Harvard Health: Mental Strain Helps Maintain A Healthy Brain

It turns out those Big Bang Theory reruns and BuzzFeed Youtube videos not only speak to your bad taste, but they’re also unhealthy.

The more you use your muscles, the stronger they get. That’s an overly simplified statement, but the same goes for our brains. Harvard Health cites Dr. Anne Fabiny, now the associate chief of staff for Geriatrics, Palliative and Extended Care at the San Francisco VA Medical Center, advises us to “Be open to new experiences that cause you to see the world and do things differently.” Thus, a formulaic television or Youtube show is not helping your brain.

Thanks to the neuroplasticity of our brains it is possible to teach an old dog a new trick. The key being in act of trying it. We need to break from our routines as Dr. Fabiny suggested above and challenge ourselves mentally. Learning new things builds new connections in our brains and it is “as important as regular physical exercise” according to Harvard Health.

Instead of shouting “Ba-zin-ga,” try one of Darren’s words of the week from Supercharged. Rather than indulging in the latest listicle from BuzzFeed, get a ukulele or an inexpensive portable keyboard and learn how to play music. We can sometimes shy away from those big challenges, like learning music, but mental activities that cause us to strain have the most impact.

The Harvard Health piece has a four suggestions to help you maintain mental health. Among them is “be social,” which means you might have to look up from your phone when you’re done reading this and interact with someone near you. That’s also alarming news for someone who decided to making writing from his home office a career. Damn.

Please take care of your brain, we like you. I’m not just saying that because you visit the site and listen to the podcasts. I’m going to lead by example. If you need me, I’ll be at the mall trying to see the objects in those Magic Eye images from the 90s. Is it a sailboat or a schooner?