10 tips to keep your brain healthy
Published by: Sarah 22 May 2016
If you are like most of the people I see in the City you probably find yourself, rushing from one thing to the next with no time to think.
Maybe you’re worried about dropping a ball or not doing your job well and being found out.
Perhaps you have good intentions at the beginning of the day to go to the gym but by the end of the day you’re just exhausted, head home, flop in front of the TV with a glass of something in your hand. Every day seems to be the same.
You have too much on your plate and just haven’t got enough time to get it all done.
If any of this rings true for you, you’re typical of many of my clients.
Following Mental Heath Week last week, I’d like to share with you some data sourced from Jim Kwik, an American learning and memory expert and Dr Sarah McKay an eminent Neuroscientist in Australia
Would you agree with me, that when your brain is functioning well, you could be more productive and effective? It’s easier to get through the workload and still have energy for the things that you enjoy.
Neuroscience has proven that our brains are not hard wired and that the connections (synapses) between neurons are ‘plastic’ and can change (neuro-plasticity). Which means that it’s never too late to improve your brain health and functionality – why not start now!!
So what are the top 10 things you need to do to keep your brain healthy and functioning well?
The foundation of a healthy brain is a healthy well-nourished body. Neuroscience points towards a Mediterranean based diet of mostly plants (vegetables, fruit and legumes) fish, some meat, olive oil and nuts as optimal nourishment for brain health. Even wine and coffee in moderation can prevent cognitive decline, memory loss and protect against dementia
What on earth do I mean by ANT’s? Well we all have ANT’s. We all experience automatic negative thoughts (ANT’s) at various times which impacts our ability to reach our potential. It’s easy to become consumed by them and confronting unhelpful thoughts with cool logic, often doesn’t help. There are ways to loosen the grip of these unhelpful thoughts which I will share another time. But working on squashing your ANT’s will serve you well
Neuroscience has shown that regular exercise can slow down the progression of memory loss and can even protect against the chances of developing dementia. Exercise promotes the birth of neurons too. As they say, ‘when the body moves the brain grooves’
There are certain brain supplements you can take to optimise brain function – ask a well-respected pharmacist to advise.
POSITIVE PEER GROUP
Choosing the company you keep can really help your mental health. Having a supportive peer group who share new experiences and challenge your thinking or open your eyes to new possibilities are good for your brain.
CLUTTER FREE ENVIRONMENT
Our brains take in lots of information and it has to decide what it needs to be retained and what can be ditched. When your environment is cluttered, it restricts your brains ability to focus and process information. An uncluttered environment enables the brain to process information more effectively.
Sleep is essential to your bodies overall wellness, both physically and emotionally. Sleep improves cognitive function and psychomotor performance (the brain telling the body to move).Memories cannot be consolidated in your brain with out sleep
Looking after your brain at all times is a ‘no brainer’! Please wear a helmet when you are doing things that might put your brain at risk e.g. cycling, skiing, skateboarding etc
People who learn and challenge themselves and stay mentally active throughout their lives have healthier brains and are less likely to develop dementia. Ideally choose things that have a social and physical component such as dancing or playing a musical instrument. Mental activity should be regular, reasonably complex and varied.
Chronic stress can change the wiring on your brain and increase the risks of dementia and decline of cognitive function. Too much cortisol (stress hormone) prevents the birth of new neurons and causes the hippocampus (the area involved in learning and memory) to shrink. De-stress by doing something pleasurable and relaxing. Everyone is different so choose something that works for you.
I hope you have found the above 10 tips useful. What first step can you take in order to improve your brain health?
If you’d like to know more about other aspects about how to ‘Thrive at Work’ please get in touch.
I help savvy professionals regain control in their lives and get on with doing what they love productively.