Aging Successfully: Brain exercises (one of the best)

  • Wednesday, February 27, 2019 1:30am
  • Opinion

Brain plasticity, also called neuroplasticity, is the term used to describe the brain’s ability to regenerate itself and to create new pathways. With the proper environment and stimulation the brain can continue this process throughout a person’s life keeping the brain strong and free from dementia.

There are many wonderful, and fun, brain exercises available such as brain teasers, word puzzles and Sudoku yet many experts believe memorization is one of the best brain exercises available. Memorization helps establish brain patterns, strengthens cognitive thinking and can help improve a person’s rhythm.

Tim Richards, lead pastor of Dungeness Community Church, gave his permission for me to share the following: During the fall of 2018 he invited members of the congregation to memorize Romans chapter 12. Part of the activity included everyone sharing their ideas on how to make memorization fun and easy.

The beauty is these memorization tricks work for memorizing anything – from your favorite poem to the Gettysburg address.

Here is the list compiled by the group:

Add emotions: The brain recalls emotionally-charged words quicker than calmer words.

Break it down: The smaller the phrase, the easier it is to memorize.

Cartoon it: Draw cartoons of the passage to memorize; the brain remembers silly visuals easier.

Count it: Knowing the number of phrases or lines to memorize can help assure nothing is left out

Create motion: Use simple gestures, sign language or act out the passage as body motion creates brain patterns.

Find a friend: Someone who can help with the memorizing can make the process easier.

Find the patterns: Word patterns help the brain to organize the passage to be memorized.

Record the words: Record the passage to be memorized and listen to the recording while driving, exercising or working, then quote the words with the recording.

See it: Use sticky notes or index cards to post the words to be memorize around the home, the vehicle and the office, this guarantees the words are always in sight.

Sing it: Music goes into the brain through a different portal, making memorization easier.

The above list contains good suggestions. I encourage you to use whatever methods work for you. One gentleman who participated in the Romans 12 project shared how he visualized a train with each verse having its own car. It worked as he was able to quote the chapter word-perfect.

Again, these are simple techniques which work for memorizing anything from poetry, to song lyrics, to the U.S. Constitution. The more we memorize passages important to us the stronger and healthier our brains become. It is important to me to have a healthy brain!

This week I think I will sit down and make a game plan to memorize something each month in 2019.

One thing I want to memorize is Robert Frost’s poem; “The Road Not Taken.” What would you like to memorize this year to make your brain stronger?

Next month’s column: “Hobby Productivity”

I welcome reader input. Feel free to email me at information@crystallinn.com.

Crystal Linn is a multi-published author and an award winning poet. Since moving to northeast Olympic Peninsula in 2015 she has been actively involved in creating new opportunities for local authors. She looks forward to connecting with even more writers, and readers living in this area. When not writing, or teaching workshops, Crystal enjoys reading a good mystery, hiking, and sailing with friends and family.

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