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Continuing The Series On Brain Plasticity By Guest Author Anna Kucirkova

Ways To Harness Plasticity

harness plasticity

With the right circumstances, the power of brain plasticity can help adult minds grow. Although certain brain functions decay with age, people can tap into plasticity and refresh the brain.

Targeted brain plasticity exercises help to keep our brains fit. Even those suffering from brain damage may be able to retrain their brains for better function. The key is identifying what brain functions to target and how to best exercise them.

Researchers suggest that there are various methods of harnessing brain plasticity:

Intermittent Fasting

The Society for Neuroscience suggests that fasting increases synaptic plasticity, decreases risk of neurodegenerative diseases, promotes neuron growth and improves cognitive function. When you fast, a metabolic shift reduces the body’s leptin levels. Thus, the brain receives a chemical signal for neurons to produce more energy.

Travel

Traveling encourages neurogenesis by exposing your brain to new, fresh, and complex environments. Paul Nussbaum, a neuropsychologist from the University of Pittsburgh explains, “Those new and challenging situations cause the brain to sprout dendrites.” And a week-long tour of another country isn’t necessary to get this benefit; take a weekend road trip to a different city.

Use Mnemonic Devices

Memory training promotes connectivity in your brain’s prefrontal parietal network and can slow memory loss with age. Mnemonic devices combine visualization, imagery, spatial navigation, and rhythm and melody, so they can reach various parts of the brain simultaneously.

Learn an Instrument

Musicians’ brains show sharp connectivity between brain areas. Neuroscientists explain that the multi-sensory experience of playing a musical instrument allows for the association of motor actions with specific sounds, and memorizing visual patterns leads to new neural networks being formed. As you practice a new instrument, the repetition will allow for neuroplasticity to do its work.

Non-Dominant Hand Exercises

Using your non-dominant hand during routine tasks can help form new neural pathways. Doing this strengthens connectivity between your brain cells. Studies also show that non-dominant hand activities improve emotional health and impulse control. Try switching hands during some simple tasks and give your brain a test.

Read Fiction

Studies show increased and ongoing connectivity in the brains of participants after reading a novel. Enhanced brain activity occurred in the brain area that controls physical sensations and movement. Scientists explain that reading a novel can be a physical transportation into the fictional world. Shifting into this mental state is crucial for learning how to have complex social relationships.

Expand your Vocabulary

When you learn new words, the brain’s visual processes, memory processes, and auditory processes activate. The smaller your vocabulary, the more likely you are to have poor cognitive skills.

Sleep

Studies show that sleep “helps learning retention with the growth of dendritic spines, the tiny protrusions that connect brain cells and facilitates the passage of information across synapses.” Getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night will help the brain retain information.

Try at least one of these ways and disprove the old idea that we lose brain function as we age.  The last part of this age will be published next week.

It’s Just Me! Discovering Myself And Ridding Myself of Shame, Blame and Guilt

My happy face anyway!

I have discovered an energy type system which I have followed for a long time now but I had not really found the type of energy that I personify and did not see how the system could help me understand myself and how I could present myself as an example of a type of beauty that would give me a special glow that would attract compliments and increase my self-esteem.  Initially, I picked the wrong type and although I felt some benefits when I  accepted my scatter-brained side of myself and realized I was more of an idea type person than a planner; but then my real self came through and I saw that I am more a motivator who likes to see something come through so I can see the finished product.  The best example is how and when I pursued a professional degree so others could see how motivated I was and how far I would go in pursuing something.

This started when I finished grade school and decided to take college prep classes and to get the highest grades in high school I could get so I could go to a good college and get a scholarship.  I also pursued this goal to prove to my fellow students and teachers and myself that I had what it takes.  This continued in college because I wanted to get into a doctoral program to pursue a doctorate in clinical psychology.  Those goals I pursued continuously for ten years.  I also then completed two years of postdoctoral studies in child clinical psychology and after working for two years in my field, I also completed the studies for and passed my state licensing exam as a psychologist.

My next set of goals was to have at least three children which my husband and I accomplished within four years. This was done by the age of thirty-nine for me and forty for my husband.  You can see that I can set goals and reach them.  Just recently the number of our grandchildren reached ten another goal.

