Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2021 – #Potluck – #BrainHealth – Another reason to read and write…by Gwen Plano

Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1100 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine.

The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics. This series is along the same lines… but is a ‘Lucky Dip’

In this series I will be sharing posts from the first six months of 2021 and on occasion I might dip into months either side to share gems. Submissions are now closed but there will be another series in January 2022.

This is the first post from author Gwen Plano and I am sharing a post that Gwen wrote for Story Empire which I am sure will be of great interest to all writers.

Another reason to read and write…

After learning that March is Brain Injury Month, I thought it might be interesting to share some medical benefits of reading and writing. Before we begin that discussion, though, I’ll digress with a personal story.

In December 2018 I had neurosurgery and in February 2020, just as COVID reared its ugly head, I had my second surgery. Because of an unusual spine disorder, I developed multiple leaks along the spinal dura which ultimately caused my brain to sink into the cervical area of my neck. I know that sounds strange, but it happened. Fortunately, I had one of the best neurosurgeons in the world and a very positive outcome. Prior to the surgeries, I had severe narcolepsy. I could fall asleep midsentence and not remember a thing. I had limited use of my fingers and could only raise my arms slightly. I glimpsed dementia and suffered debilitating headaches. All of this scared me and my family mightily.

After the second surgery, I miraculously could use a fork again. I could speak in sentences. I could stay awake. I could write and feverishly started doing so. I also began researching how I could help my brain recover from the injuries it sustained. And that is what I want to share with you today.

Most of us know that diet and exercise have a positive effect on our well-being. We eat our blueberries and dark chocolate, use turmeric freely and might even drink green tea. Most of us also exercise. These are all well-known gold standards. But what you may not be aware of is that reading and writing surpass these gold standards when it comes to neurogenesis. Reading and writing help keep our brain cells alive.

Studies at Harvard Medical School and other notable institutions underscore the importance of both reading and writing. It turns out that these two practices reduce the rate of memory decline by 32%. That’s pretty amazing, don’t you think?

When we read or write, several regions of the brain are involved in the processing of information to create connections. These connections are what give life to the brain cells and generate more.

Here are a few of the top recommended practices.

  1. Enhance your Mental Stimulation through reading, writing, studying, and researching. What weightlifting achieves for bodybuilders, these mental practices do for the brain by increasing and fortifying the cells. New skills that push us beyond our comfort zone do the same. As we learn, by stretching ourselves with one project or another, we create connections between nerve cells and generate new ones. So when we struggle with a poem or post or a particular chapter in our latest and greatest, we need to remind ourselves that we’re making connections, the really important kind.
  2. Engage in Social Networking: According to researchers, a large network of family and friends and participation in social activities through blogs, zoom, or in person, stimulate the brain and support cognitive activities. In other words, they reduce the risk of dementia. Who knew that keeping an active blog could be so important? Right? But through that simple medium, we establish friendships, learn new skills, and share information. We create a family of sorts.
  3. Free your Inner Child: A favorite expression of author D. L. Finn is to embrace your inner child, and as it happens, researchers have recently studied the benefits of doing just that. They first watched children play in their imaginary worlds and tracked the brain activity. Then they studied adults and encouraged them to let their minds wander freely. What they discovered was an increase in the brain waves coming from the frontal lobe, the area that is associated with creative thinking. With that in mind, if you find yourself dreaming when you’re trying to complete a task, be encouraged. Creative thinking just might follow!

Before we jump into our camper and head out to write our next best seller, I have a closing thought. When asked if there was anything a person could do to slow down cognitive decline, The Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation responded as follows:

“Yes … read more books, write more, and do activities that keep your brain busy irrespective of your age.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling the urge to focus on my WIP. With the medical profession nudging all of us to get busy and write, how can we resist? After all, our brains deserve our attention.

I’d be honored if you’d share your thoughts below. Happy writing and reading everyone!

©Gwen Plano 2021

My thanks to Gwen for allowing me to share the posts from her archives and I know she would love to hear from you.. hugsx

About Gwen M. Plano

Gwen M. Plano, aka Gwendolyn M. Plano, grew up in Southern California and spent most of her professional life in higher education. She taught and served as an administrator in colleges in Japan, New York, Connecticut, and California. Gwen’s academic background is in theology and counseling. Recently retired, she now lives in the Midwest with her husband and enjoys writing and travel.

