Healthy Brain, Healthy Life - 7 Ways to Boost Brain Function
The human brain has amazed and baffled people for hundreds of years. It's the most complicated and miraculous organ in the universe. It controls everything you see, say, feel, and do. With such a powerful tool at your disposal, doesn't it make sense for you to understand how it works and how to make it work optimally?
Making sense of the brain's mind-boggling complexity isn't easy. What we do know is that it's the organ that makes us human, giving us the capacity for art, language, moral judgments, and rational thought. It's also responsible for each individual's personality, memories, movements, and how we sense and see the world.
All this comes from a jellylike mass of fat and protein weighing about 3 pounds. It is, nevertheless, one of the body's biggest organs, consisting of some 100 billion nerve cells that not only put together thoughts and highly coordinated physical actions but regulate our unconscious body processes, such circulation and breathing.
Unfortunately, most of us are never taught just how important the brain is, so we go through life thinking about everything else and give little to no attention to this critically important mass we carry around in our head. We care more about faces, boobs, butts and bellies than we do about our brain.
So why should you care about your brain? Well, your ability to control your life is directly tied to the health of your brain. Optimize the brain and you dramatically increase your abilities.
For you to realize your dreams in any area of your life, your brain must work right. When your brain works right, you work right. When your brain is troubled, you have trouble in your life.
Here are 7 things you can begin today to take better care of your brain and improve your life.
1. Eat a Healthy Diet. You literally are what you eat. Eating a healthy, balanced diet provides the nutrients and fuel to drive optimal brain function. Include lots of pure water; lean meats; complex, low glycemic carbohydrates; healthy fats such olive oil and coconut oil; and lots of dietary antioxidants, such as blueberries.
2. Exercise. Your brain needs physical exercise. Without it, the brain struggles. Exercise boosts blood flow to the brain, which helps supply oxygen, glucose, and other nutrients and helps eliminate toxic substances. The best exercises combine aerobic elements with some form of coordination movement.
3. Get a Grip on Stress. Any form of stress, whether it comes from family conflict, financial hardships, health problems, or environmental challenges, can lead to severe health issues. When stress becomes unremitting, it hurts the brain. Having techniques to counteract stress, such daily relaxation, meditation, prayer, or exercise, can have a very positive effect on how your mind works. Staying focused on positive, happy, hopeful thoughts release chemicals that make you feel good. Laughter has been shown to counteract stress and builds resilience.
4. Get More Sleep. Sleep is essential to healthy brain function. It is involved in rejuvenating your brain. Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep at night, less than 6 hours can result in decreased blood flow to the brain.
5. Don't Smoke. Nicotine prematurely ages the brain. It causes blood vessels to constrict, lessening blood flow to vital organs. Decreased blood flow deprives the brain of the nutrients it needs, and eventually leads to overall lowered activity.
6. Avoid Negative Thinking, Chronic Worry or Anger. Our brain and body respond to every thought we have. These thoughts are either helping us or they are hurting us. Negative, worried or angry thoughts release their own set of chemicals that make us feel bad and erode the functioning of your brain.
7. Engage in New Learning. Learning does change the structure of your brain quite significantly. Right now, as you read this page, your brain cells are making an average of one million new connections per second. This is called brain plasticity. Any time you read, think, listen or experience something, you are enhancing the neuro-connections in your brain. As you grow older, it's important to increase your neuroactivity, because doing so increases your intelligence and your brain's ability to find new answers.