Writing this blog was a surprise for me later on in life and I also have started to occasionally sing hymns in church acapella.  I found that I was also comfortable teaching lecture classes in psychology.  This is the way I represent a Type Four, but I still have secondary traces of Type One as I often have too many irons in the fire and I often multitask keeping too many irons in the fire.  Today I deviated from working on bills to writing this post.  I also want to hang some posters and pictures on my walls especially on the walls in my office which I have as yet to unclutter, but I am working on it.

Stylewise I am edgy and look best in some darker jewellike colors and in dramatic and edgy styles.  Hairstyles require some movement and often streaks or patches of color or highlights.  Jewelry too needs to be edgy, often angular and somewhat bold.  The latest good thing about the whole energy thing is I have started to get some compliments from strangers so far all women.

I have found out that where I have had trouble in the past was where I was trying to go along with some other energy type which didn’t suit me and therefore I had difficulty doing it successfully.  I am not a totally well-organized type of person and as I have said before is that I would write the term paper first and then write the outline.  Also, the types of clothing worn successfully by other energy types do not suit me and make me look bad.  For example, hunting for a suit for job interviews I found very challenging and difficult to do and the suits that I found never really suited me so I was never confident that I looked well and that my outfit was appropriate.  This definitely was a “no-no” when it came to how I presented myself for a job interview.

Recently I have started wearing shorts again in place of capris or crop pants and I am feeling more comfortable doing this.  I do have to be sure that the shorts are Type Three, a little rough around the edges.  They can’t be flared, a little ruffly or a soft faded Type One or Type Two color. I have to also avoid black or whites which are Type Four.  I am also considering dresses or skirts again in my type.

Look up Carol Tuttle, Dressing Your Truth, on the internet.  She also has some books which will help you.  Also, she has written a book about children’s energy types, The Child Whisperer.  She has a solid background in counseling which is reassuring. You can get some color and pattern cards which will help you select clothes.  When I have a solid before and after pictures I will publish them here.  Remember part of finding your helpful energy type is when you find that it works and you can type in successes and failures related to your energy type and then it feels right.  This doesn’t always happen immediately but when it does you will know it.   For example,  I have always liked statement pieces when I go out to buy jewelry and I usually don’t feel dressed until I have a necklace or bracelet on.

 

Be Careful, Before You Make a Judgment, Or Form An Opinion

Looks like she loves making judgments!

 

 

 

Be careful before you form an opinion or make a judgment as you just might be wrong.  Do you have all the information?  Whose side are you on?  Does that distort your perspective?  Have you ever done this and found out later that you were wrong?  Remember the saying, “Don’t jump to conclusions?”

 

 

You Might Reveal Your Own Dirt!

The judgments that you make are pretty revealing not so much about the other person, but about you.  Do you really want to make that mistake and reveal that much about your own shortcomings and not the other person’s?  The common error that philanders often make is to accuse their spouse or significant other of running around on them.  The accusations that they make about the other person, reveal so much about them.  The details are often very descriptive about what is actually happening with them.  How else could they know so much about what happens in such relationships?

 

Prying Eyes

I once had a lady in church who accused me of not taking care of my kids and disrupting the service.  Her first thought was not to give me (my husband was not there) some help taking care of the kids, two toddlers, and a baby; but what a fine job she had done with her’s and how her children would never have disrupted a church service.  This is a kind of a mystery but it can be solved using the advice that I gave above.  What had she experienced bringing up her children that caused her to be so sensitive to the “misbehavior” of mine?

 

Needs Writer’s Block

Recent “fake” news often gives a one-sided story and jumps to conclusions before all the facts are in.  To top it off, they rarely publish a correction when more information becomes available.  Do you want to put yourself in that position?  Gossip 0r unsubstantiated conclusions can cause irreparable damage besides making you the teller look like a fool.  Or even revealing your own personal biases.  Rose-colored glasses often aren’t the ideal prescription for viewing life nor are dark colored lenses which are usable for sunny days only.

 

Where’s The Lottery Ticket?

