Show Note Highlights from our interview with "Brain Trainer" Donesa Walker from LearningRx.
Joanie: 01:35 How did you get started in this?
Donesa: 01:47 Well, right now I Learning Rx and we do brain training. So what we do is work on changing lives one person at a time by training brains. And that's kind of unique whenever they say, "What do you do for a living?" I say, "I'm a brain trainer."
Donesa: 02:12 Brain training is a lot of what we do to help people realize their full potential. Um, people who have struggled for a long time with learning differences and memory, focus attention, um, you know, dyslexia, reading issues, math issues, ADD, any of those types of things as well as older adults, who struggle with maybe memory issues, you know, as we age, those things happen to us.
Donesa: 03:53 Scripture tells us this, that we practice something when we work it out, when we sharpen it up, that is going to get better and this is true in our lives and memory is just like that. Memory has to be works and if we've gotten a little bit lazy and reliant on technology, then that happens. For example, when there weren't cell phones around and people had to memorize telephone numbers and so you did, you memorize telephone numbers to call people, but now, we don't have to. We just put them into our cell phones and so we've gotten a little bit reliant on technology and while there's been benefits from the technology. There's also the deficiencies that occur because we have let that take some of the load and that load is necessary for our brain to work our memory out.
Donesa: 05:40 Well, one of the things that I'm reflecting on this type of a thing that affects our brains because Scripture is very clear on what it expects us to do. It tells us that we should find that attitude, to count our blessings, to make sure that we actually measure those things that have happened in our past and weigh them. So over and over throughout Scripture, it tells us about our attitude and it talks to us about having a attitude of thankfulness, to be content with what we have, and so over and over those messages are there, but understanding that there's science that backs up the Scripture or Scripture that backs up the science, however you want it to go.
Donesa: 06:30 The facts are there. That brain actually grows dendrites. It actually becomes stronger and better from you having an attitude of gratitude. So when you're thankful you actually breed thankfulness. So your attitude actually changes from that. And in some recent studies, they actually looked at how the brain changed and what the effect was on the body. It reduced stress. It lowered blood pressure and these are big factors for people. It actually helps in overall health and reducing anxiety. These are all studies that they have done and they've seen that having that attitude of gratitude and being very thankful for your blessings actually made people rewardable.
In other words, when you felt thankful about something, you were more likely to be kind and when we have an era of incivility that we have right now where so many people are ugly and unkind to each other then it is a way of changing our culture just by starting with that small step of being thankful.
Donesa: 08:03 It's so important that we train our children to be thankful when they are very, very young. Train them not only to say thank you, but to write thank you notes. Take the time. Taking the time to say thank you in writing is a big deal because it actually encodes that to the brain. When you're writing, that's a mechanism that actually encodes to your brain. And so it's really important that parents start instilling that at a young age. We get too busy and we think, oh, I'm just going to shoot off a quick text, or I'm a send a quick email and we forget that gratefulness can actually be bred in our children by just doing the exact act that they need to do of writing a thank you note. Very simple.
Donesa: 09:28 So when we talk about that attitude of gratitude, when we talk about sharing our thankfulness, then our brain actually becomes healthier and it reflects into our body. And that's what we were saying. So some of the things that we want people to understand, it's not only writing the thank you notes, but taking the time to be forethoughtful. In other words, thinking about it before the thoughtfulness act, before you do it, and as we come into this season of Thanksgiving and Christmas, the season of giving, it's a good time for us to start thinking about thoughtfulness and being very forethoughtful of that. So making sure that we plan for thoughtfulness. And that's a skill that many people don't have is to plan in advance for thoughtfulness.
Donesa: 10:27 So I am going to give a gift. What? How is this gift going to be perceived? What is this gift? You know? What is the message that I'm sending with this gift? A lot of times we run about just grabbing something to get it, just to say we did it and step doing, taking the time and this is more powerful than you realize in the brain and it can be very, very special to a person and mean a lot of things because you did take the time to think about the gifts that you were giving.
Donesa: 11:43 Right. And if you make it a plan of thoughtfulness, so you just sit on it and it only takes a little bit. But if you sit down and you actually plan one small thing you can do with thoughtfulness each day or kindness each day for someone. Or if you make a plan of, I'm going to think about so and so's gift for Christmas on this day and what I'm going to get for them and I'm going to plan for that rather than I'm just going to grab something to throw in a box to say I got something. Then you can have a big difference and see what happens in this time, you see this happening a lot is people run out and get give gift cards. I don't know what to get them. I don't know what I'm just going to give them this. Not that you know a gift card is not valuable because it is and not that it isn't appreciated because very often it is appreciated.
