It’s fun to dream – especially during the holidays – and it’s healthy for your brain and your emotional well being, too.
Caregivers tend to fall into the same daily routines. Having the same thoughts day after day can cause millions of neurons to lock together and form engrams, and soon you feel like you’re stuck in a rut and your mind can become fuzzy and stale.
In an article for Psychology Today entitled The Neuroscience of Imagination, Christopher Bergland explains how aerobic exercise allows us to access our imaginations to stimulate creative thinking and fresh ideas that would be otherwise submerged in our subconscious. He advises us to loosen up and to allow yourself to ‘space out’ and daydream.
…doing so will allow the creative juices to flow more easily. If you do not break apart the engrams connected to the static thinking of your daily routine, you will not create new neural networks needed for imagination.”
Not only can your imagination stimulate creativity, it can also alleviate stress and help you find joy. Most of us have imagined lying on a beach and listening to the waves roll in to relax. Children find joy believing in Santa. There is yet another benefit.
In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared.” – Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling
With personal time at a premium, I try to bundle as many therapies as I can into my “me time.” When I take ballet class, I use exercise, music and my imagination at the same time. As the music begins, I leave the sadness of Alzheimer’s behind and imagine that I’m Clara in the Nutcracker or the Sugar Plum Fairy. Exercising with music and allowing myself to pretend gives me a sense of freedom and exhilaration.
I encourage each of you to find a way to indulge your imagination through music and exercise.
Walk or bike while listening to music on your phone or iPod. Try to find classes like Zumba or Yoga to attend. If you can’t get out of the house, find these classes on your computer. Even just simply listening to music at home will naturally inspire you to move. If you’re a bit unstable, sit in a chair or lie on the floor and move your arms and legs.
I hope this song inspires you to live a little bit more, even if it’s only in your dreams.
May all your dreams come true!
Pretend you’re happy when you’re blue
It isn’t very hard to do
And you’ll find happiness without an end
Whenever you pretend
Remember anyone can dream
And nothing’s bad as it may seem
The little things you haven’t got
Could be a lot if you pretend
You’ll find a love you can share
One you can call all your own
Just close your eyes she’ll be there
You’ll never be alone
And if you sing this melody
You’ll be pretending just like me
The world is mine it can be yours my friend
So why don’t you pretend