Nerds come in all shapes and sizes.
I’m a brain nerd. No, I’m not a Neurologist or Medical Scientist, but I am fascinated by the brain, how it works, and how understanding it can help contribute to our overall quality of life and the lives of those around us.
Thus, I’m constantly reading, watching Neuroscience TED talks, and finding articles about new advances in the fields that study the human brain coming across my desk.
One recent article led me down a rabbit hole until I found a fascinating (to a nerd like me) article on Building Brain Power for Health. The focus of the article is how to use new advances in Neuroscience to combat diseases in the clinical setting, and while those implications are huge there’s also a ton of great information for the layman in this article; that being said there’s too much to cover in one post, so let’s just hit some of the highlights shall we?
First, you should know about Neuroplasticity. The article describes it as “the capacity of brain cells to change in response to intrinsic and extrinsic factors”. Another way of saying that would be that our brains can reorganize (change) its neural pathways (the electrical synapses or highways, that nerve impulses travel in your brain and form the basis for habits and knowledge ) based on experiences. Put simply, it’s your brains ability to change and adapt and perhaps most importantly that this ‘change’ can happen At Any Age!
It’s important to note here that this ‘change’ can be either positive or negative, again based on our experiences.
- NEWNESS AND CHALLENGE – Learning and challenging ourselves is vital to keeping our brains healthy at all ages. As the saying goes, learning should be a lifelong habit.
- EXERCISE – It’s not just good for the heart. It’s good for your brain too and can improve memory, prevent brain atrophy, and help overall cognitive function.
- DIET – Again, a no-brainer (pun intended). We know that a good diet is good for preventing inflammation in our body and often we associate that with heart disease, but it’s also vital to note that Diet and Inflammation are key to healthy brains as well.
- LOVE – This, the strongest of emotions, is though to be the best (and most powerful) driver to gain positive changes in Neuroplasticity.
- PERCEPTION – This really applies to a negative perception of aging. Our ‘thoughts’ and perceptions of aging can have a huge effect on how well. or how poorly, we actually age. (once again, more data that what we think and how we think does matter).
- STRESS – In conjunction with Perception, the ability to control thoughts through meditation can result in less stress, which is being shown to have another impact on positive (or negative if combined with high stress) effects on the brain.
- SLEEP – One study of over 6,000 adults found ” greater quality of life and independent functioning in individuals who had adequate sleep”. That should tell you all you need to know.
Oh, and one more thing.
There are some studies that suggest that you can change that Neural Pathway with consistent new thoughts in 45 days!
No one’s saying it’s easy, but it is possible.
If you could change one thing, one thought, one part of your life what would it be and would you be willing to put in the effort for 45 days to do it?
[The article referenced above is not for the faint of heart. It’s a clinical article after all, full of research and references, but if you want to delve into this subject it’s a great place to start. Don’t be discouraged by the clinical stuff, keep reading, and you’ll get to some really great information as you go.]