Brain health best practices

| 25 Jun 2024 | 12:03

    June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Health Awareness Month. Since 1987, I’ve been facilitating groups and learning as much as I can about Alzheimer’s disease (just one type of dementia) as well as best brain health practices for all of us. My work has encompassed creating award-winning music therapy programs throughout the tri-state area — including creating music social programs for our local Alzheimer’s association in seven Hudson Valley counties. During COVID, I created an acronym to help myself, as well as others, to remember a recipe for best brain and mental health practices. The acronym is SPECS+P.

    The first S stands for Socialization. The first P stands for Physical Health. The E is for Emotional Expression. C is for Cognitive Learning. The final S is for Spirituality. The +P is for Sense of Purpose.

    After working for over 37 years utilizing the therapeutic tools of music and movement as a vehicle to achieve all of SPECS+P, I know it can help everyone. Each of the letters has been researched individually to assist in best brain and mental health – especially in the population of people living with dementia. I know this can help. But how?

    I suggest you incorporate SPECS+P in every aspect of your daily life. Make certain to see and/or talk with others. Eat as healthy as you can, sleep as well as you can, and get physically moving as you enjoy the activity of your choice. Emotionally express yourself by talking to a close friend, seeking therapy, and/or I personally find the creative arts as a superb emotional outlet, but find what works best for you. Learn something new every day. Seek spirituality through walking through a forest, yoga, organized religion — whatever works for you. Lastly, figure out your sense of purpose — is it to share life lessons you’ve learned? How can you make the world a better place by sharing your unique gifts?

    Melinda Marks Burgard, M.A., graduated from NYU with a degree in music psychotherapy. She is a NYS Licensed creative arts therapist, who has been practicing clinical music therapy (as well as creating new music therapy programs) with a variety of populations for over 30 years. She resides in Greenwood Lake, NY.