Are there different regions of the brain that create a liberal, moderate, or conservative way of thinking? Are these particular and other types of political ideologies learned from our parents? The answer is probably both.
Like any other belief system we are most likely the product of genetics and environmental shaping. That shaping can take many years and it is okay to have a different political leaning at one age versus another. The critical thing is to understand your own belief system and values and act consistently with them. You may find that your values change over time based on experience and that is also okay.
Far too often people will get into strong verbal disputes about politics and it tends to be about one’s belief about how terrible this guy is or how great that lady is. In fact, most of us do not know our political leaders and it is also probably true that most leaders are decent people. What we really need to discuss in civil ways are our beliefs and why we think such beliefs can advance something good. It is okay to disagree. When it gets personal the conversation has moved from the beliefs.
As neural plasticity involves a type of shaping of the brain for thought, emotion, and behavior we can be fairly sure that our political philosophy has a place within the cortex that is dynamic and probably attached to emotional centers. When we connect the philosophy with reason and communication skill we have developed a real talent. When we remain at the emotional level and try to articulate our beliefs we might get a bit personal.
Stick to your own values and what you believe regardless of any leader. These are your beliefs and that is a good thing
In addition to a good night sleep and plenty of rest to enable the brain to consolidate information learned during the day, the brain also benefits from quiet moments during the day.
A quiet moment does not involve any goal, task completion, or endpoint. It is about process and about being in the here and now. A quiet moment can occur anywhere at any time so long as you permit your brain to shut down and to turn inward.
Removing structure and demand from your existence enables your brain to freely roam and to explore ideas and feelings that get shut out with structure and task driven behavior. Your most creative moments will come from such experiences.
It is not easy to create quiet moments. You need to establish parts of your day when you remove all chores, all responsibilities, and all task demands. It is simply time to be, for you to exist. It might mean a walk, sitting on a bench or under a tree, or playing an instrument. There is no conscious deliberation, it is meditative and introspective.
Sounds easy, but it is not. Give it a try and perhaps you will get in touch with your creative side!
Benefits of a Brain Healthy Lifestyle
Millions of children across the planet are enjoying their final weeks and days of summer break. Some of these children probably continued their academic habits by reading and attending different types of camps to stimulate their brains. My guess is the vast majority of children had “fun” meaning the academic part of their life has been tabled for the past two months.
Adjusting to the upcoming school year is never easy, regardless of age. With the remaining weeks left before school starts children might be wise to take 30 minutes a day to read and prepare for subjects that they have difficulty. There are some great workbooks at the local bookstores and your local school can most likely provide some worksheets to practice.
Lifestyle changes also need to begin including going to bed at earlier times in anticipation of having to rise quite early for the school day. Getting up earlier in the morning can help avoid the abrupt change from sleeping in to getting up four or more hours earlier that the school year demands.
Finally, children can think and talk about the good things they experience at school such as reuniting with friends and maybe a new pair of sneakers or a new outfit they can wear. The more school can be viewed as a positive the better the transition will be. It is always nice to hear a child say “I am excited to go back to school.”
Do you know what it means to truly be fit? Heart disease now is the number 2 cause of death for children under the age of 16. Suicide rates have doubled for children from the ages of 5-14 over the past twenty years. This generation will be the first generation that will not outlive their parents.
How do you know if your children are what is defined as fit?
Some people may think being fit is defined as:
1. Being free of disease and other health problems.
2. Others may define it as having a lot of energy, a muscular or thin body or the ability to finish a vigorous exercise or activity.
However, fitness refers to your own optimal health and overall well-being. Fitness is a combination of wellness of the mind, body and spirit. In fact, all of these things are interconnected.
Fitness is your health at its very best. A child that is fit is not just physically fit, but he or she should have a great emotional and mental well-being as well.
Smart eating and active living are both instrumental to all three. Therefore, a parent should provide a combination of healthy meals and stimulating opportunities for physical activity every day for your children to remain at an optimal fitness level.
Are your children fit?, cont’d
With the recent news of the loss of the oldest man who was 113 when he died, attention is being paid to the fact that more people are living to 100 than ever before. By the middle of this century there will be approximately 6 million persons who are 100 or older. Indeed, the median age in developed countries to 50 and re-defines “middle age”.
The baby boom generation is certainly more focused on personal health than prior generations, there is more attention to diet and exercise, doctors are treating older individuals aggressively with advanced interventions, and genetics all play a role with living longer.
Japan will have the most centenarians in 2050 with 627,000 or 1% of their total population. Greece, Italy, Monaco, and Singapore will also have high numbers of those living to 100. The United States centenarians will increase from 75,000 to more than 600,000 by 2050. These are persons currently described as baby boomers and there will certainly be increased health care costs related to this demographic shift.
This demographic shift will have enormous impact across all sectors of life and across the globe.
According to a new study veterans diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) have a significantly higher risk of developing dementia compared to those veterans without PTSD.
Scientists from the University of California-San Francisco reported the findings at the recent meeting of the International Conference on Alzheimer’s disease in Vienna. Their findings indicated veterans with a diagnosis of PTSD had a 10.6% rate of developing dementia over a seven year follow-up while those veterans without PTSD had a 6.6% rate.
The findings indicate that disorders such as PTSD, depression, and chronic anxiety may predispose the brain to vulnerability for dementia. Interestingly, PTSD has been related to dysfunction in the hippocampus, the critical region of disease for Alzheimer’s.
Sleep is actually a very important function of and for the brain. We need to generate enough sleep to feel rested, to have energy, to assist with mood, and to even help us think more clearly.
Sleep is divided into four stages. Deep sleep or stage IV sleep is critical to brain function. With advanced age we generate less deep IV sleep and it is probably not a coincidence that our cognitive abilities change as well.
Rapid Eye Movement (REM) is the part of sleep when we dream and we are actually paralyzed. REM occupies about 25% of our sleep and is critical for encoding information to a deeper level. Our brain processes millions of bits of information daily and during REM it is thought the brain selects those bits of information that are most critical.
Debate on how much sleep is necessary continues, but it is probably safe to say that young children need at least 8 hours of sleep a day while adults should get more than 6. Certainly, these numbers are not fixed and there are cases where some do fine with only a few hours while others do not. The bottom line is that our brains need sleep, deep sleep, and REM to function efficiently.