Positive Steps To A Mindful New Year
By Phyllis Strupp, Contributor
If you have noticed your memory (short-term, long-term, any term) isn’t what it used to be, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get busy. Your brain may need an energy boost to perform better for you in 2020.
The good news is that you already have a major source of rejuvenating energy within you: The wisdom you have learned from your decades of life experiences.
Human beings have won the evolutionary lottery when it comes to longevity. We can live upwards of 80 to 100 years or more, decades longer than other highly intelligent, social mammals such as chimpanzees (40- 50 years), dolphins (40-60 years) and elephants (60-70 years).
Programmed To Impart Knowledge
Why do we live so long? As the 20th Century psychologist Carl Jung pointed out, “The afternoon of human life must also have a significance of its own and cannot be merely a pitiful appendage to life’s morning.” A human being would not grow to be 70, 80, 90 or 120 years old if this longevity had no meaning for the human species.
Indeed, people over age 60 have contributed a major benefit to the human species’ success: Wisdom. Our wisdom flows from our memories of life experience as we search for belonging and love from cradle to grave.
As far as our brain is concerned, survival is the ultimate success. Our life story tells the tale of how we have managed to survive, first and foremost. How did we navigate through the manic highs and depressive lows of the human condition year after year?
But, it is not just personal survival to which our brains aspire. The survival of the people we love and the groups we belong to also matter to our brain. And how well we survive matters too: We want to thrive, not just barely survive.
The link between our personal story and these survival interests is the sharing of wisdom. Wisdom is the driver of our ability to survive and thrive as unique individuals in groups.
Wisdom is the quality of having experience, applying knowledge, and using good judgment for the common good, be it a relationship, family, or society. Wise elders have helped groups make adaptive decisions to get through tough times and avoid self-destructive violence. Sharing wisdom also keeps elders learning from others of all ages and remaining young at heart.
If we mind the glory of our story— our wisdom—we matter to ourselves and others. In a biochemical triumph of “mind over matter,” pro-social hormones in the brain and gut generate powerful antioxidants that reduce inflammation and promote resilience. We survive and thrive.
Share Wisdom For Life-long Benefits
So the human species’ winning formula for rejuvenation over age 40 is: More days, more experiences, more brain connections, more memories, more wisdom to share, more social utility, more meaning, more smiling, more vitality, less oxidative stress, less inflammation, more years of life.
This wisdom-making work is never finished if we want to have a story and a brain that keep getting better with age. Some of the best opportunities for John Knox Village residents to share wisdom include:
• Volunteering on the Village campus
• Serving on a resident committee at JKV
• Getting involved with multi-generational activities offered by Life Enrichment
• Writing about your life experiences in the Silver Scribers’ writing group
• Participating in a discussion group
• Having a meaningful conversation with neighbors and friends
To rejuvenate your brain and improve your memory, find new ways to share your wisdom and matter to others in 2020.
“Old age is a crown of dignity, when it is found in the ways of justice.” – Proverbs 16:31
About the author
Brain Wealth founder Phyllis T. Strupp, MBA, is an award-winning author and brain training expert, speaking to audiences around the U.S. on how brains and lives can get better with age. Her 2016 book, “Better with Age: The Ultimate Guide to Brain Training,” introduces a pioneering approach to “use it or lose it,” based on successful outcomes from her 10 years of experience in brain coaching. Visit Phyllis’ website: www.brainwealth.org
John Knox Village is the only Life Plan Retirement Community in Florida to offer Phyllis Strupp’s exclusive Train Your Brain® workshops. To learn more about the program and any upcoming Train Your Brain events contact the Life Enrichment Department at (954) 783-4039.