New Year / Fresh Start Social Connections
This is the last domain of the Virtual Brain Wellness model. These overarching domains have encompassed brain wellness in a doable fashion. It is one thing to know what you need to do, but it is an entirely different thing to actually live this brain healthy lifestyle. I hope that these blogs have helped you understand how important it is to live this type of lifestyle so that you can prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
As I have already written, and continue to speak about, is the importance of connecting with other people. The pandemic has made it brutally obvious that isolation leads to depression, anxiety, and is conducive to accelerating cognitive decline. Why did this happen?
We are recipients of our prehistoric ancestors’ brain hardwiring. In order for them to survive they needed to stay part of the group. If you became isolated, you were dinosaur for sure!! Because being connected to a group played such an important part of their survival, their brains created the hardwiring that we have inherited. Until the pandemic shut us all down last year, the most successful connectors thrived. They had their tribe – their friends and acquaintances who were there for them in good times and in bad. Social connections actually increase cognitive skills. It has been a tough year.
Virtual Social Connections
Like other circumstance that pop up in our lives, we needed to adapt to our current environment. Our brains are very capable of adapting – this is known as neuroplasticity. If we adapt to our negative conditions – like the isolation from the virus – we are at risk of depression and anxiety, as well as cognitive decline.
In that regard, the Virtual Brain Health Center has created an environment where you can connect with like-minded individuals as you reignite your cognition. And it all comes to you – in your home. Technology is an intimate part of our lives now and VBHC has created programming to challenge and build your brain reserve.
Supportive Virtual Community
Remember, you need to have your tribe to go to. The term tribe is very much part of the vernacular these days. It means your group of friends that are with you through thick and thin. When it is a virtual connection you need to be a little more diligent about making and nurturing that relationship. Have a follow-up discussion about a particular class; search new classes and talk about why you are interested in taking that particular class. The onus for discovering where your virtual friends are rests with you. This too will help your brain. It is a win-win for all of you who participate on the VBHC platform.
Opportunities to Engage with Peers
I speak for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute through the University of Cincinnati. It has been quite a few years since I started speaking there. There have been a lot of people who have gotten to know me through these talks and they always make sure they sign up for any talk I am giving. When I spoke – live – I got to see how people made friends just by continually being at my presentations. Now it is virtual, and the trend continues. What I noticed now is – they will get together at one person’s home and watch it as a group – in a virus safe manner! It is gratifying to me to see these groups get together and continue to develop lifelong friendships through their mutual interests.
These opportunities to meet friends with similar interests is part of the community benefit VBHC offers. Again, it is a different experience to do this virtually, but it is
no less enriching when done by way of a computer screen.
Purposeful Group Experiences
The model has been laid out for you. You know how important connecting to others is to your own brain health. When you are participating in a group, it raises the energy of the group and provides a very worthwhile experience. Each person contributes their enthusiasm and that results in a more powerful training. The synergy of a group is more potent than the sum of each person’s power. As a group you continue to learn and benefit from each other. It is exciting when you see this happen.
There is always opportunity in the guise of a problem. Little did we know last year that the paradigm of friendship in our later years would change so much. Dr. Krystal Culler, founder of VBHC, truly understood the sacrifices all of us were making and the declines in cognitive skill we were facing. The Virtual Brain Health Center has so much to offer to sustain and improve our brain health and wellness. Remember – wherever you live you can have access to VBHC. (www.virtualbrainhealthcenter.com)