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The Ten Habits of Highly Effective Brains

Brain5Let’s review some good lifestyle options we can all follow to maintain, and improve, our vibrant brains.

  • 1. Learn more about the “It” in “Use It or Lose It“. A basic understanding will serve you well to appreciate your brain’s beauty as a living and constantly-developing dense forest with billions of neurons and synapses.
  • 2. Take care of your nutrition. Did you know that the brain only weighs 2% of body mass but consumesgood brain food over 20% of the oxygen and nutrients we intake? As a general rule, you don’t need expensive ultra-sophisticated nutritional supplements, just make sure you don’t stuff yourself with the “bad stuff”.
  • 3. Remember that the brain is part of the body. Things that exercise your body can also help sharpen your brain: physical exercise enhances neurogenesis, at any age!
  • 4. Practice positive, action-oriented thoughts until they become your default mindset and you look forward to creating something beautiful every new day. Too much stress and anxiety–either induced by external events or by your own thoughts–actually kills neurons and prevent the creation of new ones. physical exercise for brain health
  • 5. Thrive on Learning and Mental Challenges. The point of having a brain is precisely to learn and to adapt to challenging new environments. Once new neurons appear in your brain, where they migrate and how long they survive depends on how you use them. “Use It or Lose It” does not mean “do crossword puzzle number 1,234,567”. It means, “challenge your brain, and often, with novel activities”.
  • 6. We are (as far as we know) the only self-directed organisms in this planet. Aim high. Once you graduate from college, keep learning. Once you become too comfortable in one job, find a new one. The brain keeps developing ALWAYS, reflecting what you do with it.
  • 7. Explore, travel. Adapting to new locations forces you to pay more attention to your environment. Make new decisions, use your brain.
  • 8. Don’t Outsource Your Brain. Not to media personalities, not to politicians, not to your smart neighbour… Make your own decisions, and mistakes. That way, you are training your brain, not your neighbour’s.
  • 9. Develop and maintain stimulating friendships. We are social animals, and need social interaction. Which, by the way, is why ‘Baby Einstein’ or all those educational apps have been shown not to be the panacea for children development.
  • 10. Laugh. Often. Especially to cognitively complex humor, full of twists and surprises. Better, try to become the next Jon Stewart

Now, remember that what counts is not reading this article–or any other– but practicing a bit every day until small steps snowball into unstoppable, internalized habits…”cells that fire together wire together”…so, start improving one of these 10 habits today. Revisit the habit above that really grabbed your attention, and make a decision to try something different today and tomorrow.

SharpBrainsGuide_3D–> To learn more about what you can do, check out The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness: How to Optimize Brain Health and Performance at Any Age.

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75 Responses

  1. Jordan says:

    Personally, a good 60-min run is always the best way to refresh and sharpen my mind.

    How about doing any exercise that quiets and stills the mind?

    The greatest peril face by modern man is the disquiet mind that seems to be racing throughout the day, even into the night (which causes insomnia). Slowing down the mind and even making
    it still is a great challenge, when most people need to have some music to fill any brief moment of quietness they have.

  2. Excellent tips! Many (not people here though), forget that exercise is a HUGE component and great to see it on your list!
    Rock on
    Mike T Nelson

  3. spencer lord says:

    this is a really superb article, and the top three are so right: Thoughts/Diet/Exercise. right on.

  4. Manguu says:

    @ jv: when you’re fully charged and future forward, you’ll have better ideas and more energy to tackle those issues and reach out to people in need

  5. Great article. We should post it on our computer for a daily reminder. I don’t think any one of us wants to “lose it”

    Thanks Alvaro.
    Harriet Diamond

  6. Harriet and everyone else: glad you enjoy it!

    My personal favorite, of course, is:
    #8. Don’t Outsource Your Brain.

  7. Binaifer Karanjia says:

    Wonderful article and great for understanding in a simple way, the core parts of the brain. Would like to add that many of the deeper practises of yoga meditatiosn help to destress and regenerate the brain. Specific practises are Yoga Nidra and Aantar Mouna. Both pracises work in the deeper recesses f the mind and have shown many positive changes in human personalities.

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