Posts Tagged ‘brain’

“Dance to your heart’s content.” – Doc Meek

Exercise with Allison Cameron









Image: Allison Cameron’s Classroom in Saskatchewan

You gotta have fun doing it!

I’ve always said that the brain requires body movement. I use the word “movement” because people groan when I mention the word “exercise” (including me!). 😮

And you have to use the form of movement that you love, or at least is fun.

Why do I have to exercise in a “fun” way?

So that you will keep it up every day (or almost every day) and keep your brain!

“…studies have shown that dancing actually reduces anxiety. In one study reported in Psychology Today, patients who suffered with anxiety were assigned to one of four classes: math, music, exercise or a modern dance class. Only those who took the modern dance class saw a significant reduction in their anxiety.”

– Becky Griffin in Deseret News at this link:

Thank you, Becky Griffin!

Doc Meek, Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada, Saturday, April 18, 2015

“Prayer changes your brain.” Travis Davis, Newsmax

Sunday, December 23, 2012. Today I am grateful for sunshine! – Doc Meek 

A guest post from Newsmax follows:


Science Finally Proves It:
Prayer Changes Your Brain
in 4 Astonishing Ways . . .

Dear Reader,

Millions of Americans believe prayer works. Yet the mainstream media tends to avoid the subject altogether.

But our Mind Health Report team at Newsmax Health wanted answers to questions like these:

  1. Can modern science explain prayer?
  2. Does praying strengthen your brain and prevent mental decline?
  3. What benefits, if any, does prayer offer you — physically, mentally, and emotionally?

To this end, the team went out to the scientific and medical community to learn the potential benefits of prayer — and what they found both surprised and excited all of us here at The Mind Health Report.

The results were so startling, in fact, we created a FREE video presentation to share with you exactly what we discovered.

When you watch this FREE video, you’ll discover how prayer actually changes four distinct areas of your brain. In fact, you’ll see exactly how prayer or other spiritual practices increase activity in the areas of your brain that are most helpful to you, and diminish activity in areas that are less helpful — or even harmful.

You’ll also see:

  • How a specific amount of “prayer time” per day can help prevent memory loss, mental decline, and even dementia or Alzheimer’s . . .
  • The #1 prayer pitfall that can actually make you sick if you’re not careful (this is one of the most important bits of wisdom you’ll ever gain) . . .
  • 47 scientifically proven benefits of prayer, including pain relief, reduced risk of death from heart attack or stroke, lessened anxiety or depression, and more . . .
  • And much, much more . . .

So Take a Few Minutes to See This FREE Video
on the Brain Science Behind Prayer Right Now!

This video does not promote any specific religion or spiritual practice. But it does shed light on a practice that 3 out of 4 Americans engage in on a regular basis — a practice basically ignored by the mainstream media.

Please don’t delay watching this. You could get busy and forget — or the video could be removed and you’ll have lost this special opportunity.

Dedicated to your healthy mind and brain,

Travis Davis
Travis Davis
Newsmax Health Publisher

P.S. See for yourself how prayer activity can be scientifically measured — and how it alters four key areas of your brain. Click here now to take advantage of this special FREE VIDEO about the scientific basis of prayer!

Doc Meek, Sun, Dec 23, 2012, South Jordan, Utah, USA

“Think Smart.” ~ Richard Restak, M.D.

Monday, March 21, 2011. Today I am grateful for those who have pursued knowledge about how the brain works. Such a one is Richard Restak, M.D.
Here is what one reader had to say about Dr. Restak’s book:
5 out of 5 stars A book you can use, not just pop sci theory.
I had a boss who used to yell at us “If you don’t think too good don’t think too much”. Just like a Wall Street hero, no? Anyway, he couldn’t be more wrong. This fine book issues from many years of research to proclaim that we truly can become smarter at a profound yet practical level. We can dwarf the IQs so many of us were saddled with as children. There is nothing…
Published 24 months ago by Aceto
See more 5 star, 4 star reviews
Thank you, Dr. Richard Restak, for taking the time, for many years, to enhance our knowledge of the brain!
Doc Meek, Mon, Mar 21, 2011, Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA

“Ask me anything.” – Doc Meek

Thursday, August 12, 2010. Today I am grateful that I have had more than thirty (30) years of great experience with almost all aspects of education and learning. They call me the “the brain guy.” – Doc Meek

People are always asking me questions about teaching, learning, and how the brain operates. And how the school systems operate.