Donesa: 12:34 But on the flip side, a thoughtful gift can come with a thoughtful word and those words are very powerful. Scripture tells us that Word was powerful and in fact the Word was the Word was very powerful and so for us to understand how important it is for us physically and in our body to know that you can make your physical body healthier by being thankful and thoughtful in advance, and this is fruit of the spirit. These are fruits of the Spirit. You're actually embodying those fruits of the spirit into your life. So how do you grow fruit? You grow fruit from a seed and that seed has to reap and so in order to grow it, you have to plan it and that means you have to plan in advance and put it in and you have to water it and you have to, you know, all of those things and God does this into our life. He gives us these gifts, these talents, these abilities, and we have to use them and a spirit of thankfulness and kindness to others so that we can ultimately grow those fruits into our lives.
Donesa: 14:42 Donesa: 03:06 The phone number you can call is 318-797-8523. Or you can go online to www.LearningRx.com/Shrevesport and you can see my bio there and see what we do everyday there and I'd be more than happy to interact with anyone. The email is Shrevesport.LALearningRx.net.
Donesa: 16:19 And so, um, you know, attention issues, again, being deliberate about how you go about addressing those issues is, is the key. So if you're going to address any issue that you have learning issues first, you need to know what that root cause is and that's one of the things we do with our testing as we look at that root cause and being able to establish what that root cause is and know why that's happening is, is a huge benefit to anyone knowing that you can do that.
Donesa: 16:51 And we, we actually have opportunity now for that. If anyone is interested in testing and finding out what your skills are. Um, we actually do have a grant from the Gibson Research Institute right now and that gives some research institute allows us to bless people with, um, testing to find out what their skillset is. And so if anyone is interested in that again, just email me and I will send you a link or go to our facebook page and post on the facebook page or send us a message that you would like to take advantage of that. And we can definitely make that available to you because it is important that you understand what is causing those weak skills and what can you do about it.
Donesa: 17:46 Yeah, there's quite a few things that can cause attention issues. One of the primary things that we see, again, I'm not on a technology attack, but I'm one of those primary things that we do see is people who used too much of the Internet and the television that they're inundating your body with the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 10 minutes from the age of a child and for an adult, no more than one 80 minutes a day. So no more than three hours a day of streaming media. And let's be honest, all of us are doing more than that. And so we're training attentional issues into our brain. And one of the biggest ways, especially as we age, is that TV, being on an hour before bedtime, your television should not be on all the way up to you go to sleep because it's not good for your brain.
Donesa: 18:41 And yet many of us are guilty of doing that, sometimes I'm even guilty of that myself. I'm watching the news late or something. And then trying to drift off. Um, so if you are a news watcher and he liked to watch that late night news, then you need to turn it off after the news and read for a few minutes to allow your brain to change gears and go to sleep in a proper manner. Just, it's very dangerous. Then there is magnesium deficiency. So magnesium is an essential element for our body and for our blood. And most of us are not eating the foods that are rich in magnesium. And if we are the, uh, eating some of those foods, they're not rich enough. The soil that they were made in is not rich enough. So adding epsom salt baths is very important because it can actually allow magnesium to again to go in through your skin and help you or magnesium lotions or supplements.
Donesa: 19:36 85% of Americans are magnesium deficient. So that's an easy way that you can do that. And while I'm not a doctor at all, I do know that we can benefit from having good nutritional health. Um, so that our brains can get the things that we need, you know, so those are two primary easy ways. And the third one is water, just drinking enough water. Short term memory loss, um, which is a component of attention issues as actually number one reason for short term memory loss is dehydration. And we're supposed to be drinking half of our body weight in ounces of water a day. So if you weigh 200 pounds, you should be drinking 100 ounces of water a day to maintain your brain. That's not to grow, that's to maintain and brain needs that, that's fuel for your brain and fuel for your body.
Donesa: 20:29 So it's really important that you are taking in enough fluid and as we age, we don't want to go have to go to the bathroom so much. And so we choose not to drink as much and that perpetuates the memory loss which perpetuates forgetting to drink, which perpetuates... Kinda like that old little book if you give a mouse a cookie. Well in this case, if you drink the water and you go kind of that situation, it's really important though.
Donesa: 21:39 There was just a question earlier about what age we can start working. And we start working with children is our really of age four and there is no limit on age. So one of the great things about how God created us as he created something called neuroplasticity, which means that our brain can change at any age. So the old saying that you cannot teach a new, an old dog new tricks is no longer accurate. The old dogs can learn new tricks. Yes, it may take the old dog a little bit longer to learn those new tricks, but that old dog can't learn new tricks.