A strong desire to be helpful can also get in the way of knowing the actual truth which can potentially turn out to be embarrassing.  Like famous people with publicity agents, families can often put out what they want the public to know about a family tragedy or life-changing event.  You could wind up with egg on your face if you initially take the initial “publicity release”  as the whole actual truth rather than what they want you to know for the time being.  A massive lottery win is often kept quiet so that the winners are not taken advantage of by opportunists.  Could you think of other examples?

 

This will make some juicy gossip for someone!

 

 

 

Don’t be so taken in by the desire to be in o the gossip that you make one of the above mistakes.  Better yet, wait until you know the truth.  Then you can decide whether to share it with anyone or do anything.  Of course, there are always emergencies where you must make split-second decisions without out all the information about what is going on.   This can be embarrassing if you make a mistake or horrific if you pass up this opportunity to help when time is of the essence.

 

Has the post made you think?  I hope so.  Can you think of any other occasions when these things might happen?

 

Aging Gracefully For Other People, Not yourself (Or Thinking About (“A Place For Mom”) ut

 

With the Baby Boomers coming into the picture, there are more of us who are dealing with the problems of aging.  One of them occurs when others tell those who are aging what they should do and how they should be.  This makes those among us who are aging feel that we are no longer in charge of our own destinies and that it is all downhill the rest of our lives.  Thus we tend not to maintain our intellect, our bodies, and our skills.

Another problem is we seem to not be able to know our own minds, understand our own medical problems, and what we are capable or not capable of doing.  Recently I began treatment for sleep apnea.  I realized from what the doctors said and what I have read and experienced that it was serious enough that it was occasionally interfering with my consciousness and this led to me not driving for a while until my sleep apnea improved with the use of a CPAP machine.

How this problem with sleep apnea was interpreted by some of my family was wrong and I got criticized for saying anything to the doctor (while it really was the truth).  I wound up losing my right to drive until it cleared up.  P.S. I had wanted my family (just before this happened) to drive me to get immediate medical care for asthma on one of these occasions that I experienced this while driving.

 

Secondly, there were no restrictions on my driving before this happened; but after, my family wants to place restrictions on my driving which would include having someone with me and limiting my driving to a certain local area.  While I am limiting my driving on my own to local communities, doctor’s appointments, and church, having certain someone’s with me inspecting my driving isn’t going to help matters.  I want my mind on the wheel and not on those kinds of distractions.

I have physical disabilities, but over time I have improved in terms of what I can and can not do.  Aren’t I supposed to get worse or might that really happen because I am supposed to give up and totally decline in terms of what I am able to do?  I have increased the amount of housekeeping and shopping I do.  I babysit grandchildren while my husband watches TV.  Keeps me busy.  I post on my website each week and balance my checkbook and pay my bills each month.  I have traveled sometimes on my own.

Question is how do those younger in my family or other younger acquaintances perceive me?  Is it for their own convenience or is it from their misguided perceptions of aging?  Beware, is aging caused by time or by what other people expect or by just giving up?

I continually increase my current knowledge in many areas (usually by reading).  I do scan the internet, I watch the news, I follow fashion magazines and TV programs, and I follow the interior decorating channels and magazines as well as religious and spiritual issues in print, on TV, and the internet.  I even talk to myself (sometimes I don’t have an appropriate audience) and my friends formulating ideas for presentations I would like to give on various subjects.  Oh, and my family worries if I say anything on the internet or in my blog I might embarrass myself (what about them?).  P.S. they don’t read my blog and if they did it probably it would probably be to edit it, not read it.  I have been writing this blog for five years.

Are You Lost And Alone And Easily Rejected?

Recently I took one of those FaceBooks quizzes that was supposed to diagnosis blocks in your life (Mind Movies).  Mine were surprising; but not surprising:  rejection and fear of being left alone.

My biggest fear is the loss of all support in my life.  That when it comes to some issue on which I and my family or friends disagree that I will be “thrown out in the street” so to speak.  If there is a choice between believing and supporting me and themselves or someone else, I will lose. I also strongly fear being rejected and deserted with no support (physical or emotional).

The origins of these fears are being raised with love withdrawal as a primary form of discipline by a mother who wanted to maintain strong control of the family members and it seemed, “It was Her Way or the Highway.”  My mother wasn’t the only one doing this.  My father found my behavior to be very exasperating and once in the middle of an argument, said that he was going to move out.  In those days, dads were the bread earners and child support and welfare didn’t exist or at least I had never heard of it.

