Your Brain: Using the GPS or the phonebook affects memory or your brain’s ability to orient itself. Find out how technology may be affecting your health.
The navigator in the car or mobile phone is “salvation” for many of us when it comes to reaching a specific destination. There is no need to glance at a map or study a route.
You have to be guided by GPS. It is certainly very comfortable, so comfortable that your brain hardly has to make any effort.
The same happens with the mobile phone’s schedule. Or with the calculator. It is proven that using this terminal device every time you have to do a mathematical operation reduces your mental agility.
Technology has made our brains “lazy.”
In short, technology has made things much easier for us. But sometimes so much that the brain runs the risk of “going lazy.”
1. The Car’s Gps “Atrophies” the One in Your Brain
A study from University College London led by Hugo Spiers has shown that the use of GPS decreases the hippocampus functions, a region of the brain related to the ability to orient oneself.
The prefrontal cortex, in charge of planning, decision making, and resolution of problems.
Challenge your brain to keep it young
- On the contrary, the researchers found that these areas had peaks of activity when finding their destination without the navigator’s help.
- In short, doing without GPS means that when you arrive at a new street and decide which way to choose, your mind simulates several routes and determines which one to take.
But if the browser tells you that, the brain disengages and finds it increasingly difficult to orient itself.
2. The Use (and Abuse) of the Mobile Phone “Oxidizes” Your Memory
A few years ago, a study from this same university showed that the brains of London taxi drivers who memorized all the streets of the city were larger and had more grey matter than those who did not.
Specifically, his hippocampus was more developed, and this area is also related to memory.
The study of taxi drivers can be perfectly extrapolated to the use of mobile phones today. When using it:
- Not only do we not remember phones.
- We also don’t try to remember important appointments because we put them on the calendar.
- And if we have to buy something we also write it down in the “notes” section or somewhere else on the phone.
- Ultimately, we do not strive to memorize.
And exercising memory is the best ally to prevent the brain from shrinking over the years, that is, from ageing.
3. Challenge Your Brain, And You’ll Keep It, Young
Don’t do everything with the right. Or with the left if you are left-handed. Try doing little things with your non-dominant hand: looking in your bag for the keys, opening the door, putting the watch on the opposite side.
This so simple makes your brain create new brain connections.
Don’t always go the same way. Change the sidewalk, alter the order of the stores you visit when shopping. Look for new routes, whether you go by car or on foot.
It is a great stimulus that puts your brain’s orientation ability into practice. And don’t think that you’re going to miss out. That fear makes something as simple as changing route a mountain.
Finding new routes stimulates your brain.
Read different books. It’s an easy and affordable way to pit your brain against something else. Making an effort to read an essay, business or sports news, or just poetry requires extra attention.
And learn new things. A language, to cook or to do some craft that catches your attention. Learning something different makes multiple areas of your brain work. No more is studying music.
The brain connections it creates have been shown to prevent Alzheimer’s.
Learning music increases neural connections.
a. Make lists
Make lists and more lists. From the places you’ve travelled. From the last books, you have read about the foods that you liked the most. This simple tool forces you to associate some data with others, which is good for your brain.
In the shopping list, write down what you need but do not take it with you to the supermarket, try to remember it.
Memorize 8-10 phone numbers in memory. That of your partner, children, parents, siblings. It is a good mental exercise that few people do today. Learn them and try to remember them several times a week.
As you will see, making your brain work can be stimulating and fun. And remember that to keep it young, you need two things basically: variety and curiosity.