Have you been finding it harder to focus these days? Is your memory slipping, remembering names and dates has become a challenge, your brain is experiencing more fog? As one of my friends once described it, “I feel like I am losing my edge.”
Are you laughing about your bad brain days with your friends, but secretly beginning to panic?
We see cartoons everywhere poking fun at senior moments. And sadly, it seems we have grown to expect aging minds to be demented minds.
Well, I don’t know how you feel about this kind of humor…but there’s nothing funny about demented brains to me.
My mother, her mother and two of her sisters suffered with Alzheimer’s. And one of my dear friends is in the late stage of it as I write this. Her husband has been a hero, remaining strong, and determined throughout her decline. But he is exhausted and hospice has been called in to help.
I have seen first-hand the sadness and pain this hideous disease causes to family members. It’s a slow cruel disappearing of a person you once knew.
I witnessed my mom’s early stages of dementia as she frequently lost her keys, told the same stories over and over again, got confused with her directions, blamed and accused others of stealing her jewelry, had lost the capability to make dinner for my dad and wasn’t sure what she’d eaten for lunch only a few hours earlier. I vividly remember one day when I noticed she wasn’t sure which of her four daughters I was. And eventually I stood by her bedside tears running down my face, holding her hand and knowing that she didn’t recognize me as one of her daughters at all, or why I had come to the hospice house to visit her.
We all have loved ones who have struggled or are struggling with brain illnesses…whether it be dementia, anxiety, depression, addictions or other mental illnesses. It is not a pretty sight.
I remember when I took a science class in college and our professor brought in a brain for us to examine. It was soaking in formaldehyde. From the outside, the brain looked like pale mush. It was a bumpy looking 3-pound organ, about the size of a large grapefruit but it looked like a large pinkish-gray walnut. It had the consistency of margarine. There were many folds and creases, and it feels soft and squishy. (at least that’s what our professor said) Frankly, I found nothing whatsoever attractive about it.
And besides the physical appearance of our brains, we have also developed a number of unattractive beliefs about our brains:
Initially, it appears there is nothing beautiful about our brains, doesn’t it?
Here’s what medical correspondent Fergus Walsh wrote about his first experience holding a brain. “When I picked up the human brain in my hands, several things ran through my mind. My immediate concern was I might drop it or that it would fall apart in my hands…. Second, I was struck by how light the human brain is. … The intact human brain weighs only around 3lbs (1.5kg) - just 2% of body-weight, and yet it consumes 20% of its energy…. It was only after I'd got used to the feel of the brain in my hands that I could then start to wonder about how such a simple-looking structure could be capable of so much.”
I found myself wanting to learn more. Instead of turning away from it, I wanted to have a more up-close and personal view of this soft and squishy 3-pound, walnut looking grapefruit sized organ. Each step forward found me becoming more fascinated.
I decided to delve deep. Initially I volunteered to be a ‘lab rat’ in a brain study done by our local University. Soon after I set about becoming certified as a brain health coach.
After reading dozens of books, watching a plethora of webinars, attending every summit I had access to, listening to podcasts and learning about new research being done; I was hooked!
Our brain not only interprets the world, it creates it.
Everything we see, hear, touch, taste and smell would have none of those qualities without the brain.
I must tell you I have been absolutely blown away by the miraculous mystic and power of our brains. I have learned to appreciate the magnificence of our beautiful brains and the critical role it plays in directing our day-to-day life.
The brain is a tricky thing and for most people, understandably shrouded in mystery.
I now cherish my brain; I don’t make fun of it anymore and I do my best to give it my tender loving care. And yes, I now teach my grandchildren about their beautiful brains.
In all my studying of the brain the biggest aha for me was the knowledge that by taking responsibility and changing some lifestyle habits; we can change our brains …. No matter our age! Now, how awesome is that!
We can literally rewire our brains.
I’m sure we have all pondered about what our life might be like in later years. And we can’t help but look at our genetics. I know I certainly do. But what I have come to learn about genetics is that it is not the determining factor….our life styles are.
According to Austin Perlmutter, many of us have a misconception that whether or not we get Alzheimer’s or dementia is out of our hands. And this is an incredibly destructive idea. Why? Because it’s simply not true! He explains that by making a few tweaks in our environment and lifestyles we can prevent Alzheimer’s.
Are you up for a beautiful brain makeover?
In her book, Beautiful Brain, Beautiful You, neurologist, Marie Pasinski, MD begins with this; “In the search for that magic lotion or potion that will make us more beautiful I’m here to tell you that the answer lies inside your head. That’s right ---your brain is the key to improving every facet of your life. …. Your brain is your essence, and it is also the essence of your beauty. By enhancing your mind, you can feel more energetic, creative and alive---all of which makes you more beautiful.”
Don’t you love that word ‘essence’ to describe our brains?
What has become crystal clear to me in my continuing study of brain health is that every day we are confronted with choices about our lives and our brain health. We can choose to mindfully make healthy brain choices, or we can choose to make unhealthy choices. That’s it….
So, let’s do it…. let’s get a brain makeover!
I would love for you to join me and take on the challenge of improving your brain health, your memory, your focus and your mood.
You are never too old or too young to have a beautiful brain day!