Cose da fare

Questa sera avrei voglia di scrivere, ma per qualche strano motivo l’ispirazione mi manca. Allora uso quello che ha scritto qualcun altro. Viene da un utente del forum del Longevity Institute, Advocacy & Research for Unlimited Lifespans, come si evince dal sottotitolo. Detto così sembrerebbe una gabbia di tanti Margherita Hack e Piergiorgio Odifreddi, nella realtà si trovano ragazzi giovani, con grandi conoscenze e idee nuove, nulla a che vedere colle logore e polarizzanti ideologie che dominano il mondo.

Questa sotto è una lista di cose da fare nella vita, cose che daranno uno scopo e un senso alla tua vita, che ti renderanno felice, in salute, e soddisfatto di te… Cose grandi, perché bisogna essere grandi al giorno d’oggi per non cadere nella negatività imperante, nella nevrosi diffusa, nella pigrizia dell’anima, nella vita di morte che tanti morti là fuori conducono ogni giorno… Grettamente attaccati alle loro misere abitudini per il cui attaccamento pateticamente razionalizzano giustificazioni; contenti solo quando mangiano bevono o incassano denaro, con cui non faranno mai niente di bello.

Questo è allora un’inno alla vita vera, a chi cerca qualcosa di speciale e non è soddisfatto della mediocrità, a chi rifugge ciò che è vecchio e cerca costantemente il nuovo.

