Years ago I had a newsletter that I gave out to audience members. It was printed on glossy 17 X 11 paper that was folded in half to make four pages. There was a main article, a letter to the reader, a shorter piece or quiz or list, and news about upcoming events. I handed it out at speaking engagements and mailed it out to former clients and audiences. I was proud of what went into it and the feedback it generated.
Fast forward to today. I’ve started an e-newsletter for my new aging topics. While the process of writing and designing it are as much fun as before, I’ve had to learn all kinds of things to produce and distribute it electronically.
First, to avoid being viewed as a spammer and to reach a much larger audience, I had to get up to speed with using new software. Then I quickly discovered that email addresses are much easier to make mistakes with than postal ones. All in all, it took much longer to get going than I had expected. But challenging myself to learn something new and work out different types of problems has the positive side effect of helping my brain thrive.
When faced with the prospect of learning something new, as long as it’s something I am passionate about and enjoy, the effort gives my brain a workout and stimulates new ways of thinking. Just as going back to college served to keep my mind stimulated, tackling the issues of producing and distributing an e-newsletter has sharpened the old noggin.
As I write this, I have just a few wrinkles left to be ironed out. I am nervous and excited to step into this new territory. But in a few days my newsletter will hit email boxes across the country. And throughout this process, I have been contributing to my cognitive health.
What is there that you are interested in learning to do? There’s no better time than right now to stretch beyond your comfort zone and reap the benefits of both a new experience and better mental health. You could start with something as simple as taking a different route to work or testing out a new recipe. Then dare to go for something else, like learning a new skill or doing what you’ve always wanted to do but were afraid to try. For the sake of your brain and your life, try something new.