I read a quote from Buddha recently that stated that lighting one single candle can light several others. Fundamentally, when we are happy, we can spread our happiness to others. It took a great deal of time and self-reflection for myself to understand this, but I choose happiness as an emotion to strive for. It’s aided me through tough times and bounced me back up when I was feeling down, worthless, and listless. There are some that struggle to find this piece that went away after their stroke, or any medical or life situation. It’s understandable, because for some reason it’s easier to be mad or sad than happy, however it takes more effort to be mad or sad. Doesn’t make sense, right? Each of us can achieve inner peace and happiness, and it requires rewiring our brain to boost through this wonderful trajectory. The reason why I have surmised that we are stuck in a pit, is that we don’t have daily tools to help remind ourselves to be happy, with the smallest accomplishment. Did you smile, brush your teeth, take a shower, cook a dinner, give yourself rest, journal, take a walk, write out every negative and turn it around to how you will make it positive? These are all small things that we can do daily to show ourselves as creatures of proof to understand that it’s working. Life is complex, and it tests our limits, and some will curl in a ball and let the complexity consume us and we become more destructive. It’s the why not, mentality. This is a disease, that needs to be addressed which is why I felt compelled to write this. Let me say, I choose to be happy. I wake up every single day and do simple things that make me feel accomplished and then as I finish these small things, I practice thankfulness with what’s going on in my life. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of things that go wrong, but I’m not going to make those instances outweigh the choice of happiness because I know that I can find a way to fix those issues. So, this blog is for everyone.
So, here are we are, vulnerable, trying to make it in this world as normal as we can. There isn’t a manual given to you after being released from the hospital with sources for self-care, or how to rewire your brain. We are left to our own invention trying to figure this out. Some of us reach out to mental health providers, some receive OT, PT. We don’t get to see these professionals every day, and sometimes you don’t know when our down period is going to hit. You might be sitting at home trying to recover and wondering what you can do to get up to speed. I’m not a healthcare professional, but I have done some research that might help assist those who need some help along with a professional. Sadly, there are some people who don’t have the healthcare nor the money to afford this type of benefit. So, take my assistance with a grain of salt. It’s not professional as I said, nor do I want to be responsible for any misunderstanding. I want to give you tools that have helped me.
Let’s start with retraining your brain. The internet is full of apps that help your memory, and many vary at different levels on how much effort you want to put forth. Here is a list of some great apps and games to use, and if you don’t have access, some home exercises that you can do to help cognitive function.
Visuospatial Processing Games
Simon Memory Game
Cognitive Therapy Apps
Click on the link for more details for each one. My personal favorites for board games are:
Skillmatics Educational Game: Mind Challenge (6-99 Years) | Erasable and Reusable Activity Mats
Regal Games Classic Card Games (Old Maid - Go Fish - Slapjack - Crazy 8s - War - Monster Memory Match)
Mindware Qwirkle Board Game
Adult Activity Book: An Adult Activity Book Featuring Coloring, Sudoku, Word Search And Dot-To- Dot
Wooden Brain Teaser Set 3D Wooden Cube Brain Teaser Puzzle Gift for Intellectual Game Entertaining and Educational Tools
Brain Games - Picture Puzzles: Remember When? - How Many Differences Can You Find?
Chroma Cube Logic Game with 25 Puzzles for Adults, IQ Game, Award Winning Brain Teaser
Brain Games - Sticker by Number: Dream Big
Brain Games - Mindful Mazes
Delightful! Easy Puzzles, Memory Activities and Brain Games for Adults: Includes Large-Print Word Searches, Spot the Odd One Out, Find the Differences, Crosswords, Sudoku, Mazes and Much More
These are stroke apps that help assist with stroke victims. Some range from a fee to free, but they are worth a look:
Cozi- reminder and tracking app (free)
Medisafe- pill reminder (free)
Stop, Breathe & Think- meditation and mindfulness app (free)
7 Minute Workout Challenge app- 7 minute workout challenge to reduce the likelihood of another stroke (2.99)
Language Therapy 4-in-1- speech therapy app to improve speaking and cognitive skills (59.99)
Constant Therapy- 65 tasks, 100,000 exercises, different levels of difficulty (free trial)
VocalEyes AI- assists people with vision problems identify objects (free)
Glasses- help you view fine print (free)
Elevate- helps with concentration, memory, planning, reasoning, and problem-solving (free)
Peak- 40 different brain training games (free)
Another great one that helps with brain training is lumosity:
Here are some other helpful weblinks for brain training:
Elevate- Brain Training Games
Memory Games for Adults
Skillz- Logic Brain Games
Brain Game- Memory game
Train your Brain- Attention Games
Mind games: memorize
Match Pairs classic
60 Brain Games: Free Mental Training!
Paintings Memory Game
N- Back Memory Training
Unlimited Memory: How to Use Advanced Learning Strategies to Learn Faster, Remember More and be More Productive
Top Techniques to Improve Memory: Proven Techniques to Hack your Memory and Brain
Memory Improvement: How to Improve your Memory and Concentration Tremendously Within 2 Weeks and Change Your Life for Good; Your Ultimate Guide to Developing ... Memory (Life Changing Guide Book 1)
Memory Rescue: Supercharge Your Brain, Reverse Memory Loss, and Remember What Matters Most
Keep Your Brain Stronger for Longer: 201 Brain-Teasing Exercises for Anyone with Mild Cognitive Impairment
Now, that I have given you tools to recharge your brain, it’s time to focus on mindfulness. This can be tough, because emotions are so complex and vary from day to day. Hopefully with some aid, this can decrease the number of ups and downs, or give you tools to pull yourself out to a healthier side.
Practicing Mindfulness: 75 Essential Meditations to Reduce Stress, Improve Mental Health, and Find Peace in the Everyday Paperback – September 11, 2018 by Matthew Sockolov
The Now Effect: How a Mindful Moment Can Change the Rest of Your Life Paperback – April 9, 2013 by Elisha Goldstein Ph.D. (Author)
A Fearless Heart: How the Courage to Be Compassionate Can Transform Our Lives Paperback – April 12, 2016 by Thupten Jinpa Phd (Author)
Apps for mindfulness:
With these sources, you can pick and choose what fits your personality. We are all different on approach, and thankfully there are apps and authors who understand this. There are instances where you don’t need all these books or apps, especially when it comes to mindfulness. I call it accountability stock. Start slowly and each morning and write one thing that you want to do that makes you happy. The following day write two, and so forth. Don’t feel compelled that you must keep the list growing. Some mornings you might wake up and one is the only thing on your plate. It’s accountability and motivation to become a happy person. As I said before, despite a stroke, cancer diagnosis, heart condition, life issues, we all go through the same motions of sadness and defeat which equate to anger. The miracle of this life is while we can’t control our medical conditions, we can control our mindset and that’s the power that is greater than the sum of care that comes to us. There is nothing wrong with waking up with pride that you will try with might to become a happy person. It takes a lot of practice, because sadness and anger are like Teflon. Please trust, that I said, “are like” and didn’t say “are”. Therefore, you have the power to change.