I am delighted to answer any and all questions! 😮

So this is an open invitation to all of you who are parents, teachers, students, or educational administrators:

“Ask me anything”

I learned that phrase from my internet mentor, Connie Ragen Green. She teaches people how to be a business success on the internet, like she is. She is a great teacher/learner. Kind, considerate, and patiently able to explain answers to all questions, including the “dumb questions” people are almost afraid to ask. That’s Connie.

“There are no dumb questions, ” Connie says, and she practices what she preaches. And she keeps learning. She never stops learning. I think that is one reason she is such a good teacher. She is a good student as well. Thank you Connie! I am grateful for your example.

Same invitation from Doc: “Ask me anything.”

“Ask me anything about education, training, the brain, the mind, behavior, emotion, teaching, teacher training, student learning problems, and so on.”

I have had extensive training and experience with almost all aspects of education and learning, including the administrative and financial aspects. (See my Qualifications Brief by clicking on the date of July 15, 2010, on the calendar on the right-hand side of the screen when you first visit THE LEARNING CLINIC WORLDWIDE blog at

There is almost nothing about education, learning or the brain that you can ask me, about which I have not had some degree of familiarity.

You can ask me with confidence and I will respond with both knowlege and compassion. If I don’t know the answer I will find it for you.

And even a little humor may go a long way, eh?

Years ago, a Calgary magazine reported:

“Dr. Meek brings a unique blend of warmth, intelligence and humor to everything he does.” Thank you, Calgary!

If you have any questions or comments, just click on the little blue word “comments” at the bottom right-hand side of this article, and a form will appear that you can use to ask any question you wish.

Doc Meek, Thursday, August 12, 2010, at Nose Hill Public Library in Calgary, Alberta, CANADA.


J. Collins Meek, Ph.D. (Doc Meek)
“What if you are smarter than you think?”
Learning Specialist

For brain health, ensure heart health (short video):
More on heart health
Ph (801) 971-1812 (Jeannette); Fax [801] 282-6026

CANADA: P.O. Box 3105, Sherwood Park, AB T8H 2T1
TONGA: Mele Taumoepeau, P.O. Box 60, Nuku’alofa
USA: 3688 W 9800 S, #138, South Jordan, UT 84095


“A paper brain is a good thing to have.” – Doc Meek

Pocket Daily Planner Small  Daily Planner Medium  Daily Planner Large  Daily Planners
Pocket Small Medium Large

Images from: ………………………………………………………….

Your own personal paper brain–any size  you like 😮

For years, professionals of all types have been using appointment books, pocket diaries, or day-books to help them keep track of busy days. Mothers of all types have been using home bulletin boards, daily diaries, or refrigerator calendars to help them keep track of busy days for themselves and children and husbands, a complex task indeed.

These paper brains are invaluable. I always encouraged the students whom I was helping to overcome learning problems to carry a paper brain.  I always told them that a paper brain was probably the best friend their brain could have.

Some professionals, mothers, and students have now turned to electronic “keeper-trackers” to help them through their often over-scheduled days. These have been dubbed “PDAs.”

What’s a PDA?

Some of the earlier PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants) were simply electronic versions of paper brains, except that the available “writing space” or “memory space” was much larger. These earlier PDAs had no connection to the internet. Wireless functions are not required for a simple paper brain equivalent.

According to Wikipedia, a PDA is “a personal digital assistant (PDA), also known as a palmtop computer . . . a mobile device which functions as a personal information manager and has the ability to connect to the internet. The PDA has an electronic visual display enabling it to include a web browser, but some newer models also have audio capabilities, enabling them to be used as mobile phones or portable media players . . . . Many PDAs employ touch screen technology.”

A mobile handheld device

Image from Wikipedia: ………………………………………………………………………………

Can we keep up with our paper brain (or electronic equivalent)?

Even though our busy schedule may not overtax the paper brain or the electronic brain, our busy schedule may overtax us, personally. Our brain may be running on overload. And over-loaded brains, sooner or later, bring with them possible anxiety, burnout or depression.

What’s one answer?

Scheduled time for ourselves.

For ourselves alone, private time.

Of course we have to put this appointment with ourselves faithfully into our paper brain or our electronic brain, or it won’t happen.

Book it, and keep it. Then we’ll reap the rewards of a busy day with a real plus:

Time for us.

Of course, you have to consult the paper brain 😮

Sometimes someone may upbraid me for missing an appointment: “You should book your appointments in your paper brain; that’s what others do; that’s what you teach your students.”

My reply?

“I did book it.”

“Then why did you miss this appointment.”

“I did not remember to look in my book.” 😮

Hey, even the best of well-intended systems can break down occasionally, eh? 😮

Summary and Conclusion

In our modern world, anxiety, burnout and depression can be kept at bay by keeping solid appointments with ourselves for scheduled quiet time. The brain loves it. It absolutely needs the respite, and more than that, the brain needs the time to attend to different, vital and important tasks not normally addressed.

Way to go, paper brain (or PDA), for looking after me!

Doc Meek, Saturday, June 5, 2010

At Calgary and Cochrane, Alberta, CANADA; not at South Jordan, Utah

“Habit helps . . . habit hurts . . . “

Habit helps us.

Habit hurts us.

Bit of a contradiction, eh?

Wikipedia: Bust of Janus, Vatican Museums ……………………………………………………………………………
Our brain wants the best for us

The brain loves us and wants to serve us well. One of the great gifts the brain gives us is to rapidly (or less rapidly) give us what we need:

the capacity to do repetitive tasks easily and well.

“Mindlessly” as my friend says.

(Except of course it does require the mind, and requires its exquisite ability to do numerous valuable things “for us,” without our having to “think about it.” Habit is a great friend. It allows us to almost effortlessly do those things that we need to do, perhaps every day (drive a car, do the routine things needed to teach a class, do the routine things needed to nurture our families, and do the routine things needed in the workplace, etc., etc., etc.). 😮

So how can habit hurt us?

Habit can hurt us in two ways:

(1) Habit can allow our thinking patterns to become less active and dull, to the extent that we not only do the habit mindlessly,we don’t exercise our neuronal cells and brain circuitry (including the “non-electric” glial cells), and our brains become “flabby,” somewhat analogous to muscles that we don’t use actively.

(2) Habit can actually become counter-productive, because our brains love to “hang onto” things that are relatively effortless to do, and so the habit “hangs around” to “serve” us, to the detriment of the purpose it was originally intended to serve, which purpose would have been a good one in the beginning (or else our brain would not have started it up for us, eh?).

So here’s the “tricky” part.

How do you keep the habits that are still serving you well (piece of cake) and how do you let go of the habits that are hurting you (not as easy as you might think!).

Tune in to future posts and maybe we can share some ideas about the process of change.

Blessings and Friendship, Doc Meek, Tuesday, June 1, 2010

At Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA; not at South Jordan, Utah, USA

P.S. The paradox:

Habit helps efficiency. Habit hurts or limits change.

Test your brain knowledge: neurons think, glia glue?

I promised to tell you more about a remarkable book I read recently:

The Other Brain: From Dementia to Schizophrenia, How New Discoveries about the Brain Are Revolutionizing Medicine and Science, by Dr. R. Douglas Fields (2009).

Dr. Fields tells us about the two general types of cells in the brain: the neurons and the glia (glia means glue).

In a brilliant stroke, in his heading for Chapter One, Dr. Fields asks the creative question about glial cells:


I have been helping kids overcome learning problems for more than 30 years, teaching them that we are all smarter than we think.

Dr. Fields tells us why.

Glial cells constitute 85% of our brain and they are thinking cells.

Glial cells are thinking cells?

We always thought that neurons did the thinking job. We always thought the glia were just there to hold things in place, to hold things together (glia means glue).

The Other Brain: From Dementia to Schizophrenia, How New  Discoveries about the Brain Are Revolutionizing Medicine and Science

I had no idea that the “white matter” (the glial-cell brain) comprises 85% of our active learning brain, that it is an intrinsic part of our cognitive functioning.

We have been referencing only 15% all along (the neuronal-cell brain) and now we have the good news that we have more brain horsepower than we ever thought possible.

Thank you, Dr. Fields!

I am grateful that you have written about your astounding research findings in ordinary language and with incredible creativity, so that the everyday reader has no trouble following the details of your amazing discoveries.

Book cover photo from


Hey, I’m the “brain guy.” I thought I knew a little bit about the brain, eh? [I guess the operative word is “little,” right?]

I’m dumbfounded.

We have been primarily referencing only 15% of the brain all along (the neuronal-cell brain) and now we have another 85% we can connect with for thinking purposes. This is great! Now maybe we can “smarten up,” eh? 😮

Previously we thought (we thought we thought with only the neuronal brain) that the glia were mainly for insulation and packing. “Stuffing” if you like. 😮

Now we find that glial cells not only insulate and protect, they control the electrical-firing neurons. Without using any electrical current! As the son of a Journeyman Electrician, I find this new discovery not easy to believe, eh?

– Doc Meek, May 11, 2010, Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA

Push muscles, relax brain

In a previous post, I wrote: “Our brain, somewhat analogous to our muscles, needs work to develop and be strong, and needs rest to recuperate and renew.”

There is a difference between what our muscles and our brain need in order to do good work for us.

Let’s say our muscles are working reasonably hard for us. We might be digging up the garden with a shovel in the springtime, or shoveling the snow off the sidewalk in the wintertime. Then someone yells at us: “Hurry up! We have to leave in 10 minutes!”

When someone yells at us when our muscles are working, we can shovel harder and we will get the job done sooner. We may puff and pant a little, and we will still get the job done sooner.

The brain is different in its response to time pressure.

Let’s say our brain is working reasonably hard for us. We might be doing homework, or finishing up our income tax return. Then someone yells at us: “Hurry up! We have to leave in 10 minutes!” To some extent we can “hurry our brain,” and perhaps get the job done a little sooner, especially if we don’t mind making some mistakes.

When we put the brain under pressure–unlike muscles–the brain’s best performance usually deteriorates or slows down.

When someone yells at us when our brain is working reasonably hard, our brain usually ceases to do its best work. Or it may briefly speed up and work harder for a short time, and then go towards less clarity. You might even have a brain crash.

Why does brain performance decline under pressure?

Because the brain works best when it is relaxed and alert, not hurried and harried.

When I teach individual students or train teachers, I tell them:

(1) With respect to muscles, the harder you try, the better they work.

(2) With respect to the brain, the harder you don’t try, the better it works.

“That’s backwards!” they say.

Yes, amazingly, the brain’s performance and power increase when it is not under time pressure, when it is not under worry pressure.

Your brain works best when it is relaxed and alert.

So what do I do when my brain is under pressure?

Get up from your mental task and go get a drink of water. Even a 2% drop in your body/brain hydration will slow down or fog up your cognitive functions. The “get up and get a drink of water” both gives you some physical movement (which the brain loves and thrives upon) and also adds to the water availability in your body/brain system (which the brain loves and thrives upon).

So the “get up and get a drink of water” has a double benefit. Triple action actually. It benefits the body in general, and the brain and muscles in particular.

Another thing you can do to strengthen your brain power and reduce your fear of failure, right there where you are, is to sit back, relax, and take three (3) deep breaths. Breathe in deeply (not so deep it is not comfortable) through your nose, hold your breath briefly, and exhale through your mouth. “Breathe away your troubles,” as they say.

Better still, stand up before you relax and take your three (3) deep breaths. That gives you the added benefit or more physical movement without taking you away to the other room for a drink of water. In this case, you can have your water bottle at hand on your desk beside you. Better still, stand up and walk a little, right there, beside your desk. You might even shake your arms and stretch them towards the ceiling. You could wiggle your fingers and yell “Eh?” before you take your three (3) deep breaths.

If your nose is plugged, simply breathe in and out through your mouth. 😮

If other people are nearby, yell “Eh?” inside your head, silently. No one will hear you. 😮

Be sure your water stays out of the computer keyboard! 😮

Doc Meek, May 3, 2010

At Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA; not at South Jordan, Utah, USA

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