Archive - May 16, 2016

Aging, Losing Your Marbles?

Aging, Losing Your Marbles?

Marbles 2

You may know or have even used the expression “losing your marbles” to describe the reality of aging.

The truth is that your marbles do get rearranged, and its perfectly normal – if you evolve.

We don’t just think thoughts, we think from a structure of reasoning.   There are ways we reason, connected something like a hair net, that connect a way of thinking that is predictable and can be measured.

Structures of reasoning are developmental and that they are supposed to be developing all of our lives.

The whole right hemisphere of our brain is largely for the function of managing novelty, of handling new information and new situations.   The right frontal lobe is for grabbing the information that needs inputting for use in the ongoing development of the brain, solving the challenges of living in the moment.

Your right frontal lobe isn’t busy gathering evidence to keep you convinced that how you reasoned 5 years ago still really works just fine. If it does, you’re in trouble, with a kind of rigidity that comes from wanting to remain safe rather than to encounter what is new and novel.

Your right hemisphere is engaged in encountering all of the new and novel things that are part of an evolving brain that last all of our lives. Does the brain shrink as we grow older?

Probably, if you don’t use it.

I don’t think Einstein’s brain had any shrinkage. I don’t believe that Monet, who painted into his 80’s, had any shrinkage.

Decline is not synonymous with aging. It is the product of perceived threat, resistance, and rigidity.

It happens when you decide that it’s time to get out of the parade and watch it go by. It happens when you rely more and more on what you already know, and use less and less of your brain to learn new things.

It happens when you start balking at learning how to text or use a smart phone, or resist learning new technology, not because you are making a choice to learn other more interesting things, but because you are afraid, and have for some reason, made a choice to withdraw, bit by bit, from life.

Alzheimer’s has a very long onset. It starts much earlier than we have believed. It begin as much as 25 years or more when younger people start to rigidify and become resistant to novelty, to learning new things, and to being open to new ideas.

The structure of your brain is designed to change. There are neurodevelopmental changes, cognitive changes, that are like stages of growth that change the “hair net” of reasoning in your brain.

You grow older, you grow wiser, deeper, the nature of your reasoning becomes more expansive.

Your marbles change around and you use them differently, with remarkable new perceptions, if you allow it to happen.

© Dr. William K. Larkin 

Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute