Magical Medical Tour: MIND. YOUR OWN BUSINESS
During a recent trip visiting my family, I had the opportunity to observe an interesting juxtaposition between the mind of my 92-year old father(a former educator), who is losing many of his mental capacities, and my nine-year old nephew (diagnosed with autism and delayed development), who is succeeding in his efforts to gain mental capacities. Throughout my life I have appreciated the vast diversity of minds. During my medical school training, I chose a psychiatric elective in a locked ward where I would be in a room with 20 people debilitated by various psychoses. Many were a danger to themselves and others. None were capable of interacting safely in society. They were all hearing voices of various deities and devils giving them information and instructions. Some spoke “in tongues” that were not comprehensible to me, although they all seemed to be in full communication with each other. I realized that I was in the minority, the only one not hearing the voices or understanding the language. Most of these people had either a deficiency or excess of specific chemical neurotransmitters that created their “state of mind”. Just a few drops of one of these chemicals determinded the fine line between normal and abnormal.
What fragile beings we are. Certainly, the mind spectrum I have observed includes my associations with colleagues, friends, gurus, monks, mystics and the myriad of patients with minds that have been altered by toxins, strokes and traumatic brain injuries.
There is now enough medical knowledge to treat or transplant almost every organ in the body. The brain and its nervous system are the final frontier. Studies are being done every day establishing insight in to the workings, capacity and adaptability of this fascinating collection of cells. New research is supplying data regarding the effects of diet, toxins, exercise, stress and sleep. More recent studies reveal the positive effects of a daily practice of mindful meditation in areas related to awareness, memory, learning and more. Use of imaging studies like an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and other types of scans are showing actual structural changes in specific parts of the brain that correlate with awareness, memory, etc. We can actually improve our brains and, consequently, our quality of life.
In life, we make sacrifices of time, money and health for our business or profession. Years are spent in education and training. Money is borrowed and spent with risk of loss or debt. We give up sleep, meals and health for our business. With hard work and perseverance, we usually succeed. However, many of these sacrifices eventually have ill effects on our bodies and minds.
Yet many of us will not put out the same effort to invest in our mind.
Protect your brain by wearing appropriate head gear during certain physical activities.
Allow for healing when injured even slightly.
Become proactive: promote your mind and mental health.
Avoid toxins when possible.
Deal with stress and get quality sleep.
Develop a daily practice of mindful meditation.
Your mind is your main business. Invest in it and the dividends will pay off with interest.
Stay tuned for the next blog covering other aspects of my Magical Medical Tour:
[tags]magical medical tour, Glenn Wollman MD, medical school training, mental health, magnetic resonance imaging, MRI[/tags]