Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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The One New Year’s Resolution To Help You Keep All Your New Year’s Resolutions

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You enjoyed the shop­ping and hol­i­day sea­son. Great!

You care­ful­ly select­ed one or sev­er­al New Year’s Res­o­lu­tions. Excel­lent!

Now it’s time to shift gears from res­o­lu­tions to plans and realities…and there’s one thing you may have over­looked.

Dr. San­dra Bond Chap­man, Founder and Chief Direc­tor of the Cen­ter for Brain­Health at The Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas at Dal­las, puts it best: “Our health starts and ends with brain health.”

Our health starts and ends with brain health.”

In oth­er words, do you real­ly believe you’ll be able to lose weight, and to main­tain that weight loss, if you are con­stant­ly stressed out, or depressed?

Or that you will be able to get a bet­ter job if you don’t keep your atten­tion, learn­ing and deci­sion-mak­ing skills in top shape?

So, let me sug­gest this.

The One, And Brainy, New Year’s Res­o­lu­tion To Help You Keep All Your New Year’s Resolutions…is to Pay As Much Atten­tion To Your Brain As You Do To The Rest Of Your Body.

Every morn­ing, when you see your face and body in the mir­ror, say a few kind words to your brain too. “Hi mate, I’ll take good care of you today.”

Just say­ing those words, every morn­ing, should make a dif­fer­ence. Why not try? Requires zero dol­lars, and just a few sec­onds.

Lit­tle by lit­tle, you will prob­a­bly want to go beyond words. You prob­a­bly have been read­ing a lot  about brain health and neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty but, just in case, let’s take a look at some good lifestyle options we can all fol­low to main­tain, and improve, our sharp brains.

Per­haps they will inspire you to make 2017 a year of Brain Health!

1. Prac­tice pos­i­tive, action-ori­ent­ed thoughts until they become your default mind­set and you look for­ward to cre­at­ing some­thing mind­ful and beau­ti­ful every new day. Too much stress and anxiety–induced by exter­nal events or by your own thoughts–can kill neu­rons and pre­vent the cre­ation of new ones.

2. Thrive on Learn­ing. The point of hav­ing a brain is 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.”

3. 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.

4. OK, remem­ber that the brain is part of the body. Things that exer­cise your body can also help sharp­en your brain: car­dio­vas­cu­lar exer­cise enhances the cre­ation of new neu­rons (neu­ro­ge­n­e­sis), at any age!

5. 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.”

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 your own mis­takes. That way, you are train­ing your brain, not your neighbor’s.

9. Devel­op and main­tain stim­u­lat­ing friend­ships. We need social inter­ac­tion for resilience and mutu­al sup­port.

10. Laugh. Often. Espe­cial­ly to com­plex humor, full of twists and sur­pris­es, help­ing keep things in per­spec­tive.

As you can see, there are many things we can do…but it all starts with aware­ness and inten­tion.

Every morn­ing, when you see your face and body in the mir­ror, please say a few kind words to your brain. “Hi mate, I’ll take good care of you today.”

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