On top of this, in this very controlling family, the things that I could do (and there were several) were (it seemed to me) not often praised and sometimes, I felt not even noticed.  In grade school, one of my parents’ desires when grade cards came out was that I didn’t have a messy desk.  Children are very susceptible to believing what they hear and experience while they are young especially when the parents’ motto seemed to be, My word is Law and no other perspective on life is available.

Soon I learned to hide and not share things with my parents.  The worst were any notes from my teacher asking them to come to school to talk about my behavior which the teachers had frequent trouble dealing with (except for my second-grade teacher who was the only woman teacher I had in grade school).

Can I help it that sometimes I am very secretive, that I don’t feel appreciated for things that I really like to do, and in the family competition, I don’t usually win and family members feel that I shouldn’t ask for help even when I think I need it?  And if there is a choice to be made over who stays or goes, I am the one who will get thrown out.

Top that off with at times, I can feel that I have a hard time making and keeping friends.  I feel rejected, left out, and unappreciated.  Sometimes when a sense of some competition with me is felt by others, it seems to turn into jealousy and meanness from and by them.  Yes, I am intelligent and educated as I can accomplish things on my own and stick with something even if it is difficult.

I feel like I have a hard time increasing my likeability and acceptance by others.  I can feel alone in a crowd (not that I like it that way).  My exploration of spirituality has given me some experiences where I did not feel left out.  P.S.:  my mom was shy and always took me long to women’s things like baby and wedding showers to keep her company even when I was very young.

I also feel that if my family read this that they would have it all upside down and backwards and only use it to hurt me.  I love my family and consider it the greatest gift in my life although I initially did not think I would have one.  The contributions they want from me is for me to do things they expect a reliable housewife and mother and breadwinner to be.  Hopefully, this is not followed by love withdrawal if I do not meet their standards.

Finally, my family would probably dismiss my thoughts as all something that got cooked up in the many different therapies I have had.  The real me is reflected in my writings (of which I doubt that they have read many) and if they read any, they would be more likely to give me editorial comments rather than any comments reflecting understanding and acceptance of any of my ideas or experiences portrayed.  When I feel I am in an atmosphere that is open to new ideas and experiences, I can be very free to be me.  How about you?

If You Don’t Want To Do It, Don’t Say, “Yes”, And Then “Gunny Sack” It!

Many people play games and if they win, they can say, “Gotcha.”  This first happened to me when we had our first child and my husband’s aunt volunteered to come with me and the baby to a specialist in St.Louis.  Later I learned from her that she was just being nice and didn’t really want to do it.  Sometimes I can be very independent because of this Catch 22.  Especially when it winds up in the gunny sack which will be opened up at a later date and used against me!

Also, beware of narcissistic sociopaths and borderline personality disorders as they can manipulate you too.  You will wind up taking the blame and the perpetrator will wind up smelling like a rose and be one up on you too.  For these people lying is their favourite sport.  They like to see how easily they can take you in and leave you in the dumpster.

Worse yet they can cause your friends to think bad of you while they get accepted as the “real” victim, not you.  Initially, they can get you to care about them and take their side, but they are just as phoney as a three dollar bill.  You know how poison ivy can spread?  This is worse because you can never get over it.  Accomplished liars are good at telling the “truth” and leaving you, not them in the lurch,   And if they are good enough, then they can take all your friends away and make them their friends!

They can use anything such as a “fake” conversion experience to get you to take their side initially and to be considered to be a loyal friend by your former friend or friends.   “The devil made me do it,” is an honest reason for doing this but they would never admit it.  A good liar manipulator is often so good at this because they don’t really have a conscience to bother them like you do.

A family member like this aimed to put her stepfather in the nursing home so she could inherit.  A stroke of luck as she died before he did.  Sometimes I feel life is a snake pit and you always have to be on the lookout for snakes which might bite you.

The fraudulent manipulators never seem to get the blame; they just get the goods and take off with them.  It can be very difficult because you may be the only person that sees through them.  Good Luck!

Quit Negating Yourself!

