Because of the business I am in, you can imagine that I place a high value on maintaining a healthy brain and mind (yes, two separate things).
Sometimes how we treat our brains could be the very reason why we cannot come up with new ideas, or we cannot think straight, or why we cannot articulate ideas well.
Our brains, like any other organ in our body, require active use, nutrients, and rest in order to stay healthy.
Here are 6 tips on maintaining a healthy brain:
- Eat Brain Food: Â I think of zombies whenever I hear that term, but there are literally foods that are good for your brain.Â Omega 3 is one example.Â Try having a handful of walnuts or peanuts rather than a candy bar as a snack.Â Sugar and caffeine may give you a small boost, but in can actually lead to hypofocus and hyperfocus; excess sugar and caffeine is like self-inducing an ADHD state of mind.Â Eating unhealthy food can also affect blood flow, and hormones, which all affect brain function.
- Remember to Breathe:Â When was the last time you took a full deep breath?Â Such a basic function yet most of us rarely fill our lungs to full capacity.Â Considering that severe oxygen deprivation has been linked to memory loss and the inability to complete complex tasks, it stands to reason that not using our lungs to full capacity can have dramatic effects on our thinking.Â Learn to meditate, or take up yoga, or spend some time during the day to take in long deep breaths.
- Ugly Bags of Mostly Water:Â Our bodies are made of 70% water, and our brains are made of 85% water, yet most people don’t drink enough water.Â Your brain needs proper hydration in order to function.Â The average person needs about 8 glasses of pure water (eight ounces each glass) per day to be well hydrated.Â Pure water means juices, soda, and coffee do not count.
- Dream a Little Dream:Â One of the major causes of decrease in proper mental function is not getting enough sleep.Â It not only impacts neuro function, but also our moods.Â Ever try to deal with a difficult client after a hangover?Â Think about it.Â The average person needs about 8 hours of deep sleep each day to function, and also needs to sleep and wake up almost the same time every day.Â This is another reason why staying away from caffeine and sugar is good for your brain; they impact your sleep patterns.
- Use It or Lose It:Â Every time you learn something new, especially a habit, you are building new neuropathways.Â As you give up on habits, good or bad, those neuropathways break down.Â If you have trouble taking on new habits, it’s probably because you are out of practice in taking on new habits. That is to say, your brain is out of practice in building new neuropathways. Keep your brain active by challenging your brain once and a while, and by continuing to build and reinforce your neuropathways. Â Something as simple as reading a book rather than television is a good start.
- Let’s Get Physical:Â Many people do not realize that exercise actually impacts brain function. Proper fitness increases blood flow, improves metabolism, improve eye-hand coordination, and can also improve sleep patterns. In some cases, exercise can also improve mood, which is why so many therapists suggest exercise as part of a regiment for handling depression. Some research suggests that exercise can also improve cognitive abilities, and actually build neuropathways (e.g. learning a new exercise is equivalent to learning a new habit).Â So the next time you hit a wall with an idea, try going for a walk.
The tips above are extraordinarily easy to implement to maintain your brain function.Â If you think you don’t have time to do any of this, or if you think they are too difficult, ask yourself: what’s your brain worth to you?
Next time you hit a creative wall, or can’t think straight, take a deep breath.Â Grab a few walnuts.Â Take a walk if you need to.Â Maybe even sleep on it.
Hopefully these tips will help you think better and smarter.
[ You should consult with a doctor before making any changes to your diet or exercise. ]