Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Wellness Wednesday on Tuesday Afternoon: Constant Learning

Intellectual activity has always been just as important to me as physical activity.

For the past week or so, I've been dealing with a health issue that has decreased my physical activity temporarily. I've become reacquainted with PBS. Television is hard to take most of the time since so many shows are vapid or promote values that I find distasteful. If it wasn't for some of the cable channels like Discovery, The History Channel and The Learning Channel, I'd really be out of luck. I've also recently discovered The Research Channel.

PBS has too many beg-a-thons for my personal taste but there are also some high quality things, shows that teach.

I didn't like school for the most part until I got to college. The autodidact approach was more appealing for the most part because structured education is too... well... structured.

As I've been laying low for the past week or so, that has become a part of my life again. Just this past week, I've listened to lectures on The Research Channel and watched two great shows this past weekend on PBS that went on the entire day. One of them was called "Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life" with Dr Wayne Dyer and the other was an afternoon long series on brain function. I've also watched a few science shows on Nova and a special on the Roman Empire.

As I watched these shows, I took notes. I took notes because I always take notes. It's a habit. It also helps me remember.

This kind of learning is something that keeps life vital and alive. There are so many things to learn, so many things to discover. Truly, that is what keeps me enthusiastic. It's also recommended by nearly every researcher who has ever been involved in studying dementia. This is the kind of thing that will help prevent people from losing cognitive ability in old age. Learning something new actually keeps the brain from deteriorating and encourages the growth of more brain cells.

That's a consideration that's more immediately important for people my age. (Far more than most of the people who read this site). In another twenty years (if I live that long), I'll be 77 years old. Hard to imagine but it's looming in the not-so-distant future. At that age, I hope to be still reading books, still learning new things ~ even as I lay on a blanket, somewhere near a waterfall in Thailand.

I'll also be learning a whole new language.

It really is exciting... and I can't imagine being well without that steady stream of new information. The recommendation is not to learn more about things we already have an interest - but new things entirely.

So.. that's my Wellness Wednesday thought. Learn something new.

(As a side note, I am aware that I owe some people replies to email. Please don't think I am ignoring you or blowing you off. I'm not physically well right now and sitting at the computer is difficult. Like Arnold though... I'll be baaaaack. :)



Defiantmuse said...

I recently tried to take an IQ test. Not b/c I was interested in a number but I thought my brain could use the activity. Know what I found? That the brain is a muscle just like any other muscle and it needs to be worked out. I literally had a headache about 10 questions in. I thought that was a wake up call, given that I'm only 27 and all. If I want to have use of my faculties in another 50 years I better get crackin'.

Olivia said...


I'm sorry your under the weather, but glad that you get to rediscover past interests. And learn.

I highlight and underline and take notes in most books I read, even fiction!

Love Wayne Dyer. Fascinated by his current Tao project and how he did it. You might like Oprah's podcasts on the Soul Series. They are on iTunes and they are free. Wonderful, wonderful. One of them was Wayne Dyer, actually two.

Don't you wonder when people say they get bored? I think when you love to learn it is impossible to be bored.

Feel better soon.

Love, O

we_be_toys said...

Dear Chani, I hate to hear you're under the weather - hope you're feeling better soon!
I love the History Channel and PBS, when they're doing the Beg-a-Thon (good term!). The just finished running a bunch of Jane Austen based films, like Pride and Predjudice, Emma, and Persuasion. I find I generally like the British versions better - they stick closer to the novels.

I'm thinking I've got a good leg up on dementia (although it does run in my family, but not both sides), since I spend so much time reading and researching. I take notes, but I surprise myself with what I can remember. Good on ya, for working those mental abs and glutes!

Anonymous said...

As usual, I agree with you, even if I haven't confirmed it lately. I always read your posts, but I imagine you'd get sort of tired of me saying "amen" all the time. I don't know why I think that; I like it when people agree with me. :)

Hope you are feeling better soon.

jen said...

i am sorry you are not feeling well, and yet still you took the time to inspire us.

i like your challenge. i've been trying to teach myself something for work, lately the words swarm and i give up too easily. i'll remember this tomorrow and try a bit harder.

Melissa said...

I heard that 77 is the new 50! hehe You are right about keeping the brain challenged. I play word games sometimes to do that. I imagine you'll be reading books next to waterfalls far past the age of 77. Hope you get over your tummy troubles!

womaninawindow said...

When I happen across PBS I realize what a gem it can be. We do watch it during certain hours for the kids but I only happen on it "after hours." I find I need a steady dose of balance, between learning tv and mindless tv (but not too degrading.) Horrible to say? It's like meditation for me. I tune out.

Anonymous said...

Learning is one of the great values of my life. I love to learn, love knowing new things, love the college atmosphere, thirst for knowledge and the new meaning and construction of my reality that comes from that new perspective.

Learning is a gift that keeps us moving forward. I honor you as you seek out knew knowledge and new intellectual vistas.

And I hope you feel better soon!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Chani, I hope you feel much better soon. It's great to be involved with the intellectual world, but it's even better when the physical world is in harmony, too.

Learning rocks my world.

Amy Y said...

I hope you feel better soon!

S and I recently discovered a new TV channel that you might want to try if you are looking for new material... Discovery Home is now Planet Green and they have interesting programming on everything you can imagine on being green/eco~friendly. I find it fascinating and am learning a lot from it!

Ian Lidster said...

May you be well soon.

Carla said...

I love learning, however, I find that there just simply isn't enough time. Hope you're feeling better soon.

Brandi said...

I love Wayne Dyer and have caught his 'change your thoughts, change your life' show several times. and yeah, I dont' like the beg-a-thons either. I actually have no problem with them asking for money. I just don't think they need to expend 15 minutes of every hour doing it. We get.

Staci said...

Feel better soon! I am off to the mountains for a weekend training but look forward to connecting when I return!

MsLittlePea said...

I love PBS for Nova and they have some really interesting documentaries. History and Discovery channel are also favorites in my house. And oh anything about the Roman Empire is just fascinating. Like you, I really didn't enjoy school until my last couple years of high school where I had some really excellent teachers that made everything so exciting. When I got to college, I thought I'd died and gone to school heaven. I still love to learn new things.

I hope you're feeling better soon.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

You're right, of course, that mental activity is necessary to keep the brain alive. Unfortunately, it is not a guaranteed preventive, but it certainly helps.

It's hard to imagine life without learning, though. Once we stop collecting new material, we might as well push up daisies because that is the whole point of our being here. Life is a constant learning process, and it would be unutterably dull to deprive ourselves of opportunities to grow.