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Mental Flexilility is the Key to Youthful Living

Updated on September 8, 2010

Flexibility Is A Hallmark of Youth

Stretch Your Brain Around The New
Stretch Your Brain Around The New

A Simple Strategy for Keeping Our Brains Sharp

One can be old at any age. The process of aging is the gradual avoidance of the uncomfortable and the inconvenient, until one’s comfort zone shrinks to the size of the bed in which death makes it final. What happens to many is that they become more and more rigid, mentally, physically and emotionally, as they grow older, and that is starting at a much younger age today. Premature aging is happening early. I’ve met folks in their teens who are already old, because their comfort zone is only as large as their bedroom and their cell phone. They are already unspeakably rigid and handicapped. Youth use to be a time of curiosity and exploration, but it's becoming less and less so.

Let’s be specific. Mental and emotional flexibility are key characteristics for anyone who wants to be the least bit successful in life on any level and at any age. Aging is a process of becoming more and more inflexible, and that’s why discomfort and inconvenience, because they expand one’s comfort zone and stimulate the brain, are essential and deliberate components of the lifestyle of anyone who plans to be around this planet beyond the age of eighteen.

A Simple Suggestion For Keeping Your Brain Sharp

Rigidity develops gradually and so does flexibility. It is highly recommended that we do something uncomfortable and/or inconvenient every day, even if it’s relatively minor; so, when the time comes, and it will, we’ll be able to easily do what’s difficult. Taking a different route home from work or from the supermarket, putting the toilet paper on “backwards,” eating something we’ve never tried, taking a hike alone into an unknown area, walking around our home in the dark, fixing something we have no experience with, deliberately going to a new place for coffee and meeting someone new, etc. There are hundreds of opportunities everyday to expand our comfort zones and keep our minds sharp, and it is absolutely vital that we do.

Your Real Age Is Determined By The Size Of Your Comfort Zone

If we don’t deliberately expand our comfort zone, know that it will continue to contract everyday. Gradually, it will become smaller and smaller, and we will feel more and more uncomfortable until we are afraid of doing the simplest things, to say nothing of the harder things. The worst scenario of the aging process is fear of change, fear of the new. When this begins to happen, the tendency is to do less and less, and our muscles become more atrophied and so does our brain. Aging research has confirmed that the metabolism of the aging body slows down not because of the aging process but because physical and mental activity slows down. Staying in one’s comfort zone actually becomes more and more difficult because it gets smaller and smaller, and every activity outside of it becomes more frightening.

A vital antidote for aging is simple. Deliberately make yourself uncomfortable in small ways every day, inconvenience yourself, and you will stimulate your brain and experience the exhilaration of discovery that will lift your life to a new level of freedom.

©2010, sgscalese

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