I know there are many times, like now, where I want to make sure my brain health is in it’s best working order. I rely on my beautiful grey matter a lot and I’m sure you do too. I mean the brain is your “grand conductor” that is constantly working for your mind and body. So, let’s treat it well.
Here are some things I do to keep my brain health primed for meaningful activity (without feeling like I’m putting myself on over-drive!)
1. Meditate: Research suggests that meditation is a powerful way to slow down your overloaded brain. It helps keep the brain healthy and young. When researchers at UCLA compared the brains of meditators to non-meditators they found that meditator’s brains were almost a decade younger by the time people reach their mid 50s.
2. Nourish Your Brain: Not only does meditation help brain health but exercise gets your blood pumping and raises serotonin levels (most antidepressants focus on the production of serotonin). And as they say, “Use it, so you don’t lose it”, engage yourself in some mental stimulation where there is challenge and variety. Get out those crossword puzzles or go take a new course. Balanced nutrition also feeds the brain. There is now research that links poor gut health to anxiety and depression and even some diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. And finally, staying positively connected to yourself and others keeps the brain stimulated and helps maintain cognitive processes (and it’s fun!)
3. Breathe: Check in with your breath everyday. Deep breathing can calm the nervous system by reducing your heart rate and activating the parasympathetic (calming) nervous system. In an interesting study out of Northwestern Medicine, scientists discovered nasal breathing plays a pivotal role in coordinating electrical brain signals in the olfactory “smell” cortex – the brain regions that directly receive input from our nose – which then coordinates the amygdala (which processes emotions) and the hippocampus (responsible for both memory and emotions). We know the “smell” system is closely linked to the limbic brain regions that affect emotion, memory and behavior, which is why sometimes a particular smell or fragrance can evoke very strong emotional memories. The study also shows the act of breathing itself can influence our emotions and memory.
If this resonates with you and you’d like to overcome some of your own barriers to living the life you want, then click here and I’ll make sure we connect. And you know I like to share the love, so if you know someone who could benefit from this article then please share it! Imagine, thought by thought and act by act we are creating a more conscious world.