Sunday, March 17, 2013

To Be, or Not to Be

It is the question. Many of us answer this question every day and we don't even know it. Other ways to phrase this question would be "To live, or not to live", "to thrive, or to survive", "to engage, or to withdraw", "to fight, or to give up", "to stand, or to sit". 

Every day with make a decision to have an adventure, or to merely exist. More days than not, we most likely decide to exist. I am guilty of existing. I have wasted too many days existing and not living. But no more. 

I have learned that life is meant to be lived. Yes, I know. That is so profound. But really, we were made for more than just waking up, brushing our teeth, going to work, surviving the "jungle", coming home, fixing dinner, picking up socks, brushing our teeth, and going to bed. We were made for adventure. 

Do you understand how WONDERful the human brain is? Our brains are better designed, and more capable than any supercomputer will ever be. Our brains are constantly "on", constantly learning, adapting, growing, and changing. They are literally sponges of information and assimilation. You are never not learning. There are more neural connections in our heads than there are stars in the universe. These connections "feed" to stay healthy. We nourish them through adventure. Our brains crave MOVEMENT, music, knowledge, information, stimulation. Adventure - living, playing, learning, discovering - nourishes our brains and keeps them healthy and resilient.     

The brain, though we age, is capable of growth and change throughout our entire lives. The old adage that you can't teach an old dog new tricks is baloney. Even if it were true, it is not true for you. You are not a dog! Your brain is amazing and certainly capable of learning new tricks. In fact, your brain loves learning new tricks. It craves learning new tricks. 

One of the best ways to starve the brain is to do nothing. Doing nothing - our typical day to day life filled with tons of sitting, TV, or other thoughtless activities - starves our brains. Doing nothing weakens the neural connections in our brains. Sitting 8 hours a day, for example, robs the brain of proprioceptive and vestibular input (sitting robs the brain of all the rich information movement feeds it). When our brains get robbed from all this stimulation, this adventure, it starts to degrade. We lose our ability to think as sharp, we lose our balance, we lose our attention spans, we lose our ability to move well, and then we age - rapidly. 

A healthy brain that is fed a rich diet of movement, thought, and even music is a brain that thrives. A healthy brain that thrives leads to a healthy body that thrives. They are not separate. They are more chicken and egg related than anything: You need one to have the other.

Boredom is a brain killer. Get up and feed your brain. Nourish your brain through movement, through adventure. Get out side and purposefully set out to discover new things: go on hikes, climbs, walks, try to learn new skills like surfing, slack-lining, or even swimming. You were made for adventure. It keeps nourishes your brain and it keeps you healthy. In other words, BE.  

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