Up Your Brain Power
There are several things one can do to up your brain power.
Turning off our “auto pilot” can break habits we would rather shed ourselves of anyways. Have you ever eaten your favorite candy or chips only to look for the rest of it and it is gone? Being more aware of what you are doing when you are doing it can do the trick.
You can give yourself permission to keep smoking, but make a conscious decision to be mindful every time you light up a cigarette. This really works.
Being aware or “mindful” is the first and most important step in upping your brain power.
Make your brain run better by … RUNNING, or walking or exercising.
We can put this very simply — fit people have sharper brains compared to people who are not fit. There is no question that exercise makes you smarter and it does so at all stages of life.
As it happens, walking is especially good for your brain, because it increases blood circulation and the oxygen and glucose that reach your brain. Walking is not strenuous, so other parts of your body do not take up extra oxygen and glucose like they do during other forms of exercise. As you walk, you effectively oxygenate your brain.
In a University of Illinois study, an improvement of only 5–7% in cardio-respiratory fitness from walking led to an improvement of up to 15% in mental tests. Non-walkers, had done some exercise, but did not gain any benefits for their brains.
Build brain power by eating healthy.
This triggers mechanisms to increase the production of nerve growth, which is essential for brain function.
What you eat is just as important as how much you eat. Studies show that fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of developing cognitive impairment. If you have already done some reading on brain function, you probably know that fish oils and fruits and vegetables can be good for you. But there is an excellent chance that you are not aware of the single most important dietary factor for peak brain function — water. Like the human body, the brain is more than 70% water. Without sufficient water dehydration begins, and this is potentially very damaging to good brain function. Adults should drink eight 10-ounce glasses of water every day and that water should not include artificial sweeteners, sugar, caffeine, or alcohol.
Sleep is just as important as exercise.
A study at Harvard found that a good night’s rest doubled participants’ chances of finding a solution to a problem the next day. Sleep is more than just resting. Good sleep allows generous amounts of oxygen to be absorbed in the blood. During sleep the volume of blood circulating through the brain is actually greater than during the waking hours. The sleeping brain is actually just as active as the waking brain — and having an active brain is always a good thing.
If you get enough exercise, you’re more likely to sleep better, and if you get enough sleep, you’ll feel more like exercising.
Do whatever you can to reduce stress in all areas of your life.
You may have noticed that when you are under acute stress you have a harder time remembering things. Stress can disturb cognitive processes such as learning and memory. So, try to relax. Admittedly, it’s not always easy, but there are many things you can do to calm yourself down. Yoga and meditation are both excellent.
As they say, “use it or lose it” is definitely true where the brain is concerned.
Like it or not, the human brain starts slowing down at about the age of 30. At one time, it seemed like nothing could be done about this, but new research shows you can train your mind to work faster and better and you can do this at any age. You can do workouts for your brain just as you do for your body.
Introducing new forms of mental activity can strengthen the brain.
Crossword puzzles, Sudoku, learning a new language or any form of new activity for you all count. Challenge your mind to try something different. Something that takes your brain in a new direction and then find ways to make it as enjoyable as you can.
Finally, realize that you have the power to improve your brainpower, so put that realization into action right now.