Let’s Talk About TED

For the next installment of my journey through Long-Haul COVID brain fog, let’s have a TED talk talk! TED talks began in 1984 with a conference on Technology, Entertainment, and Design. The first video of a TED talk went on-line about 17 years ago and the topics have expanded to include science, business, education, arts, and important issues facing the world. They range in length from under 5 minutes to well over one hour.

Over the years, I had seen a few TED talks that made their way onto my social media feed or that had otherwise been recommended by family or friends. A couple of months ago the speech therapist I was seeing to help with my brain fog suggested I start watching the videos as a way to help my brain. I was to aim to watch one video each day and take notes; the next day I was to try to recall as much as I could. If I was able to hit 75% recollection on a regular basis, I could move on to podcasts which are almost entirely audio-only. (I am not there yet.) This exercise was to help with my auditory processing; the continuing exercises would sharpen my listening skills and attention to details. This was to go hand-in-hand with the brain games I am also doing daily that I blogged about earlier.

What I really enjoy about the TED talks is that I can choose the topics and the length depending on the time I have available and what interests me at the time. Sometimes I will choose something that does not really interest me just to see if I can expand my horizons. Neuroscientists have long reported that the brain is plastic, ie., that is capable of change at any age. We can build new neural pathways during our entire lifespan. One of the ways that we do that is by learning new things. It could be a new hobby like playing guitar, taking a class at a local university, or even just watching a brief video. The best part about TED talks is that one can watch for free–although there is an upgraded membership–and nearly every day there is something new to watch.

I do find that I am able to recall quite a bit the next day. I know that I will have to graduate to podcasts soon…but I have the feeling that I will continue to watch my TED talks even after graduation. It never hurts to learn something new every day. In fact, it helps keep the brain healthier and more capable.