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Brain Un-Re-Training

February 25, 2011

Many of us train for various tasks or events to gain or increase our skills in areas of our weakness(es), but many of us don’t realize that our day to day activities, thoughts and routines train us as well.  This area of fitness is unlike the physical training; it is mental training.  Our daily decisions can potentially effect the way we eat, sleep and react to various situations.  Thus we have what many have used to combat these possible bad effects: brain training games.  Originally these we used to improve brain functions, but now they are even used to retrain they way we use our brains after we made poor decisions to untrain them.  The issue here is that the original cause to the problem still exists.  Are you following me?  Let’s give an example:  We think we are fantastic drivers, so we do multiple things while we drive change through radio stations, text our friends, talk on the phone, touch up our make up, punish our screaming kids in the back seat, or a typical conversation on the theory of relativity.  The next thing you know you are having difficulty focusing on simple things such as a conversation with another person.  Bring on Luminosity, Posit Science, or any other brain training game, yet we are still doing the same things that brought us to this brain training in the first place.

As we invest in retraining our brains, we continue the stuck in front of technology lifestyle we now lead.  We are so stuck in front of it that we now sit around with family or friends at the dinner table staring at whatever is on our phone screen instead of engaging ourselves in conversation.  It is like watching Wall-E in its infant stages, but knowing that that future is near.  Now, that phones are capable of video chatting technology is taking us even closer.

Is technology the problem?  No, we are the problem.  Technology has become an addiction.  Many are deciding to purchase the next big thing instead of saving their money for the next big life issue.  Another brain decision that could use some un-re-training.  How about the television?  It is not the problem, the shows, commercials and films however are.  They have been able to pull us in to their plot and keep our eyes focused on them rather than us controlling our focus.  If you are not control of how you focus, someone or something else is.  This can possibly lead to erratic decision-making, anger, depression, or sadness.  Are you following this downward spiral?  It continues in many possible avenues.

The  next question is how do we correct it.  You could go the brain training route, but the continuous battle against your daily decisions is still there.  The better choice would be to create a mental fitness training plan just as you would a physical training plan.  First, we need to feed the brain differently.  Let’s remove all the junk food and add in the healthy nutrients.  Decrease your TV time and increase your reading time.  Decrease your texting to simple responses and for long responses make it a phone call or in person conversation.  (You would be amazed at how much better a response is taken when it is in person.)  Remove the phone from your person while with friends or family (Not only is it rude, but it takes away from the group dynamic.  If there is something you need to reference, write it down on a small notepad and look it up later.)  These are just a few ideas to get you started on your mental nutrition, so take sometime and look into your life and see how technology may be ruling you rather than you ruling it.  Make is simplify your life as it was designed to.

For brain improvement beyond what you can remove or add, do your research on a brain training system.  They are available as a book, but also as online games (remember to schedule this into your day and to not do it whenever you feel like it).  The ones I recommend are Luminosity and Posit Science.  If you find another, be sure it is designed by some highly-knowledgeable neuro studs!

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