Our brains are remarkable. They run our bodies, keep track of a myriad of details and allow us to make good decisions at such a rapid rate, we rarely appreciate all they do for ourselves. However, keeping your brain in tip-top shape can be a mysterious challenge. After all, there are no treadmills for our heads, are there? Here are a few tips to help keep you thinking clearly and quickly without any expensive drugs or treatment.
- Allow Your Brain to Reboot Nightly: Sleep is Mother Nature’s means of shutting off your body’s computer and letting it do a memory dump–literally. During REM sleep, your brain shuffles memories around and files some into the long-term memory banks, opening up the short-term section for new and exciting information during the day. Experts still say seven and half to nine hours a night is needed to maintain mental health and vitality.
- Network with Real People: Our brains are stimulated when we interact with other human beings. Speech, emotion, and cognitive centers are all tapped when we have a glass of wine with friends and talk about current events. Your brain literally wakes up and stretches when you form new relationships.
- Work Out: The adrenaline and endorphins that you body produces during exercise feed all areas of the body, including the brain. Synaptic activity and electrical impulses increase along with your heart rate. Stress levels reduce. All of this combines for a heightened level of awareness. You can do some of your best thinking after completing a workout.
- Play Puzzles: When working crosswords or jigsaw puzzles, you are asking your brain to look for patterns, access fading memories, compare colors and do some deductive reasoning. It is like working the cross-training circuit at the gym. However, playing the same game time after time does little to expand your knowledge or troubleshooting abilities. The best results are garnered from progressive challenges where you are asked to achieve more difficult tasks with each visit to the game.
- Learn Something New: Your brain has an amazing capacity to keep adding new data to its banks. However, if you stop learning, it will literally begin to shut down the segments it no longer requires for new exploration. Taking a cooking class, hiking a new trail, testing out different exercise equipment or having your mother teach you how to make an heirloom all will help to expand your awareness and literally build new memories in your brain.
- Eat Some Brain Boosting Foods: Of course our brains are run on a unique blend of chemicals and electricity. In order to maintain peak performance, you must keep the right chemistry. Omega 3’s are found in fatty fishes, walnuts, winter squash, and kidney beans. Green tea is packed with anti-oxidants and even a single glass of red wine or cranberry juice include flavanoids that boost brain activity.