Monday, October 22, 2012

Future Shock - Neural Investment Part 1

In 1971 Alvin Toffler wrote: "Events speed past us, compelling us to reassess our assumptions - our previous formed images of reality. Research topples older conceptions of man and nature. Ideas come and go at a frenetic rae. ( A rate, that, in science at least has been estimated to be twenty to one hundred times faster than a mere century ago.) Image-laden messages hammer at our senses."

A little later he says, "All this cannot - and does not - leave us unchanged."

What does this all mean? We don't know. In an article by Monika Guttman, she writes, "Part of the mystery is due to the fact that, until recently, people did not have the same lifespan as they do today-now an average 75 years, up from 47 years in 1900. This means there has been precious little time to study brain aging, says David Walsh, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology. He says, "Theoretically, this is a whole new world."

But research on how this three pound organ ages is speeding ahead-pushed by the fact that 10,000 U.S. baby boomers hit age 50 every day. This huge group, which will soon swell the ranks of senior citizens to previously unheard of proportions, wants to know what can be done to preserve brain function as long as possible.

So the largest population in the history of the world, with an increasing lifespan has become a major science experiment. So what can we do to improve our odds and keep our aging brains operating? On the plus side is rest and exercise. On the minus side is stress and hypertension. But how can we improve our ability to adapt to change and increased information flow?

Here is an Internet article on adapting to change. I have no idea whether he is right or not or what his research sources are. What I do know is that some of the things on the list sound pretty good including:
  • Inhale through your nose slowly and deeply while silently counting to five. Feel your lungs fill with air.
  • Exhale slowly through your mouth while counting to seven. Expel all the air from your lungs. Kathy and I call that yoga breathing. Sometimes when we travel in airports it is stressful and this seems to help. Also, the author suggests:
  • Exercise and eating right. Kathy and I are working on that.

    Iwolf has an interesting observation, if we can anticipate change that facilitates our ability to adapt to it:
    It is far healthier to actually anticipate change than to be consistently shocked by it. There are a few good reasons to stand on our emotional tip toes looking for change to occur:
  • Anticipating change can take away the personal violation we feel.
  • Anticipating change keeps us from taking advantage of the organization.
  • Anticipating change is a more realistic way to see the future.
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