Managing the aging process

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silmcoach
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Managing the aging process

Post by silmcoach »

As we grow older our cognitive processes gradually decline. Turned 70 I am aware of this in aspects of my own mental processing. Unconscious control of routine behaviour is no longer 100% reliable.

Most of what we do is controlled unconsciously. We may think "I'd like a cup of tea", but from then on we do not, in familiar surroundings, consciously control all the actions required to make a cup of tea. You don't tell yourself to get out the chair, to put one foot in front of the other to walk to the kitchen, or to turn the tap on and fill the kettle with water, and so on.

However, now, I might sometimes forget to switch the kettle on and wonder why it's taking so long to boil, or even, forget that I was going to make a cup of tea while doing something else, waiting for the kettle to boil.

Aware of this, I started giving myself verbal instructions, such as "Take the card out the machine after paying for goods", (fortunately, with Contactless Payment, that is not a worry anymore). Crossing the road, I found I needed to consciously focus on approaching traffic, rather than casually looking, and just crossing the road. I realized I could no longer rely 100% on my judgement of the speed of oncoming vehicles. For safety's sake I needed to ask myself, "Will I make it?".

What's interesting is that I no longer have to verbalize these conscious checks on intended actions. I seem to have developed a kind of background, almost semi-conscious censor, that is overseeing my behaviour. So as I cross the road I am fully aware of my looking left and right and of my assessment of the speed of an oncoming vehicles. The same with my keys, to be aware of putting them back safely in my pocket, or hanging them up in the usual place at home. It is wonderful how the brain can adapt, as one process begins to wane another system can step in to support it.
silmcoach
Greatest wealth - happy heart, peace of mind :D

silmcoach
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Posts: 167
Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2005 4:28 pm
Location: Dorset, UK
Contact:

Re: Managing the aging process; Handwriting

Post by silmcoach »

I write (by hand) most early mornings and noticed that my handwriting was deteriorating to the extent of becoming almost illegible for some words. Again I used this technique of paying conscious attention to what I do, in this case consciously controlling the formation of each individual letter. It took me back to my early days in school when I learnt to write by writing lines of individual letters.

My writing slowed considerably to begin with, as I consciously controlled writing each letter, in particular the shape and way I wrote "m", "n", "th", "k" and joined other letters together. These had become just scribbles across the page. After a couple of weeks I had changed the way I wrote these letters to well-formed rise and fall flowing curves. Another week and I noticed that I was still consciously following my writing but without intentionally controlling it. My writing speed is perhaps 10% slower, but it is actually a joy to write, a pleasurable experience. Perhaps that is the appeal of calligraphy.

Pleased to say that when I look at a page of my writing now it is easy to read and pleasing to the eye.
silmcoach
Greatest wealth - happy heart, peace of mind :D

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