Ever say something to yourself about something you are wanting to have or do and immediately saying that it will never happen? and finish the job by saying Why it will never come to be?  I do.  Move over if you think you have ever done this, as I have done this too consistently.

Why you talk yourself right out of it and it doesn’t have a chance.  Do you read about positive thinking and affirmations but figure they wouldn’t work for you anyway.   And when they don’t work do you tell people that you tried but they don’t work for you and you have given up visualizations and vision boards.  It only works for Oprah!

Have you ever dreamed up a special dress for a special occasion and worked on the idea changing things here and there in order to make it perfect?  I planned and planned additions to my old house and yes we did use one of them.  Later I started looking at double wides and multitudes of floor plans even visited many different sites so I could see the actual thing.  Yes, I wound up with one when we had to move.

Now I feel frustrated because there are things about our doublewide now that I would like to fix. And my husband would like to add a garage-above ground storm shelter.  Now I know what worked for me so I am going to do research and make plans for the needed addition and changes to the house.  It still needs some windows replaced which on one occasion, I would like to change the old picture window for a bay window.

We often spend more time proving why something we want to do don’t work than we spend on why something could work.

How Men And Women Differ On The Subject Of Sexual Harrassment

Men do what women consider to be gross things and some men go so far as to think that women are asking for it.  Ugh (my comment as a woman).  Ick!  Men like to think that women think like them.  It makes it easier for them to sexually harass women because  then they can think that women are asking for it.  This makes it easier for them to do things to or in front of women that are actually disgusting to most women.

I have been shown Play Boy center foldouts and asked to be present when a psychiatrist does a physical exam on male patients so I could do the mental exam.  I was not a nurse or physician.  I have been invited back to see a therapist that I had seen so I could let him know how I was doing.  I opened the door and he had set up his office so that I could join him on the floor and make out.  Where had I gone wrong or where had they gone wrong.  I was shocked and didn’t know what to say.  I am telling you this because I shouldn’t have felt ashamed and kept this quiet for many years.  Where did these men come off by doing this?  P.S. I was also groped on the Grey Hound bus by the guy seated next to me when I was trapped by him in the window seat.

Men can spend hours talking about women who they think have led men astray.  Maybe it was the other way around.  Women’s reputations have been tarnished this way.  Men’s reputations are not tarnished this way, they are seemingly enhanced.  If women fooled around as much as men think they do, they wouldn’t have time for anything else.  Most women usually have so much to do involving working, taking care of the home, and caring for children, when would they have time?  When could they sneak away to do this?

I think most of this goes on often only in men’s minds and they think that women must think like they do.  If this is so, then they think they are justified in acting on it.  If a man is running around on a woman, then he often thinks that she must want to do the same.  This then justifies their wanting to do it more.

This does not forgive women who use their sexuality to entrap men and use them.  This has led to men (especially in conservative circles) not wanting to be alone with women unless their husband is around or they are with a group.  What do you think?  I think most women will say that they would “like” to be with a certain movie star or music star, but often that is far as it goes.

Often women have trouble accepting their sexual attractiveness and they sometimes “dress down” and use little or no makeup because of this.  This can spoil whatever appropriate sexual relations that they have with a man with the women not feeling sexually attractive or even sexually attracted to their partners.  Women’s sexuality is often fragile and easily tainted this way.  While many men have rehearsed the sexual act both in their minds and in actual self-stimulation.  Having sexual thoughts seems to be more acceptable for men.

There is a form of child sexual abuse where a mother may flaunt her sexuality in front of her young son both by having open sexual relations with a man in front of him and by displaying her body to him by having little or no clothes on.  This can lead to fondling of the child by tempting the boy to touch her and cuddle with her?!

Education is important.  We need to know what is appropriate and not appropriate in the sexual realm.  No education does not keep children and some grownups safe and sound.  Ignorance is not bliss in many cases.  When it is found inappropriate, the victims should know that they should speak up and to whom they can do it.  When I was harassed above, I initially had no idea of what to do, I felt shamed, and I kept the secret to myself for a long time.

Notice there are no pictures illustrating this post.   I do not want to promote anything by having what might be considered sexually explicit pictures.

