Taking care of your longevity, it is important to provide healthy, fresh and varied food not only the intestines but also the brain.
If you put a cucumber in brine, it will become salty by itself, without coercion. In the same way, a person placed in an enriched environment becomes smarter, healthier and lives longer, as well as becomes more resistant to stress. An enriched environment is one of the most underestimated tools of health, including public health.
Enriched environment is an environment where you have the opportunity for spontaneous search behavior, a wide variety of means to meet basic needs, active social support and the opportunity to occupy, entertain and explore.
For a person to interact with the elements of the environment, they must be emotionally meaningful, interesting, and at the same time diverse and dynamic. It is important to be able to choose and learn new skills, gain new experience and feedback, expand your capabilities and most importantly - to transform and enrich the environment personally. Of course, a certain level of stress and unpredictability is also important, which improves learning, but with the maintenance of psychological security.
Components of an enriched environment
- visual stimuli: a variety of visual environments, not the gray concrete of the columbarium panels;
- social incentives: status, support, stable social ties, not social isolation and loneliness;
- motor stimuli: mobile training, various physical activities, instead of sitting on a chair for 12 hours a day;
- somatosensory stimuli: touch, massage, sports, temperature effects, not constant physical comfort;
- cognitive stimuli: tasks, challenges, not monotonous work.
Influence of the enriched environment
Stimulation of neurogenesis. Enrichment of the environment increases the number of neurotrophic factors, which increases neuroplasticity, resistance to stress and burnout, cognitive abilities and reduces the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.
Improving health. A positive effect is shown in various diseases, but the most impressive for me is to reduce the risk of tumors and slow their growth. Of the studied cancer models, enrichment of the environment is significantly effective in melanoma, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, rectal cancer.
Interestingly, the effect of an enriched environment is complex and is not limited to one of its factors. Thus, although isolated physical activity improved the general condition, but had little effect on tumor growth. Also, individual social activity or entertainment alone did not have a noticeable effect.
Increasing life expectancy. The funniest way to continue it is by stimulating the expression of dopamine D2 receptors and creating an enriched environment. Live happily and for a long time - what could be better? In experiments on mice, it was shown that mice with the active gene of the dopamine D2 receptor in enriched environments lived 22% longer than mice without the receptor. Just the activity of the gene without the environment does not prolong life. At the same time, such mice, according to scientists, were cheerful, maintained a normal body weight until old age and, apparently, were very happy.
Reducing the risk of addiction. In our dopamine system, various stimuli compete for our attention. If a person lives in an impoverished environment, he has a high risk of chemical and non-chemical dependencies, becomes vulnerable. Creating an enriched environment reduces drug use and reduces addiction.
It is difficult and very expensive to reproduce all these experiments on people, because for this purpose they need to be removed from ordinary life and temporarily moved to a completely different environment. But taking care of your longevity, it is important to provide healthy, fresh and varied food not only your intestines but also your brain. Bless you!
Andriy Beloveshkin, Doctor, Candidate of Medical Sciences