Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Icon

The Ten Habits of Highly Effective Brains — Time for Brain Fitness Resolutions?

Giv­en many of us are start­ing to pre­pare New Year Res­o­lu­tions, let’s revis­it one of Sharp­Brains’ most pop­u­lar-ever arti­cles that can help us all refine our Brain Fit­ness Res­o­lu­tions

The Ten Habits of High­ly Effec­tive Brains

  1. Learn what is 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 con­sumes 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.
  4. Prac­tice pos­i­tive, future-ori­ent­ed thoughts until they become your default mind­set and you look for­ward to every new day in a con­struc­tive way. Stress and anx­i­ety, no mat­ter whether induced by exter­nal events or by your own thoughts, actu­al­ly kills neu­rons and pre­vent the cre­ation of new ones. You can think of chron­ic stress as the oppo­site of exer­cise: it pre­vents the cre­ation of new neu­rons.
  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 stay in your brain 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 often with fun­da­men­tal­ly new 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. The brain keeps devel­op­ing, no mat­ter your age, and it reflects 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. And learn from them. 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’ has 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…so, pick your next bat­tle and start improv­ing on one of these 10 habits today — why wait till next year? Revis­it the habit above that real­ly grabbed your atten­tion, click on the link to learn more, and make a deci­sion to try some­thing dif­fer­ent today!

Resource: you can learn about the brain, brain fit­ness, these habits, and much more, read­ing the book  The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness (May 2009; $19.95).

Leave a Reply...

Loading Facebook Comments ...

2 Responses

  1. 10 great tips to live by! I espe­cial­ly like the sug­ges­tion of not out­sourc­ing your brain. Watch­ing count­less peo­ple par­rot­ing the mind­less big­otries and assump­tions fed to them by self-serv­ing media talk­ing heads, enter­tain­ment fig­ures, and ‘Madi­son Avenue’ is dis­turb­ing. Why be a sheep? Stand up and tell the shep­herd to stuff it. Own your own thoughts, emo­tions, and impuls­es. Great arti­cle!

  2. Waqas says:

    This is a real­ly inter­est­ing arti­cle. I have per­son­al­ly expe­ri­enced the ben­e­fit of think­ing in a pos­i­tive man­ner in every sit­u­a­tion. Things only get as bad as we allow them to be and it boosts your ener­gy to go after big­ger chal­lenges.

Leave a Reply

Categories: Cognitive Neuroscience, Health & Wellness

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About SharpBrains

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.

Search in our archives

Follow us and Engage via…

twitter_logo_header
RSS Feed

Watch All Recordings Now (40+ Speakers, 12+ Hours)