetic? Does it run in the family? Is it luck? No, it’s because my mind ‘works out’ every day. That is, I consciously train my brain to keep it in shape and, more importantly, to get in better shape.
I’m always reading, writing, researching, creating, solving problems and putting myself in situations where I’m required to learn new things. Situations where I have no option but to explore my potential. To tap into the untapped. To get uncomfortable. Even maintaining a large blog and producing interesting, stimulating and relevant articles has been a constant workout for my mind over the last eight years. I also choose to hang out with people who are smarter than me, who teach me, challenge me, argue with me and who have stimulating and thought-provoking conversations with me. I constantly ask questions which require me to work for an answer. I’m committed to developing and becoming better at what I do and I understand that, in order to do that, it’s advantageous for me to have a mind that’s not fat, lazy and unfit.
So to speak.
Physical and Mental Stimulation
Just like your muscles need exercise, so too does your brain need to be stimulated, challenged and trained if you want it to function optimally. If you want it to adapt. To improve. To become more efficient. The cognitive degeneration we see in many people is more about lack of cerebral stimulation (using their brain) than it is about some inevitable consequence of chronological age. That is, it’s not about some numbers on a calendar. I’ve long been of the opinion that most people succumb unnecessarily to the idea of age and that they age prematurely. I say the ‘idea of age’ because in many ways, it is more of a concept than it is an unavoidable reality. It’s clear that some people think, talk, choose and behave their way to old age.
We’ve all met people who are old at forty and others who are young at seventy.
What Age Isn’t
There is a vast body of research suggesting that, in many ways, ageing as we experience it on a practical level is more about choices, behaviours, reactions, habits, lifestyle and diet than it is about the accumulated number of years between when we came screaming into the world and this moment in time. It’s much more than some inevitable and unavoidable consequence of a constantly ticking clock.
Some fifty year-olds have old bodies not because they’re fifty but because they have abused and neglected their only irreplaceable resource for far too long. For many people, their physical decline is not about genetic destiny but, rather, genetic mismanagement. Through their own stupidity, they have aged unnecessarily. You’ve seen them.
Here’s the scientific correlation:
“Treat your body like shit and before long, you’ll look, feel and function like shit.”
Of course, we will all experience a degree of degeneration over the course of time but in the pursuit of our best life, the question we need to ask ourselves as intelligent, conscious beings is:
How much of my physical degeneration is unavoidable and how much of it is self-inflicted?
It’s been my observation and experience that many of us accelerate the ageing process via our thinking, beliefs, behaviours, choices and habits. And when I say ageing, I mean physically and mentally.
If ageing is only about some numbers on a calendar then no, folks, it is not optional. But if ageing is about the way we look, feel and function mentally and physically (and that’s what I’m talking about here) then, yes, it is largely optional. If ageing is about how fit, lean, strong and healthy we are then, yes, it is largely optional. If ageing is about how we think, behave, react, choose, communicate, exercise, eat and live then, yes, it is totally optional.
Choose your age.