The human brain is incredible. Many regard it as the most advanced computer in existence. Our brain has the capacity to receive and process lots of new information every second. I’ve written often about the brain – boths facts and myths. Reading about all the more interesting facts about the human brain can be really mind-bending. It controls so much of our world and our experience of the world – what we think, see, imagine, and list goes on. The complexity of this vital human organ never fails to amaze me.
An average adult human brain weighs approximately three pounds and consists of 100 billion neurons which have 100 trillion connections. This unbelievable organ can process up to 70,000 thoughts every single day. It is safe to say that the human brain is one of the most highly functioning organisms we have encountered as a species. It’s the command center of the human body which has a direct influence on every facet of life. It controls our emotional, sensory, cognitive, and motor functions almost effortlessly. A healthy mind is the result of a healthy brain. Thus, it really makes a lot of sense to cater to our brain health and keep it nourished and healthy.
There is no doubt that ageing has an impact on our mental capacity. Poor mental functioning as years pass by is common. Despite this, you have the capacity and strength to boost and protect our brain health to keep our brain healthy and comparatively young. Developing the habit of maintaining your brain health at an early stage in life can help delay mental decline. Especially, in today’s age where stress and anxiety are two of the most prevailing problems, it is vital for many to boost our brain health. Not only does it impact our mental health but also have favourable effects on your physical well-being. Maya Angelou once said, “Nothing can dim the light that shines from within”. If you start to prioritise your mental health today you’ll reap the rewards. Today, I’m seeking to unravel some of the amazing ways you can boost your brain health.
1. Exercise is key
A well-regulated blood flow to the body and brain is proven to have numerous benefits. More specifically, physical exertion has so many benefits that can aid your brain health. The blood flow activates the neurons which promotes cell growth specifically in the hippocampus. Several studies have revealed compelling evidence of how regular exercise has a direct impact on your cardiovascular health, fitness, and brain activity. It is one of the major contributing proactive factors to boost your brain health and keep you from the risk of developing mental illnesses such as dementia. Moreover, research says that adults with greater levels of physical activity tend to show better cognitive functioning. The American Heart Association recommends approximately 75 minutes of aerobic activity every week.
2. Constantly enrich yourself with knowledge
Learning is a never-ending process. Education is not only important for many to succeed in life but it has many more intrapersonal benefits. Being effectively engaged in learning something new every day proves to have reduced the risk of cognitive decline. Our brain is prone to new ideas. They not only help to keep it active but also provide nourishment to perform better. Learning does not only mean reading books. It can also be a new skill. Such as a different language or learning how to play piano. Do something that you really enjoy and help your brain to stay mentally active at all times. As you might have heard before, use it or you lose it!
3. Prioritise your mental health
Coping with everyday life can be emotionally draining. While striving to achieve your goals it is important to realise your mental well-being. Being mindful of your emotions, thoughts, and feelings is necessary. A healthy mind is what will improve your brain health simultaneously. Thus, it can be majorly beneficial to put your mental health first. Do not let your everyday tasks and responsibilities overwhelm you. Maintaining a check and balance is mandatory for healthy living. Moreover, setting time for various activities can be very helpful. Try to finish your work during office hours and go home with a relaxed mind. Soothe your brain by spending time with your family and doing what you enjoy most. This will help you boost your brain health and let you perform effectively.
4. Stay socially connected
As clichéd as it sounds, friends are really the family you get to choose. In our everyday struggles, we often forget to live for ourselves. This can take a toll on our mental health and leave us distressed. Thus, being surrounded by friends and staying socially connected can help us stay mentally active. Especially, after the years of the Covid pandemic, we need to engage in healthy social interactions. Not only does it keep us engaged but also boosts our brain health. Maintaining healthy relationships does a lot to improve your mental health. According to the Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, it is suggested that socialisation can help older adults prevent dementia just like exercise helps ward off heart disease. So, value your friends and spend as much quality time with them as you can.
5. Engage in challenging activities
Challenging yourself frequently can do wonders for your brain health. The brain is an intricate organ and it needs to stay active and stimulated all the time. To assist its functions you can take up many activities to keep it growing and learning. Try your luck with crossword puzzles once in a while. Or develop a new hobby such as painting or reading your favourite novel. Engaging in sports activities is a great way to challenge your mind and successfully boost your brain health.
