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Mental Challenge: Well-Being Practice

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The next Whole Life Challenge starts in:

Take on a Daily Mental Challenge This Week

Simple Instructions:

  1. Complete 10 minutes of whatever type of mental challenge or brain exercise you like. It can be different each day.
  2. Some suggestions are crossword puzzles, Sudoku, memorization challenges, logic puzzles, or a challenging game with some decent science behind it like Dual N-Back.
  3. You do not need to be able to complete the puzzle you choose in 10 minutes to get credit for doing the practice.

Watch this video for an explanation of this Well-Being Practice from Whole Life Challenge co-founders Andy Petranek and Michael Stanwyck.

Why Is This Practice Important?

While the brain is not technically a muscle, it does need exercise to avoid going “soft.” Just like your body, your brain responds to challenges with new growth — in learning, ability, associations, and facility with different kinds of information. Voluntarily engaging with things you don’t know how to solve easily flips on your creativity and helps you learn to incorporate new ways of understanding the world.

Even if the link between puzzles and the brain is poorly understood, it is observed over and over that people who engage in puzzle solving can increase their mental quickness and even slow cognitive decline.

The brain is a fantastic organ — the most complex one we have. Just like repetitive daily movement can hinder your body’s growth and health, subjecting your brain to the same kind of repetitive activities day in and day out can result in a kind of mental atrophy. So this week’s Well-Being Practice is about getting your brain to the gym and seeing what kind of weight you can lift.

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Michael Stanwyck
Michael Stanwyck is the co-founder of The Whole Life Challenge, an idea that developed during his seven years as a coach and gym manager at CrossFit Los Angeles.

He graduated from UCLA with a BA in philosophy as well as a degree from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, and feels food is one of the most important parts of a life - it can nourish, heal, and bring people together.

Michael believes health and well-being are as much a state of mind as they are a state of the body, and when it comes to fitness, food, and life in general, he thinks slow is much better than fast (most of the time). Stopping regularly to examine things is the surest way to put down roots and grow.

He knows he will never be done with his own work, and believes the best thing you can do for your well-being starts with loving and working from what you’ve got right now.