Wednesday, December 06, 2006

ACTIVATION -- or stress?

The brain requires some pushing of its edges in order to grow those all-important dendrites. But when is this pushing a form of stress which releases cortisol? Cortisol is not what we are looking for in terms of helpful brain chemicals.

Everyone has their own threshold when it comes to healthy stress versus damaging stress. One way to assess your choices of brain-growing activities is to watch your emotional landscape. You know when you're enjoying an activity or pursuit. You know when it's a real turn-on. Listen to your whole body to discover the point when you are pushing too far. Deep fatigue is one signal. Getting sick is another. Feelings of irritability that last longer than a day (or longer than the full moon for some of us!) may indicate a course correction.

Even before you start a new pursuit, you can use these signals to assess the value and wisdom of what you are considering. Are you worrying about the outcome more than you are feeling excitement and joy?

Stress also has its up side. In some of the brain exercises now being made available, the pattern is to push the intellect harder and harder, increasing complexity. Just like pushing your muscles to develop, the brain will respond with dendrite growth.

Weigh both sides of stress as you develop your plan of activation for your own brain growth.

Let me know how it goes.


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