Making your brain work as much as possible is an important step in helping to prevent the onset of mental deterioration, dementia and memory loss in later life.
Of course, nothing is guaranteed in this life. You could be a brilliant scientist all your life and still end up with any number of problems in old age.
On the other hand, you could be what many consider to be just an "ordinary" person with no great mental challenges throughout life, yet sail into the latest stages of life fully comps mentis with a mind as agile and as sharp as a knife!
Use it or Lose it?
A common theory that many experts in mental health seem to agree on is that it is better to make thorough use of your mental faculties throughout life if you want to have the greatest chance of maintaining those faculties while aging right up until the end.
The "use it or lose it" concept of brain function has some merit when you consider it logically. The more the mind is set to work on problem solving, the more new synaptic connections are created in the brain.
In other words, just like a bodybuilder works their muscles hard to make them grow bigger and stronger, so the mental athlete will increase their mental abilities by making highly elevated use of their gray matter regularly.
What about Thinking?
Getting onto the subject of real, deep and creative thought, we find that modern life puts a lot of obstacles in our way to prevent us doing just that. True thinking comes from within, but our exterior surroundings are continually bombarding us with stimuli that tends to keep our brains busy.
You might say in a derisive manner that "everybody thinks." However, you would not be entirely correct.
What you may mistake for thinking is actually the mind just being "busy" dealing with all the incoming media that is assaulting us every minute of every day. A "busy" mind is not necessarily a "thinking" mind!
Take, for example the television.
When you're deeply engrossed in a movie or TV drama, you're mind and thinking faculty are being drawn along by the visual and aural emissions coming from the TV set. Your mind isn't doing any work, it's merely being led along and literally told and shown what to think.
Reading a book creates a completely different scenario inside the reader's head. While the words on the page are describing the scene, the mind has to interpret those words and generate its own picture of what is going on in the reader's thoughts.
In other words, the reader's thought processes are working to interpret the words and create a mental image and unheard sounds and even touch (textures) as well as associated emotions.
The mind can create all this just from a page full of printed text!
However, even reading is not complete, real and creative thinking.
True Creative Thought
That can only come from deep within when the person is in a quiet place, undisturbed by exterior stimuli and allowed to still their mind to allow thoughts to manifest. The best way to achieve this is through meditation or self hypnosis.
In this state, the thoughts will be creative and can (and often do) manifest answers to questions that normal, conscious thought fails to generate. Solutions to problems that seemed impossible can reveal themselves where the force of will placed upon the mind cannot achieve.
Famously, inventor Thomas Edison is credited with using this very technique to "come up with" his many inventions.
Anyone can do this. It takes some practice, but learning to quieten the mind in a place away from disturbances and doing it regularly will teach the mind to generate its own solutions and ideas from deep within.
The whole point to this article is that it is important to use the mental abilities that you and every person were gifted with. Those abilities should be pushed to their limit often and tested thoroughly to keep them in good working order. You can read more about using the mental faculty of thought here: www.tjicl.org.
When the mind is kept active and working on solving problems, it will grow in power and even gain a better ability to greatly reduce the possibility of later life degeneration that is often associated with its lack of use. It literally creates it's own treatment program.
Spend less time allowing your mind to be fed its information and told what to thing and more time forcing it to think for itself.