Add Some Curiosity


Fall marks the footsteps into the education corridors for those of all ages.  For some of you, your children will be marching off to elementary, middle or high school.  For others, maybe it’s you that is heading to higher education.  Often it is me that is off taking courses online or in classes.

Why? I am curious.  I am notoriously addicted to learning.  I LOVE learning and often tell people that I am a  lifelong learner.

How does curiosity show up in your life?  Curiosity can look differently for each of us.  It could take the shape of exploring and discovering new things.  It could push you to do something you haven’t tried before.  In the Summer 2018 edition of The Magnolia Journal, they explored “Finding Curiosity.”  It is this article that got me thinking and pondering how curiosity shows itself in my life.  In this article, it suggested that “We can use it to refine who we are, to help us realize that we can be more than we thought we were.” [1]  I don’t know about you, but it is easier to avoid the uncomfortable.  Which means, I am avoiding my curious inner self.  Inside each of you is a little piece that wants to know, learn, yearn or seek — basically, your curious nature.

Are you willing to seek the unexpected possibilities that are waiting for you, if you are willing to be a little bit curious?

What Is Curiosity? 

An online dictionary says that curiosity is a strong desire to know or learn something.

Take a moment and write down a couple things you desire to know more about.  Perhaps, you want to learn a new skill or hobby.  It’s okay to strive to learn things at any age.

Recently, I decided that I wanted to try a barre class.  Sure, I could have said I was too old for that, but no way was I using that card.  I book a spot and did a class.  And guess what?  I loved it and have signed up to take one every week!

Now, it is action time for you.

How To Be Curious

To be curious may mean you have to ask questions and think like a child.  Just think how many questions kids ask everyday as they try to figure out this world they live in.  It’s okay to ask questions.  I’ve always said without questions you will never have answers.

  • explore
  • ask questions
  • step out of your comfort zone
  • do something unexpected
  • try something new
  • read a book
  • take a course
  • travel to new places
  • visit museums
  • go hiking
  • volunteer
  • learn a new skill
 “Curiosity is one of the great secrets of happiness.” ~ Bryant H. McGill  

Benefits of Being Curious [2]

  • Curiosity helps you survive
  • Curious people are happier
  • Curiosity boosts achievement
  • Curiosity improves your empathy
  • Curiosity strengthens relationships
  • Curiosity improves your health

How Does Curiosity Fit Into a Healthy Lifestyle

The active learning part of your brain is located in the hippocampus. The hippocampus the region that is important for forming new memories, as well as, increasing interactions between the hippocampus and the reward circuit that produces dopamine. [3] Dopamine is a chemical messenger that relays messages between neurons. As you age, dopamine receptors decline.  Thus by understanding the relationship between motivation and memory could could create new efforts to improve memory in the healthy elderly and to develop new approaches for treating patients with disorders that affect memory like Alzheimer’s Disease or Parkinson’s.  Combining motivation, curiosity and learning could put the brain in a state to learn, remember and retain information. [4]  I don’t know about you, but I love learning, so I’m hoping that this study on curiosity and dopamine is going to weigh in my favour for a healthy mind into my golden years.

Matthias Gruber, lead study author and a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Davis, Center for Neuroscience, in an interview with Healthline said “Curiosity … may put the brain in a state that is more likely to retain new information, even if that information is not what got you curious in the first place.” [5][6]

So, it’s time to pique your interest and curiosity on something , anything — new hobby, new book, new search online — just find something to simulate and motivate yourself to learn something new.  By doing so, it is possible that you will be keeping your brain circuitry connected and active.  The more curious you are on a topic of interest, the easier it is to learn about that topic. [7]

Interestingly, seniors are often told to engage their minds to remain sharp into their later years.  However, “new research indicates that only certain activities — learning a mentally demanding skill like photography, for instance — are likely to improve cognitive functioning.” [8] But “less demanding activities, such as listening to classical music or completing word puzzles, probably won’t bring noticeable benefits to an aging mind.” [9]  Okay, I’ve witnessed this first hand.  My mom has Alzheimer’s.  She did daily crosswords and sudoku puzzle, because she enjoyed them and believed that by doing them she would maintain a healthy memory.  Progressively, she lost her ability to do the hard ones and today is lucky if she can do easy ones.  Many times, I find here starting a puzzle, but giving up in frustration.  Word puzzles didn’t help her to retain a healthy memory!  This study supports the necessity to be curious, learn cognitively demanding new skills like photography, and quilting, and develop social relationships while learning the new skills.  Learning a new skill “requires active engagement and tap[s into] working memory, long-term memory and other high-level cognitive processes.” [10]  A win-win for you as you age that may allow you to have a higher quality of life and greater independence longer.

What Are Your Next Steps

It’s your turn to engage your mind to become curious and seek out new skills that you can do.

As for me, I’ve taken up quilting, knitting, scrapbooking and cross-stitching again.  I find that the time it takes to learn new patterns and techniques mind-challenging and stimulating.  I know that I enjoy partaking in these activities alone and in larger social settings, which is also health supportive.

Watt Work Nutrition can help you reconnect with your lifestyle choices that will enhance your overall health and wellbeing.  Take a moment to reach out and connect to take steps to make your health a priority.  You can contact Brenda at 403.801.5698 or email to schedule your FREE Discover Chat.


Resources

[1] “Finding Curiosity,” The Magnolia Journal, Summer 2018, p 98.

[2] Emily Campbell, “Six Surprising Benefits of Curiosity,” Greater Good Magazine, Sep 24, 2015 online

[3] Rachel Barclay, “Curiosity Changes the Brain to Boost Learning”, Healthline, October 2, 2014 online

[4] Matthias J. Gruber, Bernard D. Gelman, Charan Ranganath. “States of Curiosity Modulate Hippocampus-Dependent Learning via the Dopaminergic Circuit.” Neuron, 2014 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2014.08.060

[5] Cell Press. “How Curiosity Changes the Brain to Enhance Learning,” ScienceDaily, 2 October 2014 online.

[6] Cell Press

[7] Cell Press

[8] “Learning New Skills Keeps an Aging Mind Sharp,” Association of Psychological Science, October 21, 2013 online.

[9] Ibid

[10] Ibid


About Brenda

As a nutrition consultant and educator, I aim to support you in achieving health and vitality through natural wholesome foods and lifestyle transformation. Ready to change yourself from the inside out? Then contact Brenda today.