The Power of Mental Stretching at 60 and Beyond
Can we really stretch our mind during our 60s and beyond so that we can achieve even more out of life? The answer is: Yes. Absolutely!
Mind stretching is the process of teaching the brain a new way of thinking, and in doing so, connecting the right/left brain more effectively. Each hemisphere controls certain functions and movement on the opposite side of your body.
The left brain is more verbal, and the right brain is more creative. However, as with most things relating to the human brain, it’s complicated. While each hemisphere has its strengths, they don’t work in isolation. Both sides contribute something to logical and creative thinking.
The Brain vs the Mind
The science of the mind is complicated. Scientists must decide if our brain is the same as our mind, or is our brain simply a part of the mind.
Are they one and the same or different and separate entities. One entity is identified as neuroscience – the study of the brain, and the other is identified as the mind – considered to be pure vibrating energy.
Another way of looking at the mind is to think of it as the non-physical entity of our being. Scientists and philosophers argue that the mind does not exist without the brain. Brain and mind are both the rocket and fuel of the human being. And they are yoked, inextricably connected to each other by the body.
The mind conducts ‘thought’ faster than the speed of light and retains all experience whether consciously or not. The mind creates, projects and receives thoughts. It expresses emotions and feelings, and it determines the positive or the negative levels in our bodies.
However, most of all, the mind is associated with consciousness, and that being true, the mind can stretch because our consciousness can expand!
The Mind Wants to Know Itself Better
The yogic philosopher Patanjali told us, “When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great, and wonderful world, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”
Mahatma Ghandi said, “You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind.”
Discover the Power of Stretching Your Mind
Expanding your mental processes will initiate the flow of limitless thought and possibilities. As a result, your personal and work life, relationships and happiness quotient will flourish.
Stretch the mind by exploring and understanding how we process a new idea and reframe our thought patterns. Through this process we will ultimately stop limiting ourselves to past references and experiences, thereby eliminating roadblocks to future thought and creativity.
Stretch your mind, and your life will take an importance because you are exploring your nature and environment with an awareness that is like a dance. Stretch, and the idea of a life well lived is attainable. This can happen at any age. How cool is that?
One of the ways I stretch daily is by digging into my human survival kit. My kit is really a goody basket because inside is everything that reflects me.
My experiences, thoughts, desires, needs, ideas, dreams, passions, knowledge – everything I’ve ever done and everything I’ve ever been in my life is inside my goodie basket.
A Diet for Stretching the Mind
The recipe for sustaining and promoting good brain health consists of a diet that includes:
- Olive oil
- Fruits and vegetables high in vitamin E, such as blueberries, broccoli and spinach
- Fruits and vegetables high in beta-carotene, such as spinach, red peppers and sweet potatoes
- Foods rich in antioxidants, such as walnuts and pecans
- Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish – salmon, mackerel and albacore tuna
Part of a healthy regime also includes exercise of all kinds, as well as those brain challenging activities like crossword puzzles, chess, reading and creative hobbies.
Researchers have studied the effects of sleep and brain function. I actually participated in two studies on sleep and memory at the University of Texas, Austin.
It became quite clear that sleep deprivation negatively affects memory, but improves learning and problem-solving skills. In fact, a surprising result is that we can learn new things during sleep!
On a cautionary note, excessive alcohol consumption – as in long term heavy drinking – can lead to serious brain damage because alcohol shrinks the brain.
Alcohol doesn’t actually kill brain cells, but it can cause deficiencies in white matter that resides between the folds or wrinkles of the brain’s landscape. White matter affects learning and brain function and helps manage communication within the nervous system.
Pro-Active Brain Health
I’m sure everyone has a tool kit of essential principles for stretching the mind. Perhaps we are not conscious of our tools, but these tools are nonetheless an integral part of our nature and provide guidance and inspiration for stability, resilience and balance.
Our tools are also responsible for clear thinking, better communication and well-defined relationships.
Stretch your mind – stretch your life. It’s a free and measurable indicator of how joyful your path in life can be during your 60s and beyond.
What healthy habits have you established to help stretch your mind? What tools do you find most useful in maintaining positive brain health in your 60s? Please share your thoughts and observations below!
Joan Moran is a keynote speaker, commanding the stage with her delightful humor, raw energy, and wealth of life experiences. She is an expert on wellness and is passionate about addressing the problems of mental inertia. A yoga instructor and an Argentine tango dancer, Joan is the author of 60, Sex, & Tango, Confessions of a Beatnik Boomer. Her new book, I’m The Boss of Me! Stay Sexy, Strong & Smart at Any Age, is now on Amazon. Check out Joan’s website joanfrancesmoran.com and follow on Twitter @joanfmoran.