Two years ago around Halloween I lost a relative due to symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Though he didn’t pass from the disease itself, he passed after his desire to fight fell away. Today I’m a different person. Everything I do is intentional. And the one part of my life I’m the most intentional with is my brain health.
With the mainstream focused on slowing the symptoms with medications, more emphasis is leaning towards prevention. And one of the best ways to protect your health is by learning your entire life. But if I remember back to my days in school, the last thing I wanted to do as an adult was learn.
What science is discovering is nothing short of remarkable. The more a person learns the stronger their health remains – well into their latter years.
As our family faced the loss of our family member, we realized his love for music never faded. This one fact caused me to dive deeper into the subject, leading me to a newer appreciation for music.
But that wasn’t all I learned.
Before I get too in-depth about this subject, I ask you stop and think about everything going into playing the guitar. The reading of tabulator (or sheet music), hand and eye coordination, finger and hand dexterity just to name a few.
Each time I made it past a hurdle I felt accomplished. Whenever I learn a new chord, a new scale, or a better hand position, it kept me pressing forward. No matter how my day went, if I had a good practice session, I was happy.
If I had a bad practice session, that too pressed me forward. Tomorrow I’d come back with a fresh perspective and nail that troubling scale.
Increasing Brain Activity
In school I had a professor who explained how my brain cells work. He said that whenever you learn something (anything) new, new brain cells come together creating new connections. And the more you practice the new activity you’ve learned, the better those brain connections.
Ever notice how something new is hard to do at first? The reason for the initial difficulty comes from the new connections coming together in your brain. But to develop a level of mastery you have to keep practicing. And once you master whatever you learned, it’s time to make it harder or learn something different.
Guitar and Your Overall Health
I love the holidays. It’s a time where our family comes together singing songs and playing music. I love looking around the room and watching everyone smiling and singing as I play my guitar. It’s something I’ll never forget.
When I play there is a part of me that comes alive. A part which never surfaces until I sit with my guitar and play whatever I want. It makes me feel good and proves to be the best stress reliever imaginable. When I play, I eat better and I have the desire to exercise. To me, playing my guitar IS the best medicine.