1-2-3 Stretch Your Mind!

by : Julie Jordan Scott



Yesterday my daughter Katherine and I went out to breakfast. After
discovering our favorite Sports Cafe, Goose Loonies, no longer served
breakfast on Sunday mornings, we decided to go a completely different
route.

We chose a local Hometown Buffet, a restaurant whose claim to fame is
everyone can get exactly what his or her tastebuds desire. Because of
the vast selection and wide array of tasty delicacies assembled on the
sumptious buffet, any dining experience is possible.

Occasionally I get cravings for institutional style scrambled eggs.

Satisfying that need was my sole focus as I surveyed the vast assemblage
of food choices before me.

The surprising comfort of my scrambled eggs always brings a smile and
contented smile to my spirit.

What is it about the eggs that quickly brings me to this different state?

Possibly it is the connection between eating institutional eggs and one of
the more remarkable of my life: my college years. A period of coming into
my own. The first time I was not identified as "Sue's Sister" or "Nancy's
Daughter" or "The Nicest Jordan Child." I could simply be me. And I ate
runny scrambled eggs a couple times a week as I set forth on the new
adventure each day held.

Perhaps that is one of the reasons I adore scrambled eggs. I had various
emotional associations that I connect to this dining experience. Especially
with eggs that are cooked in high quantities rather than in my own skillet.

I have been reading a book entitled, "Keep Your Brain Alive" by Lawrence
C. Katz and Manning Rubin. A fascinating read, it features Neurobic
exercises which will increase mental fitness.

Among the simplest and most effective means of stretching our brain's
effectiveness is to connect multisensory associations and to regularly
switch our standard routines.

After eating my scrambled eggs, I opted for a crunchy green salad.
Having "mismatched foods" or lunch for breakfast is one way to surprise
and delight the brain. Also, the quiet to eat scrambled eggs immediately
followed by the loudly crunching veggies create a multisensory playground
for my neurons to laugh and rollick. Katherine was so intrigued by my
selection, she followed suit. A brief aside, I wonder what has happened
this year? My fourth grader has accomplished the high honor of being on
the Principal's list two consecutive grading periods and has been
selected for Mt. Vernon Elementary's Academic Pentathlon team.
Interesting to ponder.

Maybe it is eating scrambled eggs, salad and pancakes. In that order!

Increasing your brain's fitness is simple. It also requires conscious effort.
The latest research shows that in doing so, we can actually grow new
dendrites, which are the connective links that bring forward sharper
memory and assist in converting facts into tools we can use.

Here is one simple activity to fire up associations in thinking.

1. Brainstorm random Nouns. That's right: think up People, Places,
Things and Ideas. Write each Noun on a small piece of paper, fold it up
and put the collection into a bowl.

3. Select two Nouns from the bowl.

4. See how many associations you can make from the Nouns you have
chosen.

Katherine and I followed up our Brain Exercising Buffet with this
association game.

We chose "Charleyana (our Family Chevy Astrovan)" and "Eyes".

Here are our first two associations:

1. Both have a "window" through which we can see the world.
2. Each takes its owner on incredible journeys.
3. Both may need occasional assistance from a professional to work well.

What connections can you identify?

How is this exercise useful beyond stretching your brain?

1. It increases your laser focus which in turn has an exponential effect
on your creative powers.

2. Solutions are more easily created.

3. Product Development is more rapid as you see new avenues to
pursue. The result of this is more income and assets.

4. It becomes natural to make choices more quickly and effectively which
can have a positive impact upon your personal finances, your artistic
endeavors, athletic abilities, even relationships may improve through
looking from different perspectives birthed through surprising associations.

From now on, commit to keeping your brain muscle flexed. Play the
association game one day with at least two or three friends or family
members. On another day, mix up your meal through both the menu
planning and where you eat your dinner. For example, if you normally
eat in your kitchen, have a picnic on the living room floor or out on the
porch.

Not only will you thoroughly enjoy itScience Articles, your brain will benefit as well.