Why A Parent’s Chaotic Life Might Be Good For Your Long-Term Brain Health
Busy doesn’t begin to describe what your life turned into when you had kids and to say you follow a “schedule” implies a level of organization to which you’re not entitled. Instead, what you have could be more accurately described as a clusterf–k, and you don’t expect it to sort itself out until the kids go to college. But new research published in the journal Frontiers In Aging Neuroscience should soften the blow slightly, because your brain might be better off in the long run from all this madness.
The study recruited 330 adults ages 50 to 89 from the Dallas Lifespan Brain Study (DLBS) and had them complete a cognitive battery test and the Martin And Park Environmental Demands Questionnaire (MPED), assessments that measure both your brain and busyness. The results showed that the busier schedules resulted in better processing speed, working memory, episodic memory, reasoning, and crystallized knowledge — which you don’t have to turn into Walter White to achieve. You just have to get old, and you’re already working on that.
Experts suspect that the reason busy brains get stronger with age is that they have the daily exercise of performing task after task. Although it might like your memory packed up and moved out with your youth, it’s actually putting in reps you don’t realize right now (because you’re too busy). Once you get to your 50s, that will pay dividends as long as you stay productive. But look on the bright side — at least you’ll finally be able to find your keys.