The Bookworm Sez: “Brain Power” by Michael J. Gelb and Kelly Howell

Brain Powerc.2012, New World Library                $14.95 / $16.95 Canada                      230 pages
Once upon a time, you thought Grandma was old.
It was easy to think that when you were small, and short in both stature and brains. Grandma had to be, oh, probably 50-something then; nowhere near as ancient as you figured her to be. What’s funny is that you’re now around the same age as Grandma was when you thought she was a fossil, and “old” seems very far away.
So how do you keep that mindset?  How can you stay sharp and mentally active for the rest of your life?  Find the answers in the new book “Brain Power” by Michael J. Gelb and Kelly Howell.
Let’s face it: from the moment you were born, you started to get old. Resistance, as they say, is futile so the first thing you can do to age well is to give up the idea that you’ll ever find The Fountain of Youth.
The good news, say the authors, is that your brain is designed to improve throughout life and it won’t wear out. Brain matter benefits from “plasticity,” which means you can even raise your IQ and sharpen your memory if you use what’s in your noggin.
The biggest thing you can to do to help age-proof your brain, according to Gelb and Howell, is to maintain a positive attitude. Studies show that staying engaged in the world around you, cultivating childlike curiosity, looking for positive expectations, and being upbeat can improve memory and mental well-being. Those tips also help your physical state and can lower blood pressure.
Practice GFH (gratitude, forgiveness, and humor). Notice your surroundings and try to learn something new every day. Change your way of looking at aging by changing the way you talk about it: you are not a “geezer” or a “granny.” You are an elder or a matriarch.
Challenge yourself. Learn a musical instrument or a new language. Stay active, stay hydrated, and eat well. Get outside at least 30 minutes a day. Cherish your friends and maintain relationships.
And if all else fails, learn to juggle. It’s fun, and it entertains the grandchildren.
Read any good how-to-age-well-type books lately?
Yes?  Well, then you’ve read this one, too.
“Brain Power” is filled with great tips and ideas for maintaining a youthful presence, no matter how much past youth you get. Authors Michael J. Gelb and Kelly Howell present some interesting and easy-to-do ways to keep active, both physically and mentally, and they even offer some “brain sync audio” downloads that you can use to help keep your grey matter from sinking into the blues.
The problem is that most of this has been written about already – a lot. That doesn’t make it bad information; it’s good, in fact, but it’s been around the block a time or two.
I think if you’re new to these ideas and this is the first book you’ve considered on the topic, what you’ll find in “Brain Power” will be revolutionary. If you’ve read other books like this one, though, this stuff is already old.

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