Gwen’s first book is an acclaimed memoir, Letting Go into Perfect Love. Her second book, The Contract between heaven and earth, is a thriller fiction novel, co-authored by John W. Howell. It has received multiple awards and is an Amazon Best Seller. The Choice, the unexpected heroes is the sequel to The Contract. It is also a thriller, involving the attempt of an unfriendly nation to take over the world. The third book in the series, The Culmination, a new beginning is an action-packed military thriller that spans the globe and involves multiple Heads of State and the threat of World War III. Only love can change the fate of humanity.

When Gwen is not writing, she out and about in the beautiful Ozark mountains which she now calls home.

Books by Gwen M. Plano

Read the reviews and buy the books: : Amazon UKand : Amazon USfollow Gwen : Goodreads –website:Gwen PlanoTwitter: @gmplano


69 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2021 – #Potluck – #BrainHealth – Another reason to read and write…by Gwen Plano

  1. Hi Sally, I remember this post of Gwen’s because it was a most interesting topic. I’d never heard of this particular spinal/cerebral condition. I am very glad, Gwen, that the surgery went so well for you and I thank you for sharing this information about staving off dementia.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Wow. This post from Gwen made me a happy camper!! I’m glad the studies didn’t show that ironing is good for our brains. I’d be in big trouble. But reading and writing? That’s a piece of cake. I’m so sorry to hear about Gwen’s medical condition and delighted that she had such a wonderful recovery. Yay for that. Great share, Sally.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I don’t have any evidence other than my anecdotal experiences, but everything about Gwen’s post rings true with me. I feel sharper when I exercise, read, and write. They are staples of daily life for me now, just like taking a shower or brushing my teeth. I am 100% behind sound mind and body principles.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I remember reading about Gwen’s horrific experience – I can’t imagine how frightening it must have been and am so glad that your brilliant medical care sorted things and very quickly, too. I’m with Diana – thank heavens housework doesn’t appear on the list of things that are good for the brain. It’s a genuine pleasure to read and write and it’s lovely to add this to the reasons to continue doing so. xx

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I swear, I don’t remember reading this one, though my memory is NOT what it was before COVID. If I did read it the first time around, let’s just say I’m amazed all over again at what you’ve gone through, Gwen. But how wonderful to have battled all of that and come out the other side such a winner!!

    I read some time back that the Alzheimer’s Association says reading is the #1 thing you can do to help stave off dementia and other cognitive issues, because it forces you to use your imagination to visualize every scene, each of the characters, and all of the action. When you watch a movie, those things are handed to you on a platter, with no need to engage your own imagination. That made sense to me, and happily, I’ve always been an ardent book lover. I finally decided my spare time was far too limited for me to use any more of it watching tv, so books are pretty much it for me these days. Hopefully, they’ll help keep my brain functioning, along with the writing I’ve been doing.

    And even if I decide to retire from my late-blooming career as an author, I’ve always written just for fun. Poems, letters, and blog posts will probably help keep me going in that area. I also love my crossword puzzles and Jumbles. Heck, even the boring old Word Search puzzle helps me spot patterns, so I do it regularly, too.

    Thanks for sharing Gwen’s inspiring post, Sally, and her important reminder that we can help keep our brains active via reading and puzzle solving. And Gwen, I’m so grateful that you had the best of medical care and came through your experience to be with us here today. I can’t tell you how much I value your friendship and your beautiful writing! 🤗💖 (And btw, just look how much of MY brain I’ve preserved by writing this very lengthy–though heartfelt–comment! 😄)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi,
    I have learned and I am still learning that there is so many things that we can’t explain about living. I say living because life is living. And many times like you have experienced, we wake up caught on our blindside. These are the times when the people who care about us are needed the most. This is when we learn how fragile life really is.
    Thank you so much for sharing your personal testimony. It made the part about reading and writing more important.
    Shalom aleichem


  7. An inspiring and informative post I am happy Gwen found a great surgeon… it all sounds rather horrific to experience…but with a happy outcome and one we can all relate to and hopefully avoid one of my greatest fears Hugs xx

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up 21st – 27th November 2021 – Thanksgiving, Relationship WrapUp, Toto, Christmas Book Fair, Book Reviews, Memories and Humour | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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