I love looking through photo albums, but I always keep out a few pictures and let them lie in random drawers and piles and nooks. Because every once in a while, I’ll be looking for something – usually in a tizzy about my lack of organization – and I’ll run across a picture of someone or someplace or some pet that makes me stop and smile. There’s nothing like being jarred out of a foul mood by a happy memory. Also, it reinforces the brain branch to those memories, which is important because 50% of people will eventually develop Alzheimer’s; I might as well pick the memories that go last.
I also have little slips of paper with quotes on them that I leave around everywhere. I keep meaning to put them into a binder or catalog them or something, but I conveniently keep forgetting to do so, and they have a habit of surfacing just when I need them. I’ll spare you the details of my inner angst, but here’s the quote that showed up today, in case it means something to you, too:
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
— Calvin Coolidge
Divergent thinking is good for creativity, not only psychologically, but neurologically. The more connections in the frontal lobe making different thought patterns, the more innovative thoughts will be. In my jobs, I’ve worked with a couple of brilliant doctor who also were typical nutty professors; every time I visited them, the piles in their offices were higher and messier and closer to toppling over. I’ve often wondered whether they were messy because they were too busy doing innovative research to get organized or whether the mess was the reason they were so innovative. I like the latter, because it is a good excuse not to do housework!
I have a book called How to Think Like Einstein (no, I’m not there yet!), but it’s largely about increasing divergent thinking. Einstein donated his brain to science, and researchers found that his brain actually had more glial cells that normal brains. Glial cells are part of the white matter that connects different parts of the brain, particularly the right and left hemisphere. The article suggests that the same thing that caused Einstein’s dyslexia also caused the development of these glial cells which were the reason he was so creative.
Moderate aerobic exercise has actually been proven to increase white matter over the age of 30. While there isn’t the same level of imaging proof for the neurological of benefits mental exercise, there is plenty of clinical proof that “neurobics”, as coined by Duke professor Dr. Lawrence Katz, increases cognitive performance. If you want to pamper your brain, you can even join a Mind Spa — if you can find time to schedule it around your Laughter Yoga !