Like many baby boomers, Iíve been noticing my memory isnít as sharp as it once was. †Scientists call this ďcognitive decline.Ē I donít really like that expression, because other aspects of my cognitive functions are sharper than ever. For example, more often I canít remember where I put my car keys or I enter a room forgetting why I went there and have to retrace my steps back to where I started to remember. However, my problem-solving abilities and intuitive discernment are getting more keen and refined.
A recent CNN news report said cognitive decline begins around age forty. Iíve read other reports that say we are sharpest up to age 25-35. One thing these reports hardly ever discuss is how our emotions affect our cognitive functions and that we can improve our minds, not just by playing puzzles or going back to school, but by reducing our stress and increasing how much time we spend in positive emotional states.
Stressful emotions that we all experience at times, like anxiety or worry, anger and fear, invariably lead to stress and tend to cause a desynchronization in the activity in the brain and nervous system, which directly impairs cognitive functions. In fact, itís well established that ongoing stress is a major contributor to the decline of our cognitive functions. On the other hand, when we have a more positive outlook, when weíre feeling hopeful, appreciative, caring and loving, it improves the way our brain and nervous system process information.
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