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Keep the brain’s light on

Keep the brain’s light on
Keep the brain’s light on
Dr. Wayne Willis

“Growing older is mandatory. Letting your light dim is optional.” —Doug Armey

Doug Armey, entrepreneur and writer for Quora Digest, gives 10 tips for dealing with deterioration of the brain as we age.

I like his metaphor of a light in our brains that needs our tending to keep burning brightly.

Armey gives one word to stand for each tip. The commentary following each word is a mixture of my words and Armey’s.

1. Flow. We need to move a little or a lot each day to keep oxygen flowing to and servicing brain cells. A sedentary lifestyle cannot do that. Walking and stretching can.

2. Energize. Junk food clogs arteries. Healthy ingestion makes us, body and soul, as Yeats said, “clap hands and sing.”

3. Recharge. The brain needs a rest, just like the rest of the body. Give it adequate downtime with sound sleep and naps.

4. Destruction. Abuse of alcohol and drugs can cause irreparable damage to the brain. Primum non nocere. First, do no harm.

5. Lubricate. The liver makes enough cholesterol for the whole body. Our brains, to function properly, need good cholesterol supplied by the blood. Refrain from consuming foods that have artery-clogging cholesterol.

6. Relax. Lower stress by learning techniques like deep breathing. Memorize affirmative sentences that help you manage conflict and keep your cool.

7. Engage. Work crossword puzzles. Play Scrabble or chess. Write your memoirs. Stimulate your brain or it will atrophy.

8. Love. Stay connected. Isolation is dangerous. Aloneness is deadly. Join a book club.

9. Adventure. Don’t become uninteresting. Go a new place. Try a new food. Draw up a bucket list and craft a plan.

10. Purpose. Identify a good cause. Volunteer your services.

Keep the light on! A mind is a terrible thing to waste.