Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Thirteen Practical Ways to Exercise Your Brain and Do Something For You

Well, either he is manic, it was the full moon, he senses my own weakness as I'm pre-menstral or it is fall-out after having spent the previous weekend with his dad and just the difference between two households. OR, I totally jinxed myself by actually posting how well he had been doing. Any way you spin it, the tables turned and he morphed into his angry, volcanic self half way through the week last week. I won't 'un-say' that his supplements are working, because they are. And on that note - he was AMAZING today! No eruptions and we got through math homework AND a book report AND making a Valentine's box! Whoa! I just have to figure out what is at the bottom of these major turn-arounds after doing so well. With that being said, I also really struggled last week and I've got to get my head back in the game. So, the random book I've been picking up as I sit in my office and wait for my computer to actually catch-up to what I am asking it to do, is Dr. Daniel Amen's Making a Good Brain Great. One thing that I realized is that I really spend my whole day (with the exception of planning out my meals and taking 30 minutes to exercise) catering to my family and their needs. No wonder I feel exhausted! Honestly, I think it is almost impossible to not question your abilities as a parent when your child struggles so intensely as well.

So, I need to do some things for myself. It is after all the only element I have control of. *Roll my eyes only because it is frustratingly true.* Dr. Amen lists "thirteen practical ways to exercise your brain (116-121)" and it includes investing some time in yourself. I am setting my own goals in conjunction with the following suggestions:

1) Dedicate yourself to new learning. Put fifteen minutes in your day into learning something new. 
2) Take a class about something new and interesting. He lists examples of square-dancing, chess, tai chi, sculpture.
3) Cross-train at work. Learn someone else's job.
4) Improve your skills at things you already do.
5) Limit television for kids and adults.
6) Limit video games.
7) Join a reading group that keeps you accountable to new learning.
8) Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice make perfect. The brain does not interpret what you feed into it; it simply translates it. Essentially, if you practice something bad, you will learn to do it poorly. In other words, practice makes permanent.
9) Break the routine of your life to stimulate new parts of your brain.
10) Compare how similar things work.
11) Visit new and different places.
12) Cultivate smart friends.
13) Treat learning problems to help kids and adults stay in school.

And Happy Valentine's Day!

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