In the past I have heard people say that the mind is like a muscle. This brings up phrases like:
‘If you don’t use it you will lose it’
For some reason I only thought this applied to the older generation so I never paid it much thought.
Recently I feel as if I have woken from a bit of a lull and am once again giving my brain a workout after giving a bit of time off. It feels great. But, just like physical exercise, it is hard work.
Only now do I get the reference to the mind being like a muscle. The more you exert your brain the better it becomes at handling the exertion.
Why the lull?
With hindsight I believe that grief can have a profound effect on concentration and possibly even brainpower for many years.
Another analogy that springs to mind is that the brain is like a computer. I fully believe this and while thinking about grief I began to wonder why the word process is used in reference to grief. This intrigued me as the brain of the computer is the processor.
When my Mum passed away, nearly 5 years ago now, I feel that from that moment on my brain was constantly processing the grief of this unfortunate turn of events.
This has had the knock on effect that for an extended period of time my mind wasn’t running at full tilt. So as my concentration was reduced I couldn’t exercise my brain as much as I used to.
I don’t pretend to understand how grief works but I do feel that the majority of my processing has been done. I still miss her, and I regularly talk about her, but there comes a time where the grief starts to fade and the amount of processing is slowly reduced.
The turning point occurred when I realised that I no longer felt challenged. I’m not sure how it got to that stage, but the important thing is that, after sitting down and working out what was getting me down, I realised that I was no longer exercising my mind as much as I would like.
So how do you start giving your brain a better workout? Unfortunately I don’t have the answer to this yet.
For now I am throwing myself into whatever I am doing at any particular time. Whether it be at work or for this blog, writing doesn’t seem to come naturally to me.
The trick appears to be focus. Concentrating on one thing at a time rather than multi-tasking. I had always believed that multi-tasking was a great idea as you could do more than one thing at the same time so you obviously get more done.
I no longer believe this is true as the more you spread your focus the lower the level of concentration on any one thing and so the less brainpower that is being used. This may be acceptable for some menial tasks but anything that requires a bit of mental effort requires your full attention…
This post has been especially hard to write. It has brought up a lot of memories and has been quite emotional.
At the same time though I feel that it has helped me once again. By putting things into words I have released some of these deep emotional thoughts and feel that a little weight has been lifted from my mind.