  • Do exercise, lots of sport, but not too much.
  • Food supplementation, a good choline source (Liver, eggs are fine, but you can also take Alpha GPC or CDP choline). Omega-3 are also something you can look into. Make perhaps a blood test and look for vitamin deficiencies – B6 or B12 could significantly improve your cognition.
  • Piracetam. It is the safest drug ever and it can literally unlock abilities you didn’t think you had, by making the communication between your two hemispheres much more effective. Better auditory processing, better visual imagery, etc.
  • Living in a rich environment is a good way to keep your mind healthy, but keep in mind that if you want your brain to improve significantly, you have to consider it in a semi-metaphorical way like a muscle; you have to work it hard enough if you want improvements.
  • Travel a lot, visit new places, new countries, new cultures. Go once in a while in museums or art galleries, look into everything, memorize a lot, contemplate the paintings and look for symbols, reflect on your own past and look at what memories they bring from you.
  • Learn new languages, a tonal language such as Chinese can prove very effective as it makes your brain work harder since different part have to adapt significantly in order for you to perceive the different pitches, tones, etc.
  • Listen to intelligent music; classical music is a good place to start, but that doesn’t exclude other genres, as there are intellectually stimulating pieces found in rock or even in pop music, though there is a lot of junk to filter through.
  • Give away your TV; you don’t need it. It’s a brain duller. Give it to family, or to charity, sell it, just don’t use it again.
  • An hypocaloric diet, done properly, can stimulate your brain. It’s hard to do properly, there are many variables to take into consideration, especially if you do sport. Though, a healthy died is still much better for your brain than fast food, etc.
  • Learn new games. Sudoku is a good game; if you can solve a grid in under 20 minutes, you can move to the next levels. Always keep going and solve harder and harder games – you don’t have to finish 50 grids from one level to move to the next. If it takes you two hours to finish a grid, and you got a headache – it’s a good thing. It means your brain worked very hard and began to make new connections, new capillaries – blood vessels – are being made, etc. Next grid from the same level will take you less time; after a night sleep, it will take twice as well; when you reach the 20-30 minutes mark, move to a harder level.
  • The dual n-back exercise for working memory is amazing. You can find a downloadable version hereor a flash based version at cognitivefun.net.
  • Drawing; it’s a very good skill to have, because it improves spatial manipulation (rotations of objects in your mind, visualizing something in different perspectives, etc), visual imagery – you can see things in a near photographical details in your mind. You’ll also build up a set of reference that will help you remember things much better; all the line, curves, circles and other shapes you draw countless time will after a while make a reference that you’ll use subconsciously when looking at anything; a landscape will be decomposed in more basic elements and it will give you the ability to remember things in vivid clarity.
  • Puzzles, crosswords, chess, all those are very good exercises.
  • Keep a journal, write your thoughts, facts you learn each day, train-of-thoughts exercises, make little sketches, write anecdotes, names of people you met, details about them such as the shape of their nose, ears, eyes, colour of hair, etc. Once in a while, read through the previous entries and you’ll see you’ll be able to remember all those days since you began that journal with more clarity.
  • Learn human anatomy. Buy a skeleton, preferable a real one, and a good reference book (with descriptive text, not only anatomical boards). Feel the texture of each bone, of each part of bone, the shape, proportions, draw them from many angles while you have them in front of you, draw them from memory. Look at the ligaments insertions, try to add layers of muscles, blood vessels, nerves, etc. It is a very good exercise for your brain – not only you’ll have a more accurate image of yourself but you’ll learn to pay attention to much more details in your everyday life, when meeting new people, etc.
  • If you have a boring and repetitive job, quit it. Routine work is a brain-killer. If you can’t quite it for some reason, then try to change those routines into learning experiences. If you do something manual, say, with you right hand – switch to the left and do it until you master it as well. Learn to write with the opposite hand.
  • Learn a new handwriting – find charts with letters on Google Image, or letters from various known people, print them, and try to write each letter separately with the new handwriting, until you master it. After a few days, it will become natural. Then learn another set of handwriting.
  • Read a lot – but always read harder texts. Sometime, your favourite fantasy novel isn’t enough – it’s the same vocabulary, the same reasoning, you don’t learn much except a new plot. Read complex stories, poetry, drama pieces. Read them in other languages after that.
  • Change the way you live, open the windows more frequently, never close the stores, have thin curtains which let lots of light through. Make some space, throw away unnecessary furniture – well, throw away (or give to charity) things which aren’t essential to you; old toys, machines or things you will use again. Sometime we accumulate things and we refrain from throwing them away because we may need it – it always turns out we didn’t need it – and even if we did, it’s rarely a big loss – it can even be a positive thing. I threw away once something which I needed later – ended up meeting new interesting people as I had to go to a special store and I still keep in touch with those people.
  • Sleep well, not too much, not too little. If you have trouble sleeping, take a little Melatonin. 1mg melatonin is very safe – and generally enough to fine tune your sleep. Most people take one order of magnitude more (10 time as much) but that’s most of the time more than necessary.
  • If you have a treadmill, make a DIY platform for your laptop or just something you can put a book on and read while you walk / run on the treadmills – I do watch documentaries or TTC courses (Math lessons, or lectures – there is a lot of free material from some universities, even the lectures) while running. There’s the MIT Open CourseWare, I believe. But just google it, there are lots of sources for knowledge. I end up running for two hours, being absorbed in some lectures or sudoku grids – and I feel very refreshed after that both physically and mentally.
  • Drink lots of water – heh, always a good advice.
  • To other posters: don’t hesitate to post ideas – if someone has a good idea to improve one’s brain and life, do share it.
  • To OP: those are only a few of the possible ways to become smarter. As I said, the brain is somewhat like a muscle – you have to work it hard to get benefits. The more you do the same thing, the less benefit you get from it; it means that either you have to go one step up in difficulty, or do something else.
  • A good indicator for great changes is headaches; it’s like muscle aching after exercises. It means your brain worked very hard and is changing anatomically – new connections, arteries- some parts are expanding, while other less useful parts are shrinking.
  • Good nutrition and even supplementation will help your brain do this process faster, though – lots of omega 3, lots of choline. Eat healthy, don’t eat vegetarian. You need proteins.
  • Don’t hesitate to make drastic changes – it helps for some people much more than gradual changes, as you are somewhat forced to adhere to those plans. Throwing/giving away the TV will only be good because even if you have those impulses to be lazy – well, too bad, you can’t be lazy – there’s no TV! =D
  • Impulse control is a good indicator whether a child is likely to succeed in life or not. Google the Stanford Marshmallow experiment. Even some of it can be found in the HighScope Perry Preschool program; impulse control has part of a genetic basis, but also part of an educational basis. Both nature and nurture; even if you have difficulties controlling your impulses (obesity, smoking are generally two good indicators) you can still reign them by hard work.

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