Brain Bulletin #102 - This is As Important for Your Brain as Oxygen

in Brain Bulletin

It's not about you.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once observed, "The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived, and lived well." I like this a lot.

Having a purpose improves the lives of others. And having a strong purpose for your life can protect your brain, and prevent mental decline. It may even stave off the effects of Alzheimer’s.

Patricia Boyle of Rush University Medical Center says, “This finding is exciting because it suggests that engaging in meaningful and purposeful activities promotes cognitive health….”. Exciting indeed. Dr. Boyle’s study was published recently in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

This was an interesting study. The scientists followed 246 people for ten years. They were evaluated as to what their purpose in life was, and how they derived meaning from their lives. When these people passed away their brains were examined. The finds were remarkable! Those who had a strong purpose for living had a 2.4 times greater likelihood of being free from Alzheimer’s! 

The American Heart Association’s journal “Stroke” even reported that having a strong purpose in life makes you less likely to develop brain damage due to blockages of blood flow as you age. 

So, when you get up in the morning, what are you excited about? You have a brilliant mind. Fill it with purpose. It seems that having a purpose in your life is a very important determinant of your health outcome.

On top of all this, having a meaningful purpose just makes life more fun. It makes you more interesting. We enjoy being around you. 

Having a purpose in life differs for everyone. Chose something that motivates you. Chose something that you derive passion from. The possibilities are many: volunteer for a local organization, babysit grandchildren, travel, learn a new hobby, take up a sport, learn to dance, write a book, go back to school, teach a class, learn a new language, serve on a committee, mentor someone, learn to play music …..

Fyodor Dostoyevsky once said, “The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.”

Wise words to live by, and your brain will thank you.

And here's something else that all brains need:

  Brain Bulletin #47 - The Science of Hope

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My favourite book this month was "Smarter, Faster, Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business"  by Charles Duhigg. Lots of wisdom here, and brilliant storytelling. You would get a lot out of it. 


It's been a busy six months since the last Brain Bulletin....62 presentations in

Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, Texas, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba, and of course lots of presentations in British Columbia where I live. This September, I am looking forward to returning to India to give a keynote, and workshops. I am blessed to meet so many great people along the way.  

Thanks for reading the Brain Bulletin......remember, you are a genius.

Terry Small, "the Brain Guy", Independent Scholar & Learning Skills Specialist.

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