What could be more important than the health and well-being of your brain? From conception to grave, we are worried about our mental performance. Except for that middle bit where we are preoccupied with making money, working, and taking care of our families instead of ourselves, but there are simple, easy ways you can care for your brain health.
Manage Your Stress
Stress is a big deal and can wreak havoc on all aspects of your life and your health. Stress is known to fatigue and seriously degrade the brain and its functions. Stress has an immediate and negative effect on things like concentration, short-term memory storage, and decision-making, but the effects aren’t just short term. Chronically stressed people show slower response time, less brain mass and slower plasticity than there less stressed counterparts.
Make It Uncomfortable
Routine is the unequaled enemy of your brain function; it lets your brain be lazy. You don’t think about it, you don’t think about getting ready in the morning or the drive to work. You probably don’t think about your coffee order or any of the mundane tasks of your job. You don’t have to think about the way you go home or the lyrics of the music you listen to in the car. That is practically all day you go through without a second thought.
Your brain likes lazy, it is why so many of us develop habits good or bad. However, making your brain uncomfortable is an easy and effective way to improve your mental agility. You are effectively getting your brain up off the couch. Brush your hair or teeth with your non-dominant hand, take a different way to work, go to a different coffee shop, do something other than watch TV after work, don’t use the same treadmill at the gym, whatever. Do something that breaks your routine in practically anyway to keep your brain from getting so lazy.
I like we have covered before, brains are lazy! They only do as much as you make them and let’s face it TV shows and Facebook don’t require a lot of brain power. So do things that make you think harder. Learn a new language, join a book club, even play video games to boost your brains effectiveness in other areas of your life. There are plenty of games, websites, and apps out there designed to stimulate your brain. So if your lifestyle is a busy one and you don’t know how or where you are going to find the time to learn a new language, make your thinking time part of your screen time.
Make A Run For It
Your brain isn’t the only thing you need to exercise for mental health. Physical exercise is important to your mental health as well. It helps clear stress, increase oxygen circulation and lowers blood sugar for up to 24 hours, all of which are great boosts to your mental faculties. It doesn’t have to be cardio. Any form of exercise that meets the standards put forth by the government will boost your brain power.
Keep Your Health In Check
Regular check-ups with your doctor that screen for common health issues including high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol are all supportive of good brain health. Issues that affect other aspects of your health effect your brain too. It only makes sense, your blood cycles through your whole body and that includes your brain. Extra trash in your blood complicates the brain’s ability to function. While high blood pressure increase the risk of bursting the delicate and intricate blood vessels in the brain. Regular checks and controlling any pre-existing conditions will help prolong and sharpen your mental faculties.
Andrea Stewart Roa, M.S.
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