Someone I was working with the other week said they thought I should do puzzles to help my brain as I got older. This is a good point as we do need to keep our minds active and our brains stretched in the hope that we may be able to avoid dementia in any of its nefarious forms. The problem for me though is that I have never done puzzles, or rather I have tried and failed miserably. My mind has never seemed to work in the way that it would need to to be able to do crosswords, suduko or any of the types of puzzle that are supposed to be useful. I also don’t like board games or scrabble, nor do I play chess or bridge.
I don’t actually think that forcing myself to do something that I really don’t like doing would be the best way to stretch my brain, besides some days my brain feels stretched enough as it is. I also know that my brain works in other ways so for me the best way I know of to stretch my brain is to make sure I learn something new, every day if I can.
I do this by actively studying and learning. At the moment it is the Bardic training with the OBOD, something that is stretching me in many ways. Alongside this I am doing a colour pencil certificate course with the London Art College plus of course continuing to paint in watercolours and read, both for studying and for pleasure. I also have to plan my work, my diary for clients, and for teaching, make decisions, manage my finances, write my blog and so on and so forth. Between all of these I am using both my left and right brain.
This all got me thinking that advice on how to stretch your brain is a bit like advice on diet, or the best way to heal, to be spiritual, pagan, shaman, or do anything really. For me, with this as with everything else, it is about making an informed choice, knowing myself, what works for me and not minding what everyone else is doing at all.