No matter what your age, consider your brain health. People with healthy brains are able to make decisions more easily, live more fulfilled lives, and may, in some cases, delay the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. So how do you keep your brain healthy? The same way you keep the rest of your body healthy.
- Manage Your Stress. Did you know that high levels of stress can affect your brain just as much as it can affect your heart? Just as stress can increase your blood pressure, it can wear away at your brain fitness and memory with high doses of the toxic chemical cortisol. Ever feel like you can’t focus? . Hot flashes. Anxiety. Worry. Flashes of anger. You are stressed. All these effect the elasticity of your brain. You become mentally exhausted. While we can’t completely remove all stress from our lives, we can develop better coping skills by understanding and focusing on our natural strengths that reduce the stress of trying hard and working in areas we're just not equipped to do easily and well. Researchers constantly refer to "mindfulness" or being aware in the moment of how you feel, pausing, and using your breath to calm your emotions. BrainStyles® will teach you about timing, the critical factor in managing stress in interactions..
- Facing a difficult problem? Dr. Chapman, head of the Center for Brain Health in Dallas, Texas, tells us how to use a process we are all familiar with: “Step away from the issue to use the ‘Default Mode Network’ [that uses] the deepest part of the brain [while you] sleep.”
- Further tips: “Multi-tasking,” she cautions, breaks down the function of [the seat of memory], the hippocampus, and releases toxins.” Setting priorities for the day is critical to brain health. “Prioritize to [the] two most important things to do per day.” Limiting incoming information is crucial. Chapman names “[b]rain supporters: Socializing, eating well, sleep, and aerobic exercise.”
- Incorporating the work of another neuroscientist, David Eagleman, who, in his book Incognito (Vintage Books, 2011), tells of how the major work the brain does is outside of our awareness when solving problems. This is underscored by Michael Gazzaniga, Ph.D., co-discoverer of the fact that our left and right brain hemispheres have different functions, who says that “99.999% of brain action is automatic and unconscious. 100 billion neurons and more than a trillion synapses work without our conscious awareness.”
We want you to be able to access your strengths, but to do that you need a healthy foundation. Make the time to get an extra hour of sleep. Take a short walk each day.
BrainStyles® provides research and tools to assist you to define and leverage your hardwired, brain-based strengths.