6. A good night’s sleep
One of the best things you can do for your brain health is to let it peacefully rest. An 8-hour uninterrupted quality sleep every night is the food for your brain. It provides it with enough time to process and store all the day’s experiences and perform repair functions. As effortlessly as the brain functions, a night of quality sleep is what it needs for maintenance. A study showed that people who slept 6 hours or less consistently every night had a 30% higher risk of developing cognitive issues.
If you really want to do your brain health a favour, then tuck yourself in for at least 7 hours every night. Put everything away before going to bed to give your brain the peace it needs. Moreover, adapt productive behaviors before bed to increase the quality of sleep. Make your bed and create a peaceful environment to fully enjoy your rest.
7. Strive for contentment
Your happiness matters. As much as physical fitness counts, emotional well-being is just as important to your brain health. To be content realistically means to be satisfied with yourself and your life. It is not possible to remain happy at all times but developing a positive mindset is. Being optimistic, resilient, and grateful is what will help you improve your brain health. Moreover, it will greatly reduce the reasons to stress. Being content and happy from within is a habit everyone should manifest. Not only will it make you appreciate life but also empower your brain and nourish your mindset. As they say, a positive mindset attracts positive things in life.
8. Avoid smoking and alcohol
At times when we are feeling low, we tend to take refuge in things that are harmful to us. When you limit drinking and smoking your brain automatically strengthens. These habits tend to numb your emotions which may lead to the risk of cognitive decline. They are the two leading factors in dementia. Thus, to improve your brain health try to limit and see the change for yourself. Instead, adopt healthy ways to manage your stress levels. Work on coping techniques that will benefit your brain health and help stimulate the mind. Mindfulness practices such as deep breathing, yoga, self-hypnosis and meditation work like a charm for stress management. Once you limit smoking and alcohol consumption your body and brain can feel healthier.
9. Respect your emotions
Something is going on in our minds all the time. Addressing your thoughts is one of the best practices to work toward brain health improvement. Developing the habit of confronting one’s emotions works well for our mental health. When we clutter our brains with endless thoughts and feelings without doing anything about them, they start to take over our life. Thus, to avoid burning out it is vital for us to respect our emotions. We need to understand that it is okay to feel things. A helpful practice can be journaling. Acquire the habit of penning down your feelings. It not only helps refresh your perspective but also clears whatever is going on inside you. If you leave your emotions unattended it will eventually hinder your cognitive functioning. Thus, be considerate towards what you feel and see how it aids your brain health.
10. Befriend nature
Believe it or not, our urban lifestyle itself can be one of the most injurious aspects of our brain health. In order to boost our mental health, it is important to spend time in nature. It helps your brain to relax and take a break from its non-stop receiving and processing. Try to take deep breaths when you go for a walk. Take every chance life offers to have some time in natural surroundings. Not only are you in need of it but so is your brain.
Quality sleep does provide the relaxation it needs but spending time in nature is a game changer. When you immerse yourself in nature it activates and refreshes your brain. Moreover, nature also helps declutter your mind with constant thoughts. It gives it the peace it requires for productive functioning. Thus, it is recommended to take at least a 10-minute walk daily to connect yourself and your brain with nature’s beauty.
11. Take care of your head
Your brain is the most vital of organs in your body. It is the one that regulates all body functions and activities. You need to look after your head in order to protect your brain. Even a slight head injury can cause a concussion that may lead to severe cognitive impairment. Thus, being vigilant while driving, playing, crossing the road, or even walking is essential. Brain health can only be improved if the head is well protected. Make sure to take all the safety measures in order to minimize the risk of any sort of injury.
12. Nutritious diet
Consuming a healthy and well-balanced diet is another factor that greatly helps improve brain health. It is integral to fuel your body with a nourishing diet to help stimulate and boost brain activity. Energy is essential for both a healthy body and mind. Moreover, eating habits too, contribute to your brain health. Eating on time and keeping count of your calories is a must. Eat good and sufficient to reduce health risks and boost brain function.
No matter how young or old you are, healthy ageing should be at the top of your list. To incorporate healthy habits into your lifestyle is a prerequisite to leading a long and fulfilled life. It is important to know that our brain is the one dominating so much of our experience. Boosting brain health is a necessity in order to do justice to your well-being. If you are willing to work towards improving your brain health, then this is your sign. Start today by adopting the aforementioned practices and changing your life for the better. Remember, you are never too old or too late to start taking action for your health. Make boosting your brain health a priority and gain all the more benefits it has to offer.
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