5 Habits That Boost Brain Health: Best Ways To Keep Your Mind Feeling Top-Notch
When we are young, our brains are functioning on all cylinders. We can multitask and complete more “to-do’s”. However, as we age, our schedules become increasingly busier. Jobs, family, friends, and our local communities take up much of our time.
To juggle all the balls at once takes practice. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported, “Good brain health is a state in which every individual can realize their own abilities and optimize their cognitive, emotional, psychological and behavioral functioning to cope with life situations.”
So how do we get to this balance? Let us look at five habits that can improve your brain energy:
- Limit your list – When we feel we must do a “million” things tomorrow, we often feel more fatigued and experience higher anxiety. Does the closet really need to be cleaned out by tomorrow? Probably not. However, making sure there are groceries in your cupboards most likely takes precedence.
According to verywellmind.com reported, “…some researchers suggest that multitasking can actually reduce productivity by as much as 40%.” Try a new approach to tackle your daily “chores.” Make a list of all the tasks for the day that you believe need to be done by days end. Now go back, read each item out loud to yourself.
Does this chore fall under “wants” or “musts”? Then tackle the musts first, if there is time, take on one more want. Remember, the groceries are a must, and the closet is a want. Not only does this give your brain a chance to acknowledge each chore but allows your anxiety about time restraints to ease up.
- Make sleeping a priority – At the end of the day, we often feel exhausted, both physically and mentally. Some even say “my brain hurts”. Remember, you are human, and along with that comes fatigue. We are not meant to function day in and day out without rest. In fact, a study conducted by sleepadvisor.org gathered the following facts:
- “Sleeping 60 to 90 minutes more per night can make you happier and healthier” – American Psychology Association
- “In 1942, Americans had 7.9 hours on average hours per night compared to 6.8 hours in 2013.” – Gallup News
- “Lack of Sleep costs the United States over $411 Billion Annually” – Fortune Magazine
Try this instead. Instead of watching television while you fall asleep, put on some soft music with no lyrics. Still struggling to settle down. read a book or do a crossword. Before you know it, you will be off to a restful night’s sleep. Your brain and body will thank you.
- Commit to an exercise routine – While it may seem unattainable to try and squeeze in exercise daily, this really should be a must in your life. As the Dana Foundation reported, “When you exercise, your body releases chemicals such as dopamine and endorphins in your brain that make you feel happy.
Not only is your brain dumping out feel-good chemicals, but exercise also helps your brain get rid of chemicals that make you feel stressed and anxious.” Luckily, this does not need to be complicated. This would be a good time to tackle a “want” off your list.
Typically, 30 minutes of simply doing the dishes or doing some laundry counts as exercise. Feel like you could do a bit more? Try some yoga. Let the day go and know that tomorrow is another day.
- Quality over quantity diet – When we feel sluggish and brain weary, it is often due to lack of nutrition. Many of us crave salty and sweet snacks to “perk” us up. Soda or coffee tends to be our biggest nemesis in caffeine high. This is the worst way to treat our brains.
Picture this, would you put diesel into an unleaded tank in your car? No way! It would ruin the car, right? Think of your brain that way. Give it the good nutrients it needs so it can function well for you. Try a handful of nuts or some carrots with hummus for an evening snack. Not only will you feel a more natural energy, but you remain fuller, allowing for a better night’s sleep.
- Always remember who is most important – No one knows your physical and mental health more than yourself. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the day, take a break. It is ok and should be another must for your day. Only you can control this. Do you love to paint? Set up a little table and allow yourself 30 minutes to just paint what you want. No judgement and no rush. Just this small break is one of the best ways to give your brain the rest it needs.
Overall – Try to take care of yourself. No one can do it for you. Your brain is vital to your happiness. As Aristotle once quoted, “The energy of the mind is the essence of life.”