Monday, May 28, 2012

Brain Health: Do Tasks the Hard Way

So according to some recent studies (here's one: doing something that is difficult is actually good for your brain.  Examples they use are using your non-dominate hand, or reading or writing upside down, or physical things like jogging backwards.  I've also heard that working on learning a new language or a musical instrument are very good.  You brain has to develop new pathways.

I'm finding this whole thing very intriguing.  It means that you can try to do something just on the basis that it's difficult.  Personally I would need more motivation than that, but it really does take you off the hook in terms of having to be good at something.  You don't have to be perfect at it you just have to be willing to work at it.  That's very freeing.  Work at it just because it's hard.

My current example is of course an odd one.  My dogs like herding stock, and herding is very difficult.  If you though dog agility was hard, try it with all of the obstacles moving.  It's brain bendingly difficult, but the challenge is fantastic and you learn new observation skills and you learn how to make efficient choices on what to watch and how carefully.

It also means that I should really consider going back to guitar playing or staying involved in some way.  Songwriting and story creation are very difficult and frustrating for me but it's probably something I should persue.  Struggle is good.


Elf said...

Funny (as in funny strange): I got hooked on sudoku even though I think they're dumb. But they're a good mind-clearing thing to do. Can put me to sleep at night, ease my stress during the day. Suddenly a couple of weeks ago I felt that I hated how easy they are to solve--I don't mean like the answer is always quick, but the process is rote. So have gone back to doing them a longer, harder way because it's different. I wonder whether that counts.

Ellen said...

Sudoku gets a lot of mention in these contexts so it likely does count. Pretty much anything that makes you work harder at something.