ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Mental Agility Made Easy

Updated on October 17, 2012

Minding Your Mind

"Use it or lose it." That slogan applies to just about anything for every human being, but recently I stumbled across an application for 'exercise' that I'd never before considered: exercising your brain.

Oh, I've read ads that propose systems to improve your reading speed, ads that make learning a foreign language sound simple, and ads for maintaining mental agility in what's usually called 'old age.' (My wife and I say the word "elderly" shouldn't apply until you reach 100, by the way).

But this fall I discovered a new way to stay mentally sharp, and I came across it quite by accident. I have two computers, with lots of pictures in each of my photo programs. At the moment I have 12,765 photos in the computer I'm using to write this article, and until recently almost none of them bore captions. Earlier this year my wife said, "You really should label them, so other people will know what in the world they're looking at."

That got me to thinking (a boost to mental agility all on its own), and so I began to title each and every photo. At the moment I'm about two-thirds of the way through this gargantuan exercise. It was about three days ago, however, when it suddenly dawned on me: trying to remember the names of people and places in each photo is a great way to improve my ability to think! That's especially true, since some of my pictures date back 40 to 45 years and cover a variety of locations around the world [Europe, Africa, Canada and 48 of these 50 United States.

Some places I've visited a half-dozen times, but I've only been to others once, so recalling the name of a certain trail at Glacier National Park or the description of a particular monument in St. Augustine, FL, or the names of those three people in that shot in front of a pavilion at the 1964-65 NY World's Fair really taxes my mind. Which is just the point! How much more fun could one have than studying pictures you've taken and recalling the 'who, what, where, when and why' of each photo?

I'd highly recommend this little (or big, in some cases) exercise. And if you don't have lots of photos in your computer or in for-real photo albums, by all means try a different approach. For instance, one of our grandsons (age 9) was here yesterday after school, and I helped him with homework. Once we finished the assigned pages and required reading book, he wanted to try his hand at two "for fun" sheets. The first was a Halloween acrostic - one of those puzzles that consist of a bunch of letters in columns inside a big square box. Hidden in those columns (left-right-or straight down) were 14 words that deal with Halloween [like "witch" and "ghost" and "monster" and "vampire," etc.

Now, I'm not great with that kind of puzzle, but he was a whiz at it: he found each word in less than 5 seconds! And, wouldn't you know, before long I was spotting them too. Then, on to the next exercise - unscrambling mixed-up letters to spell out even more Halloween words.

You get my point. It doesn't much matter what the mental exercise is. What matters is that you get busy using your mind. And if that involves doing something you really love (for me, going through my collection of photos over and over again, or writing creatively by searching for just the right word or phrase to use), then you've struck it rich . . . not a gold mine this time, but a gold mind!

Enjoy thinking more! It's worth it.

Hummingbird on our upper deck
Hummingbird on our upper deck
Mennonite tourists at Grand Canyon
Mennonite tourists at Grand Canyon
Peacock in Tucson, AZ zoo
Peacock in Tucson, AZ zoo


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)