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Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


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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32 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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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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