Brendon Burchard: Give yourself some credit. You’ve got a big heart, you’ve made it through this far, and you are always, always, always stronger than you think.
Back to the grind for me today. I started a temporary secretarial assignment at a law firm. It’s been a while since I’ve had to worry about document management, expense reports, retainer letters, and other law firm-specific procedures.
So today, I poured a cup of coffee and sat through three hours of online training on the firm’s procedures, with another six hours to follow. It felt great to learn new things, all with a clean slate. As we know, older adults are often encouraged to stay active and engaged to keep their minds sharp, that they have to “use it or lose it.” But new research indicates that only certain activities — learning a mentally demanding skill like photography, for instance — are likely to improve cognitive functioning.
These findings, printed a couple of years ago in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, reveal that less demanding activities, such as listening to classical music or completing word puzzles, probably won’t bring noticeable benefits to an aging mind.
“It seems it is not enough just to get out and do something—it is important to get out and do something that is unfamiliar and mentally challenging, and that provides broad stimulation mentally and socially,” says psychological scientist and lead researcher Denise Park of the University of Texas at Dallas. “When you are inside your comfort zone you may be outside of the enhancement zone.” The new findings provide much-needed insight into the components of everyday activities that contribute to cognitive vitality as we age. (October 2013, Association for Psychological Science)
After today, I’ve determined I’m not temping just for the money, but also for the mental enrichment.