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The Ten Habits of Highly Effective Brains

Posted By Alvaro Fernandez On August 22, 2007 @ 6:07 In Cognitive Neuroscience,Health & Wellness | Comments Disabled

Brain5Let’s review some good lifestyle options we can fol­low to main­tain, and improve, our vibrant brains.

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  1. 1. Learn what is the “It” in “Use It or Lose It”. A basic under­stand­ing will serve you well to appre­ci­ate your brain’s beauty as a liv­ing and constantly-developing dense for­est with bil­lions of neu­rons and synapses.
  2. Take care of your nutri­tion [1]. Did you know that the brain only weighs 2% of body mass but con­sumesgood brain food over 20% of the oxy­gen and nutri­ents we intake? As a gen­eral rule, you don’t need expen­sive ultra-sophisticated nutri­tional sup­ple­ments, just make sure you don’t stuff your­self with the “bad stuff”.
  3. Remem­ber that the brain is part of the body. Things that exer­cise your body [2] can also help sharpen your brain: phys­i­cal exer­cise enhances neurogenesis.
  4. Prac­tice pos­i­tive, future-oriented thoughts [3] until they become your default mind­set and you look for­ward to every new day in a con­struc­tive way. Stress and anx­i­ety, no mat­ter whether induced by exter­nal events or by your own thoughts, actu­ally kills neu­rons and pre­vent the cre­ation of new ones. physical exercise for brain healthYou can think of chronic stress as the oppo­site of exer­cise: it pre­vents the cre­ation of new neurons.
  5. Thrive on Learn­ing [4] and Men­tal Chal­lenges [5]. The point of hav­ing a brain is pre­cisely to learn and to adapt to chal­leng­ing new envi­ron­ments. Once new neu­rons appear in your brain, where they stay in your brain and how long they sur­vive depends on how you use them. “Use It or Lose It” does not mean “do cross­word puz­zle num­ber 1,234,567″. It means, “chal­lenge your brain often with fun­da­men­tally new activities”. [6]
  6. We are (as far as we know) the only self-directed organ­isms in this planet. Aim high [7]. Once you grad­u­ate from col­lege, keep learn­ing. Once you become too com­fort­able in one job, find a new one. The brain keeps devel­op­ing, reflect­ing what you do with it.
  7. Explore, travel. Adapt­ing to new loca­tions forces you to pay more atten­tion to your envi­ron­ment. Make new deci­sions, use your brain.
  8. Don’t Out­source Your Brain [8]. Not to media per­son­al­i­ties, not to politi­cians, not to your smart neigh­bour… Make your own deci­sions, and mis­takes. And learn from them. That way, you are train­ing your brain, not your neighbour’s. [9]
  9. Develop and main­tain stim­u­lat­ing friend­ships [10]. We are “social ani­mals”, and need social inter­ac­tion. Which, by the way, is why ‘Baby Ein­stein’ has been shown not to be the panacea for chil­dren development.
  10. Laugh [11]. Often. Espe­cially to cog­ni­tively com­plex humor, full of twists and sur­prises. Bet­ter, try to become the next Jon Stewart

Now, remem­ber that what counts is not read­ing this article-or any other-, but prac­tic­ing a bit every day until small steps snow­ball into unstop­pable, inter­nal­ized habits…so, pick your next bat­tle and try to start improv­ing at least one of these 10 habits today. Revisit the habit above that really grabbed your atten­tion, and make a deci­sion to try some­thing dif­fer­ent today!

SharpBrainsGuide_3D [12]To learn more about what you can do, check out The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness [13].

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    Article printed from SharpBrains: http://sharpbrains.com

    URL to article: http://sharpbrains.com/blog/2007/08/22/10-habits-of-highly-effective-brains/

    URLs in this post:

    [1] nutri­tion: http://www.sharpbrains.com/resources/2-the-4-pillars-of-brain-maintenance/nutrition-and-supplements-dhea-ginkgo-biloba-omega-3-separating-myth-from-fact/

    [2] exer­cise your body: http://www.sharpbrains.com/blog/2010/10/04/fitter-bodies-fitter-brains-true-at-all-ages/

    [3] pos­i­tive, future-oriented thoughts: http://www.sharpbrains.com/blog/2010/10/07/train-your-brain-to-focus-on-positive-experiences/

    [4] Learn­ing: http://www.sharpbrains.com/blog/2010/10/12/the-benefits-of-speaking-more-than-one-language/

    [5] Men­tal Chal­lenges: http://www.sharpbrains.com/blog/2008/01/19/brain-games-and-cognitive-fitness-news-for-the-weekend/

    [6] Image: http://www.sharpbrains.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/08/HandReachingRock.jpg

    [7] Aim high: http://www.sharpbrains.com/blog/2010/10/14/work-helps-maintain-the-brain/

    [8] Don’t Out­source Your Brain: http://www.sharpbrains.com/blog/2008/02/26/brain-plasticity-how-learning-changes-your-brain/

    [9] Image: http://www.sharpbrains.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/08/WomaninShowerSmiling.jpg

    [10] stim­u­lat­ing friend­ships: http://www.sharpbrains.com/resources/7-opening-the-debate/why-social-engagement-can-boost-brain-function-the-case-for-walking-book-clubs/

    [11] Laugh: http://www.sharpbrains.com/blog/2007/03/18/brain-teaser-for-stress/

    [12] Image: http://www.amazon.com/The-SharpBrains-Guide-Brain-Fitness/dp/0982362978/?_encoding=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=ur2&tag=sharpbrains-20

    [13] The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness: http://mybook.to/brainfitness

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