 

Reading Their Minds: Politicians And Others Of Such Ilk

Watched a discussion of what a politician did this week and how it turned out for him.  There has been and still is a big conflict over leaks in President Trump’s administration.  Then one of his close advisors enabled information about his personal opinion of what this administration is doing wrong to be accidentally by leaked someone on the left who he forgot to tell that he was talking confidentially and it got out.

Curiously another former staff member of President Trump made some very obcene comments about a staff member in the White House just before he got canned.  Should have both these men have known better?  These men both had been involved with dealing with the media and with dealing with leaks in the White House.

It seems that information about the President and his administration should be confidential and he will decide with input from his trusted? staff what to release.  Shouldn’t his advisors ask to see the President in order to tell him their concerns and this should be confidential and not released to the media by them only by the President?

Doesn’t this pattern fit recent staffers who recently got fired or resigned?  In many places of business, employees are supposed to keep their mouths shut about what goes on in the business.  For example. banks, law offices, and mental health facilities.One staffer went so far as to take notes of a conversation with the President and had a friend leak them to the press.  This was just before he got fired. Don’t I see a lot of sour grapes here? Wt happened to ethics and keeping the law while in public service?

Mercy Me,if I can see through this, why can’t you?  Ordinary people can see through this.  What do they think we are dupes?  easily fooled and manipulated.  Sometimes it is just better to keep your mouth shut especially if you want to keep it secret.  Also, don’t you think it is media’s job to notice this and figure out what is going on?

The People Of The Lie Are Excellent Manipulators Because they Have No Conscience

Things That Children Absolutely Need (Which Usually Cost Nothing)

Children are like African violets.  (A type of small very ticklish house plant which housewives of my mother’s generation raised.)  They are very sensitive in terms of their response to the environment in which they are planted.  Children were known to die in orphanages when they were physically taken care of but not emotionally taken care of.  Yet some people give more attention to the African violets in their life than to their children.

As each African violet is individual in its needs for light and air and moisture so is each child individual in his or her needs for attention, love, and support.  When this is neglected, the plant or child withers and dies inside if not outside like the plant.  The payoff of proper care can be great in either case.

Perhaps one can afford to lose many African violets in this process but not even one child.  Children can be resilient but still, can be greatly damaged and become of little use to themselves and furthermore to the society that child dwells in.

Moisture, light, and soil and the addition of fertiliser is needed for a violet to grow; but what is needed for a child to grow in the right direction?  Love, support, attention, and unconditional love appear to be necessary for this to happen.

Caregivers can not neglect one child while caring for another,  This has been shown to happen when a child has a seriously ill sibling.  This child needs attention and care too especially if this child gets neglected while the ill child gets urgently needed care.

The sibling does not need to be seriously physically ill to take attention and care away from another sibling.  Some children are more attractive to one or both of the parents than other children. How important is it for a parent to have an athlete or gymnast or beauty queen or a scholar over a wallflower, a geek, or any child who is not particularly gifted or attractive

Worse yet are parents who really shouldn’t have any children (P.S. I am not opting for abortion, but I am a champion of adoption in these cases).  Sadly what welfare does sometimes does not necessarily encourage parents to be actively involved in bringing children up right.

Wealth is not necessarily the main factor in bringing children up right.  The things that are needed to do this often can’t be bought.  They often cost more time than money.  First is unconditional love which occurs when a person often gives another person love no matter what he or she does or says.

Children need support, not just physical support, but emotional support.  A child can do well at something, but this accomplishment might be ignored and/ or at least not supported emotionally by the family or guardian.  The child can say to themselves, “Oh, what’s the use?” if the effort that he or she puts into something is unnoticed and they receive little or no help with it on top of that!

Prize winning entries at the county fair can go unnoticed and wining or losing a coveted position on a team or in a play can also be ignored.  “You did what?, when said, demonstrates that at least part of a child’s life has gone unnoticed.  Worse yet, a child can be hurt or sick and this goes unnoticed until the child is in serious jeopardy.

Psychological needs that go unmet can cause great harm to some children.  Children that survive such circumstances can be very resilient but those who don’t are a drain on society and can be lost.  Too often the people who make these decisions are incompetent as well.  The judge in my family says that custody decisions in his court are given to the least competent to decide.

 

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