Science news: Being busy is good for your neurons
Research in neuroscience reveals a relationship between having a hectic lifestyle and greater cognitive power in the over 50s.
The study carried out by The Dallas Lifespan Brain Study (DLBS) showed that participants reporting high degrees of busyness in their lives could show better brain processing speed, working memory, episodic memory (remembering details of events), verbal fluency, reasoning, and crystallized knowledge.
Often being busy carries a negative connotation: people complain about their hectic schedules and previously it has been thought that the stress associated with busyness narrows attention and impairs working memory, resulting in more mistakes and forgetting things.
But this new study suggests that dealing with a lot of new information promotes new neurons and the development neural scaffolding and brain reserves, allowing the brain to be more efficient. Also that encountering more diverse stimuli, reliance on memory and more complex decision making allows the brain to expand its processing resources.
Conclusion: stay busy. It’s good for your brain. (It’s the stress you don’t need.)