Doctor Marian Diamond, a researcher in ageing, found that deliberately induced challenges are required to keep our brains healthy and functioning. In one experiment a group of lab rats was given food, while another group had obstacles placed in front of their dishes. The rats that had to overcome challenges learned to solve problems more proficiently than the comfortable rats.
The fewer problems a rat experienced, the faster its brain went downhill. They also discovered that if you put twelve rats together in a cage and gave them challenges, their brains developed better than when they had to face the same obstacles in isolation.
And when researchers ran the same experiment with rats that were 600 days or older (the equivalent of 60 human years), the results were the same. The rats actually lived to be 800 days old. Then researchers decided to show them love. The rodents had the same challenges as before, but afterwards researchers would pick them up, hold them against their lab coats, pet them, and speak kindly.
They’d say, ‘You’re one sweet rat,’ or whatever it is you say to a rat! And when they did, those creatures did more than break the 800-day barrier. At 904 days, not only were they alive—they were continuing to develop. The fact is they developed more mental resilience under challenging conditions because they were part of a community, whereas isolation caused their brain power to diminish.
The basic fact is: to age well you need a God-given challenge, love, and good relationships.
Think about the older people in your life: parents, grandparents, great aunts, or even older friends. How can you help them to age well, so that you yourself, can learn how to age well, too?
‘Even to your old age…I am He who will sustain you.’ Isaiah 46:4 NIV
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ENCOURAGEMENT FOR TODAY
1 Thessalonians 2:4; 2 TIMOTHY 1:6-8, 14; 2:15
We have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who test our hearts. I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you! For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power & self-control. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our lord! By the holy spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you! Do your best to yourself present to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth!
God has entrusted you with his precious gospel!
Speak of his love today!
Do not be ashamed to tell others of his love!
Burn brighter for Christ!
Fan into flame God’s spirit in you!
Seek him today!