If our body is a machine, the brain is the driving force behind it. It is a complex, fascinating, and the most dynamic feature of our system. It is something that is responsible for creating every technology, every luxury, and the comfortable conditions that we enjoy today. What seems impossible to one generation is made possible by the next generation of brainy scientists and thinkers. This, despite the fact that we make efficient use of only a very small percentage of our brain So, it is of great importance to determine the factors that will contribute in keeping a brain efficient, alert, and running because it directly affects the well-being of the whole body.
Just like any other part of the body, the brain too needs its share of care. When it remains inactive, the neurological passages in the brain deteriorate. Additionally, as a person ages, his/her brain becomes more prone to degenerative diseases like dementia, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.
So, how do we make it possible to keep the brain functioning well? What should be taken care of?
Given below are some very helpful tips that will help you take better care of your brain and make optimum use of it.
1. Setting New Challenges
Confused? They were Robert’s sisters! Ha-ha, bet you couldn’t guess that!
To constantly challenge oneself to take up things that stimulate the mind is very important. Even if it is only for a quarter or half an hour. It can be crosswords, sculpture, puzzles, dance, yoga, or anything else. One only needs to ensure that the activity shouldn’t be too easy to complete, or the brain wouldn’t be stimulated enough. If you have already attempted a certain activity and liked it, try the advanced versions. If you take up a vocation that matches your interests, it sends positive signals to your brain. For the kids, clays, messy play, sand activities or play-dohs are good mediums to encourage hand-brain interaction.
2. Regular Exercise
The relation between mental and physical health is deep-rooted. Any physical activity requires the application of motor skills and develops hand and eye coordination. It is the brain that controls the body movements. Hence, regular exercise stimulates the brain to remain active (1). It keeps the mind agile and prevents premature aging of the brain.
3. Hobby Ideas
It is great to take up new hobbies that might seem interesting. This prevents the mind from stagnating as you are engaging in something new. In fact, it can also trigger the dormant neural pathways and encourage frequent brain activity. It could be anything under the sun – from music to designing, from art to adventure, or simply gardening or reading.
In today’s fast-paced world, the mind can be overstimulated to the point of being cluttered. Any form of relaxation, especially meditation and yoga, can be very helpful to rejuvenate the mind and the body. It is said that in a state of relaxation, the creative juices flow from the brain and make it more focused (2).
5. Adequate Sleep
Sleep is a natural tranquilizer that refreshes your mind and body alike. A good sleep helps to flush out the toxins produced in the brain and the body during the day and repairs the wear and tear. All our experiences and knowledge gained in the day are reinforced during the night while we are sleeping. This, in turn, results in better memory and retention. Therefore, it is more about quality sleep than the hours we spend in bed. Another important factor is to stay away from all kinds of gadgets. They have electromagnetic fields that hinder sleep as they stimulate the brain to remain active. If one can’t manage to get a good 7 to 8 hours of sleep, even power naps can come handy.
6. Eating Right
Eating right is living right. What we eat directly affects our body and brain functions. Fast foods, sweets, and unmindful snacking are the banes of modern society. One must consume foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fishes like sardines, salmon, river trout and tuna, seeds and nuts like walnuts, pumpkin, sunflower and flax seeds, etc. Other things that can promote brain functions are foods rich in vitamins E and C. They are antioxidants and reduce the effect of the toxic free radicals, thereby resulting in better absorption of oxygen in the body. Folic acid also has been found helpful in reducing the chances of neurologically degenerative diseases (3).
Social interactions are very healthy for the brain. The more you connect with people, the more are the chances of exchanging news, information, and experiences. This, in turn, may encourage a person to be more engaged with the society and people. It can be seen as a good opportunity to take up something new, make new friends, develop new goals, and be happier. It boosts self-confidence and memory and keeps the brain busy. Social clubs, prayer groups, and hobby classes are some good places to make new friends.
8. Cut Down On Alcohol
Research has established that consumption of alcohol beyond permissible limits is bad. It makes a body deficient in thiamine, which is important for brain activity. Though moderate amounts of red wine or other alcohol can actually be good for health, consuming more than necessary can lead to problems like speech and behavioral issues. It can result in faulty movements and incoherence, diminished memory, and emotional outbursts (4).
9. Book Clubs
Being a part of book clubs is an excellent way to broaden your perceptions and experiences. They make one participate and interact, which might not be possible when reading a book alone. The discussions, view points, and discourses make the experience of reading more alive and evolved. It triggers the brain faculties related to the region of the hippocampus that activates the functions of analysis, memory, and retention.
Therefore, to keep the brain ticking, one must live a healthy and regulated life. To be passionate about new things and goals, keep the motivation alive. Being with family and friends, appreciating the daily bounties of nature, and taking care of one’s own health promotes overall well-being and brain longevity.