Have any of you seen these movies or shows: The Notebook, Still Alice, 50 first dates, or This Is Us?
All these shows touch on and demonstrate the difficulty, struggles, and the pain of losing one’s memory. I recall examining human brains as an undergraduate student in Psychology overseas. These organs were donated for academic research. I still remember feeling so blown away at the thought that a person’s life, personality, identity was encased in this organ in my hand. As a 19-year-old, I couldn’t help but stop and wonder, ‘is this where the soul is really located?’, in one’s brain? The brain holds our thoughts and dreams. Our body receives touch, but it’s the brain that processes what the sensations are.
I read this article on the news recently which presented some recent research on dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It definitely helped me to appreciate my brain, after months of particularly intense imposter’s syndrome. It’s my brain that allows me to drive, dress myself, and it also helps me to connect with other people. Not only that, but it’s also what differentiates me from other people – my interests, my opinions, my aspirations. It also helps define me. My brain holds all my memories, which helps define the person that I am and the values that I hold.
The article also outlined things that you can do right now to lower your risk of dementia. I’ve always known that keeping your brain active, such as with puzzle activities, would be good for brain health, but I undervalued the role that education as a whole, especially being part of an active campus, plays in brain health. I’m pretty sure that my mindfulness practice is also great for my brain as it gives it a chance to slow down, and take the present in.
What’s the happiest day you’ve had that you can remember?
"One of the big ones is education… making sure that you finish high school, perhaps going on and doing tertiary studies, if possible. If not, making sure that you keep your brain active and engaged is really important and also continuing to follow a healthy diet," she says [Cognitive neurologist Cathy Short] Exercise is also critical for brain health as is having a healthy weight and blood pressure. -Dr Norman Swan and Lesley Robinson