More on mental gymnastics, the benefits, the science of learning


Someone finally took on this topic in my beloved New York Times. It was about the benefits of learning, especially in middle age; made easier because most contests and competitions are over by that point in life and NO ONE IS WATCHING.

Apparently, making a commitment to get good at something in schoolchildren and highschoolers can cause anxiety because the kids are so worried about how they look. Or if they seem to be smart. Key word: Seem.

Later in life, there’s less pressure and more benefit. A disciplined effort at improvement at something, whether it’s reading the paper, jewelrymaking, coloring books, sports, collecting shells or birdwatching involves frustration-the old two steps forward, one and a half steps back. But that’s ok.

Here’s the benefit: You seize time and make it yours. You are, by practicing or learning, getting better at SOMETHING, while other stuff, like physical strength and memory and for some, motivation, are fading away.

Yes there are all sort of studies about how learning stimulates blood flow to the brain, always a good thing. All of that being said, I have my words for you this week. There are so very many I can’t keep up. It’s campaign season and those folks are making it up as they go along too.

Atavistic: Ancient, Ancestral.

Peripatetic: Moving around like a Nomad, from place to place. I wrote an article once about Sonic Youth and in the intro my editor called me Peripatetic and I was too embarrassed to ask what it mean.

Hawkish (this always comes up in association with Hilary) it means to threaten or be belligerent about foreign policy.

Waggish: Mischieviously funny.

Sanguine: To be optimistic in a sad situation.

How does this relate to Bipolar Disorder, Depression and or Tardive Dyskinesia or other side effects that come with meds?  It’s a blog to take you away from all that, like a magic carpet from Mosul, if you will.

It’s mental health month and there’s some hashtag but aren’t we just preaching to the choir here? I’m much more interested in DBSA’s advocacy platform which will help us mobilize in numbers that matter.

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