Poetry – the Quiet Health Booster

Feather Hand On BookPoetry, like journaling, can be a very relaxing pastime but it’s also a great brain exercise. Write it, read it or just listen; it’s a free resource that many Longevityboomers might not have accessed for a long time, if ever.

The world’s oldest person, the late Jeanne Calment, enjoyed the poems of her childhood right to the end of her 120 years, including reciting them to others.  Her mental faculties stayed in good shape.

It’s all about linguistic intelligence (LI).  Harvard Professor Howard Gardner, in his book, Frames of Mind: the Theory of Multiple Intelligences, identifies LI as one of his “eight and a half types of human intelligence”. You can exercise and develop  linguistic intelligence by becoming more sensitive to the meaning of words.  Yes, you may do crosswords, read papers and blogs, but how long since you really looked at how words sound, their rhythm, the order in which they are arranged, their more subtle meanings and so on?

Joining a book club is another way to really enjoy exercising your linguistic intelligence.  Sharing poetry is also becoming popular and readings are often featured at writers’ festivals.  If you don’t have a poetry circle in your area and you’d like to share some poetry online take a look at Dharma Road.

Perhaps you have time to read some old favourites.  Two of the world’s best-selling authors are the poets Kahlil Gibran and Rumi.  Gibran’s volume, The Prophet, is said to be the second biggest selling book in the US, after the Bible.  Psalms and Shakespearean Sonnets continue to inspire.

On a more contemporary note, we know many Longevityboomers love the poetry of Mary Oliver and David Whyte (The House of Belonging)

If your taste is a little more rhythm-of-the-streets, find out why rap is poetry here with Jay-Z.


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