How to Take Care of Your Beautiful Brain

Our brains take care of us 24/7, without us even having to ask for the favor. It used to be thought that our brains reached a pinnacle in terms of growth around the tender age of 5-6 and that it was all downhill from that point onwards. Recent work in the field of neurobiology has uncovered that us humanoids have the capability to rewire circuits of our brains and grow new neurons. All of this is known as neuroplasticity – which refers to how flexible and resilient our brains are at rerouting and rewiring themselves in response to life experiences. The term neurogenesis refers to the brain`s capacity to generate new neural networks. We all like to be at our best, so, why not take care of our brainiacness.

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1 – Aerobic exercise : this is one of the most important things you can do for your ol` thinker. Regardless of age, this type of exercise increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which enhances brain growth when released into our organisms. FYI, acute and chronic stress tend to decrease levels of BNDF so show that stress who’s boss. In addition, a study funded by the National Institute of Aging showed that moderate aerobic exercise can augment the size of the area of the brain involved in memory formation, and these benefits may be even greater if you are at genetic risk of Alzheimer`s.

2- Meditation: this placid activity can stimulate our hippocampus (portion of the brain in charge of long-term memory and learning) and calm our amygdala (which is involved in emotion-processing but often on the lookout for danger). Some research is also looking at how mindfulness meditation may thicken our brain cells` walls. My clients tend to freak out and their eyes widen when I mention meditation, but in reality, all meditation is is an approach to training the mind, similar to the way that fitness is an approach to training the body. Give it a shot today. 🙂 To gain more insight: http://books.google.ca/books?id=6_hc1abbaVUC&printsec=frontcover&hl=fr#v=onepage&q&f=false  (thank you Google books, minus the page skips 🙂 )

3 – Challenge your mind and memory: mentally stimulate yourself by challenging your daily routine. “Use it or lose it” applies to many things in life, including your mind. Take up a new skill, take a different route home, listen to different types of music, do crossword puzzles, learn a new language or work a difficult puzzle. Passive activities like watching television do not provide the same advantages. Sorry if I am raining on anyone`s parade.

Best,

–Niki

Source: National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioural Medicine

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