Don't Let Depressing Lead to Depression


The current financial crisis is of course dominating the news headlines -- and thus for many of us, dominating our minds. It's painful to watch our investments dwindling, making those home mortgages ever more daunting, putting home ownership at risk.

It’s all we read about these days, and it is no secret that this information overload can leave us with a serious sense of anxiety and a lack of control. The World Health Organisation has already predicted that by 2020 mental depression in Western countries will become the second highest global burden of disability after heart disease. 

So how do we handle it?

The first thing of course is to remember the old advice and only worry about things you can control. In financial matters, take the appropriate advice and act accordingly. Many of the other matters are outside of our sphere of influence and whilst they are interesting, the volatility will settle down over time. So don’t let them adjust your focus.

The economic collapse serves to highlight the importance of looking after yourself. The aspect of keeping your brain healthy is more important than ever, so you can remain flexible, aware and change things as needed. For many people the prospect of an early retirement has now been postponed indefinitely, meaning we’ll all have to work to an older age. No doubt the world will be a changed place when things settle, but your brain will still be your income-earning asset. So don’t let your best asset deteriorate – your intelligence and creativity will be vital components of how you adapt to the changing environment.

What else can you do to stimulate this brain activity to keep it performing at optimum levels? It’s an appropriate time to broaden our skill base and interests, but to do this let’s take on an unusual approach. 

You've probably heard that the different hemispheres (or sides) of the brain are responsible for different manners of thinking. Most of us will have a distinct dominance by either the left or right side of our brain, which of course determine our learning style. The left side is characterized by logical, sequential, analytical, rational and objective thinking. Research has also shown there are specialized circuits in the left hemisphere for cognitive capacity, problem solving and intelligence.

Your right side will control your random, intuitive and subjective thinking – basically an emotional counterbalance to the analytical left. It is of course a bit simplistic to ascribe rigid functions to particular parts of the brain as the difference is one of degree rather than absolute distinction.


There’s no doubt I’m a "leftie" though as I enjoy activities that are normally associated with the left side of the brain. These include reading, writing, learning a new language, completing number and word games, using simple math and fixing broken objects. Okay, actually I’m hopeless at fixing things, but I do enjoy the others.

So what about the more creative activities some people say are associated with the right brain? Music, no, I don’t have a musical bone in my body. Art, again no, unfortunately drawing stick insects is about the limit of my artistic ability. Imagination, well yes, I’m a dreamer (that’s my biggest fault if you ask my wife).

It soon became obvious that I do exercise one side of my brain predominantly, but is that enough? We all have our talented areas, our interests and our ingrained routines that really allow us to stay inside our comfort zone.

Those of you who listen to the BrainReady podcast will know how difficult it is to transfer your skills from one project, maybe logic and reasoning to another, such as recalling long sequences of numbers, at short notice. Yet it is exactly this stretching of our mental abilities that we need to do. This engages the brain and forces it to work to process the activity or information.

So let’s make a commitment to undertake learning an aspect that we are not familiar, nor comfortable, with. I’ve decided to tackle an artistic drawing and my commitment to you is that I’ll publish it on this site within 6 months. Now that’s a big step if you knew my artistic ability. 

What project will you take on to stretch your mind? It’s time to push yourself, decide on your challenge and publically commit to it by letting us know. Just add your comment below and then start your journey...

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