By Phyllis Strupp, Contributor

Across the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has turned daily life upside down. As we face increasing uncertainty about what the future holds, we have a choice. We can run strong or run scared. If we choose to tap our inner strength, we will find a silver lining in this pandemic’s dark clouds. We will thrive amidst the chaos.

The older we are, the more wisdom we have to bring to this sudden societal change. For example, the current restrictions and shortages may remind someone over 80 of the bread lines of the Great Depression and World War II rations. Those born after 1945 have never seen such tough times.

So let’s review some basics about how to roll with the punches, and even throw a few of our own.

Your brain is your most valuable asset, especially now. If you lose money, you can always get more. Your brain assets are irreplaceable.

You need a high-performing brain to thrive during the challenges and opportunities we face in the months ahead. Make wise decisions about your next move, in terms of what to do and to whom to listen.

The key to optimal performance is to make sure the brain’s activity is balanced. You know the saying, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Don’t keep all the brain activity in one area. This exhausts the brain and darkens the mind. So, let’s go through our four brain assets (based on each lobe, pictured above), and we’ll discover how we can easily work each one while at home.

YELLOW: Parietal Lobe

The first brain asset is the yellow area, called the parietal lobe, located at the top and back of the head. This brain asset is physical, and gives us these sensory perceptions: Taste, touch, and proprioception, or balance. The parietal lobe is fearless and likes adventures. It hates to sit still. It is self-reliant, so it is a perfect brain asset to work while social distancing.

These days, I am working this asset more than I usually do, with hiking and walking, and hands-on activity such as cleaning and yardwork. I have started taking an online Zumba class. Other ways to engage the parietal lobe include home repairs, drawing and sculpting. Try an outdoor fitness class at JKV.

GREEN: Occipital Lobe                

The second brain asset is the green area, called the occipital lobe, located at the bottom and back of the head, next door to the parietal lobe. This brain asset is visual. It loves to sit still and gaze at the world through screens: Television, computer, smartphone, tablet, you name it. The occipital lobe loves to win and it hates to lose. Be very careful with this brain asset when cooped up, because it will fixate on bad news.

About a month ago, I was following COVID-19  updates for hours every day. I was so distracted and anxious. No wonder, a steady diet of scary news overwhelms the occipital lobe. So, I stopped following the news as much to reduce activity in my occipital lobe, and make other brain assets work more. Guess what? I became less anxious, and more thankful and proactive.

A good way to help your occipital lobe recover from bad news is to blow off steam with games of chance, such as bingo or cards. Other relaxing ways to engage this green asset are jigsaw puzzles or a movie. Try to avoid too much screen time though, especially at night.

PINK: Temporal Lobe

Our third brain asset is the pink area, called the temporal lobe, located on the sides of the head around the ears. The temporal lobe helps us with smell and hearing. The temporal lobe loves people and hates social distancing. I have been working this pink area extra hard to keep it happy by cooking for my husband, talking on the phone more with friends and family, praying, listening to music and singing.

Other ways to engage this brain asset include playing a musical instrument, listening to books on tape, looking through family albums, writing letters to friends and family, helping others and participating in the Thankful Thursday outdoor activities at JKV.

BLUE: Frontal Lobe

Last, but not least, is the huge blue area, called the frontal lobe, which is easy to locate because it is out in front. The frontal lobe accounts for a third of your brain, and it is the brain asset you really need right now because it loves meeting the challenges of a changing environment. That’s what these times require us to do: Adapt and roll with the punches.

The frontal lobe does not live in the present moment, like the other three brain assets. The frontal lobe is always out in front, looking into the future. It scouts for opportunities, plans to achieve goals and delivers the behavior to get us where we want to go.

I am working my frontal lobe by writing my next book, doing yoga via Zoom, keeping a gratitude journal and delivering my teaching in new ways such as by video. Chess, bridge, golf and tai chi are also good exercise for the frontal lobe. Initiating and new healthy behavior works the frontal lobe.

There is a fifth brain asset, and it’s the most important one, because it is in charge of your life story, as well as your memory and motivation. That fifth brain asset will be explored in next month’s article. Stay tuned!

Remember, don’t put all your eggs, or brain lobes, in one basket. Make the right move to thrive in the days ahead by working all your brain assets for balance and strength.

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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) 783-4040.

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