Sunday, September 16, 2018

Overcoming Brain Freeze

I had trouble thinking of a word this morning and fear of Alzheimer's attacked.  I then opened my devotional to find this Matthew Henry quote:
"The Lord shall prevent the evil thou fearest, and sanctify, remove, or lighten the evil thou feelest. He will preserve thy soul, that it be not defiled by sin, and disturbed by affliction; he will preserve it from perishing eternally.  He will keep thee in life and death; going out to thy labor in the morning of thy days, and coming home to thy rest when the evening of old age calls thee in.  It is a protection for life."  
Isn't that lovely?  It is from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary, Psalm 121.

In prayer, I think the Lord provided me encouragement on how to handle those "brain freezes" that seem to happen more frequently for most of us as we age.  For me the first step is to remain calm, avoid the adrenalin surge of fear to which I'm prone, and if I'm writing and not speaking to come in the back door (I think when speaking it's best just to laugh and proceed with another workable term if possible, and please, do it quickly).

Now if you are interested in a kind of brain exercise that I believe is helpful in forming new pathways when age (or Lord help me, disease) has destroyed a connection, here is how I managed this morning.

I was making a list of things to do, and was reluctantly giving way to the nudge I feel to reactivate my Instagram account.  But the word "Instagram" would not come to my mind.  Brain freeze!  Here are the steps I followed: 

1.  Don't give way to fear, the Lord is with me (take it in stride).
2.  If speaking, find another term or laugh and change the subject--keep moving.
3.  When writing, take the time to go through these steps:
a.  Brainstorm.  Beware of similar terms that are inaccurate; they provide roadblocks that stop me cold. Ignore them.  
b.  Come in the back door, another way, through another connection.  Allow seemingly random words or thoughts to come to the fore
c.   When I reach the searched-for word by one of those random connections, find a way to remember it, forming a new connection.  
Here's how this looked for me this morning.

1.  Prayed
2.  Brainstormed:  image, snapchat, share, iMax.  I recognized snapchat and iMax as roadblocks and ignored them.
3.  Random term I allowed to come to the fore was "Kardashian."  I didn't take time to question this I just let it pop up.
4.  The correct word then popped into my head, "Instagram."
5.  I analyzed the new connection that had formed in my brain: when I read entertainment news it has often occurred to me that the Kardashians would be better off if Instagram were not so instant.  This was the connection that allowed the word "Instagram" to come to the fore.

The above process took about 30 seconds, time well spent because forming new connections in our brains as we age is important.  Those new connections can allow us to continue to function more or less normally for a longer period of time when old connections have, for some reason, stopped working for us.

Note:  whether I ought to waste my time reading entertainment news might be the subject of a future blogpost.  It pops up on internet news sources such as CNN, Fox News, etc., and a discipline we all need to cultivate in this day and age is knowing when not to click on a story!


  1. ☺️ Very interesting process you have there. I have been having brain freezes for over two decades. My sister, four years younger, has them, too. We have become most adept at conversation, but it drives anyone listening to us batty. It definitely helps to have a shared history.

    1. LOL, Vee! Yes, the shared history helps, but doesn't it bother you when your sister helps you by making guesses at what you might be trying to say? When my loved ones do this it seems to lower the temperature of the freeze rather than thawing it out for me!!! :-)