Donesa: 22:13 And so, the plasticity of our brain allows us to retrain our brain at any age. And this is a particularly important when you've had health issues or you've had a lot of, uh, medical issues that have given you a lot of medicines that are called brain fog, chemo, that sort of thing. My mother went through chemo and so I understand what it is like to, to have your body filled with chemicals that keep you from being able to be as sharp or pain medication that really limits your ability. So a lot of people think, well, I've just lost that because of my age or I've lost that because of medication but that's actually not true. You actually can retrain your brain at any age and some of the easiest ways to do it. Um, our, our simple little exercises that you can do to work your brain out.
Donesa: 23:09 It can be as simple as just recalling important things. So, um, if you're Scripturally wanting to recall things recall the fruits of the Spirit. I know a lot of people will say, I need sing to be able to do that. Recall those things that, that you learned. Recall it to your memory. And again, referencing back to scripture tells us that if we placed this in our hearts and in our mind, if we placed the Word in our heart and our mind and it will always be there for us to recall. That's very true and a really great author who has has a infinite amount of wisdom in this area in particular is Dr Caroline Leaf. If you haven't heard of Caroline Leaf she has a fabulous book called Switch On Your Brain and that actually talks about the ability to turn on your brain and use the Scriptural principles that God put into place in our bodies and in our brain to turn on the positive and turn off the negative. And that's really important. Um, so that's a good resource, you know, to reach there.
Donesa: 24:57 Well, I think we're essentially, we're spiritual creatures. That's how God created us. And as spiritual creatures that spiritual world has power over this carcass, this body that we are in right now. Because this body changes and ages and fades away. But, but we are eternal. And because of that, you know, that, that each thought being a part of us, we need to realize that it has effect on this carnal body. That's right.
Donesa: 27:00 It is. It's very biblical and those are powerful words and it has such an effect on, on our brains. And what I really like about this is the reciprocity. What are really like is the fact that your brain reciprocate what you put into it. So when you, when you do acts of kindness and acts of thoughtfulness and, and you count your blessing, then your brain actually rewards your body. Your brain actually has a reward center in it and it's kind of jumping up and cheering. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah! And so you wanted to do more of that, do kind things, then you're, you're, you automatically get rewarded in your reward center and then your brain wants you to do more kinds of things, and so it reciprocates and we know that that is super powerful as he reached out and you touch other people because kindness flows. I mean there's all kinds of networks out there. Pay it Forward Networks that the kindness of Spirit of God, the Spirit of blood and the Spirit of God flows through that and that's one of His gifts.
Donesa: 28:10 That's one of His fruits and you're in our lives and so we want to be able to do that. In fact, in First Corinthians 13, this is the greatest thing that we can have is love. It's better thing else. And so if we have love, it doesn't matter how many good deeds you do, if you don't do it out of love then you do it purposefully. And so if we want to do that with, you know, with the love and the heart of Jesus, then it actually it enhances our ability to go forward and enhances our, our brain and our life.
Donesa: 31:36 Correct. Because if you do an attitude just out of I've got to get it done. It goes back to what we were talking about. Just giving a gift just to get it done. And it does not reward you. Your brain doesn't grow from that. It doesn't benefit from that to benefit from it. You actually, and you're not doing it for the purpose of benefit, but out of love, purposeful and thoughtful intent means that you think about it. You take time to think about it and, and you know, in this day and age of where we're, you know, rushing around just trying to get so much done we forget about the thoughtfulness in that, in that piece, and when people don't reciprocate what you're doing, if you're doing it for reciprocal purpose, then you defeat the whole purpose. You were supposed to be doing it for the benefit of love. That's what it is, is just for love.
Donesa: 32:26 I like that saying that your, your attitude determines your altitude. I want to go and all determined on where your attitude is. If you got a bad attitude about it, then not gonna go very high. But if you have a good attitude, it can take you places. And so I think that your attitude and how you approach it, it's what I've always told my kids. If you think positive about it and you have a good attitude about it, you can take you further than if you have a negative attitude and you, you are mindset against it or your frustrated constantly with it. Because the negative breeds the negative and the positive breeds the positive. So you put in what you want to get out to try to.
Donesa: 33:58 You can do something about that forgetfulness. Just got to be grateful. You got to go ahead and be deliberate about training your memory, start getting your memory app and get your memory activities and be deliberate about doing it and you can get it better, right?
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Co-hosts Joanie Buchanan and Cindy Hyde are inspiring women of God, authors, ministers, counselors, and coaches who talk about life's issues from a Biblical perspective to bring comfort, encouragement, and hope to their listeners. Listen to their podcast on Spreaker, iTunes, iHeartRadio