Countdown: Top 8 Brain Exercises – #2

This is the 7th article in an 8-part series that is counting down the Top 8 Brain Exercises you can easily engage in every day for boosting your brain health and overall well-being.

 

The information shared in this series is inspired from the book How God Changes Your Brain: Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neuroscientist by Andrew Newberg M.D. & Mark Robert Waldman.

This next exercise is one I doubt you’ll have expected.

I dare you to guess.

Here it is…  

 

Top Brain Exercise #2 : Dialogue With Others

In their book (mentioned above), Newberg and Waldman write, “Language and the brain co-evolved with each other, allowing us to excel over many of the physical and mental skills of other mammals and primates. And if we don’t exercise our language skills, large portions of the brain will not interconnect with other neural structures.(bold emphasis mine)

Because dialogue (engaging conversations) require social interaction, social isolation in any form will damage important mechanisms in your brain and lead to depression, aggression, and various neuropsychiatric disorders.

Superficial conversations about the weather do very little to exercise your brain's health, you must engage in conversations that you find interesting and take you to a deeper level of thought requiring you to contemplate what's being said more deeply.

With this in mind, in order to best benefit your overall health, do not engage in angry or aggressive dialogue, instead focus on compassionate communication. This is communication where your main desire is to genuinely discover how another person views the world and not force your point-of-view upon them. You are not seeking to agree or disagree with anyone here. You simply want to learn how they see the world and discover how it offers you a wider understanding of life.

Personally, I see my point-of-view as one piece of a much larger puzzle. The more I understand other people’s perspectives, the more pieces of the puzzle I have. I see each personal viewpoint (opinion) combining to form a more complete Truth. From this perspective,  my opinion and your opinion are both 'right' - just incomplete. A friendly engaging dialogue offers us both the opportunity to discover something new.

 

WHAT NOT TO DO

Don’t gossip about your co-workers or neighbors as these are non-creative exchanges and do nothing to benefit your brain’s health.

Whatever you do, do not engage in irritable or angry dialogues. Angry, frustrating, and irritable conversations can do considerable damage to your brain.

 

WHAT TO DO

Engage in meaningful conversations.

It’s important to talk about things that hold meaning for you, things that lead somewhere; that lead to growth and expansion. It facilitates the creation of new new connections and fosters brain health.

Engage in conversations about abstract ideas like inner peace or the nature of harmony. Talk about what the future will look like in the next 5 years or the next 200 years. These are conversations that cause you to speculate in creative ways without any real emotional attachment to the outcome - it’s about discovery. Make sure that the conversations are light-hearted, good-spirited, friendly, inspiring, and fun. This is health in action.

Independent of the authors, it is my belief that the emerging pattern being revealed in this countdown is that, for your brain to be healthy, you must engage your imagination. To speak about abstract ideas and future scenarios requires you to imagine and picture things in your mind in order to better understand them. This imagining process is creative in nature, allowing for new information to arrive, making new connections occur. I believe that imagination and discovery are the keys to keeping your brain healthy.

 

Stay tuned… in next article I'll reveal the healthiest brain activity you can engage in - the #1 Top Brain Exercise! This one took me by surprise...

 

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Thank you for reading this article to the end. You rock!

 

© 2014 Trent Janisch – thepoweryouare.com

 

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