Guest Author - Debbie Mandel
I knew if I researched long enough and hard enough, I would come up with proof that thinking outside the box is helpful as an Alzheimer’s preventative and treatment for the early stages. Actually, I never learned to think within normal parameters. People always accused me of being different on purpose or just plain crazy. However, with all my articles, radio shows, workshops and book, Turn On Your Inner Light, I have earned the right not to be called crazy, but eccentric. That’s an improvement and I will take it! The creative process is mysterious. What we do know is that creativity produces new neural pathways. In the case of Alzheimer’s where there is shrinkage of the hippocampal fissure, responsible for many of the symptoms associated with the disease pathology, thinking outside the box, creates other pathways to compensate for function loss—an auxiliary system to the rescue.
Thinking outside the box means coloring outside the lines, not dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s. Express yourself for who you are without fear of drawing attention to yourself or getting criticized. Many of us have always looked towards conformity as a way of ingratiating ourselves with others, making no waves and thus gaining acceptance and compliments, “You’re a good little girl or boy!” Society thrives on conformity: religion, schools and most jobs.
Well, guess what- it’s unhealthy! Let that impulsive inner child out. Follow the road least taken. It is never too late for patients or caregivers to honor their authentic selves. I do many stress- reduction workshops in convents. And I found an eye opening study conducted by Dr. Snowdon on elderly nun’s brains showing that even though, certain autopsied brains displayed the typical tangles and plaques of Alzheimer’s, the affected nuns did not always show symptoms of the disease while they were alive. Upon studying the case histories it was discovered that the nuns who did not have any symptoms of Alzheimer’s were “different,” “individuals” within the structured organization of the religion they practiced. The brains of these nuns built additional neural pathways that must have compensated for brain loss. They found another way. So don’t put your energy into worrying. Instead look for creative solutions.
Turn On Your Inner Light:
Fitness For Body, Mind and Soul
by Debbie Mandel