Category Archives: Mind & Body Care

10 Tips to Wake Up the Brain

10 Tips to Wake Up, Refresh, & Energize Your Brain

Bad News:
It’s Monday morning.
Coffee is not working.
Schedule for the day involves a lot of thinking, talking, and moving.

Good News:
Coffee is not the only solution to life’s problems.

Weekday mornings are never appealing to the brain. However, there are certain things you can do to ease the torturous time and effort to wake up, refresh, and energize your mind. Check out our tips below:

  1. Drink Water — Drink a glass of water immediately after you wake up to kick up your metabolism and de-fog your brain.
  2. Don’t “Snooze” — You’re setting yourself up to feel lazy & unmotivated throughout the day when you delay waking up and hit “snooze” multiple times in the morning. Pick a time that gives you enough sleep but also enough time to go through your morning routine without rushing, and wake up when your first alarm rings.
  3. Open the Blinds – Sunlight has a direct effect on the activity in our brains. When we deprive our brains of light, we will stay in a groggy, sleep-like state of consciousness. Bright light helps shift our brain waves to higher frequencies and triggers the release of brain-happy neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.
  4. Exercise in the Morning — The act of exercising in the morning might sound horrendous if you’ve never done it, but besides obvious health reasons, it’ll actually give you more energy throughout the whole day. Try sleeping in your workout clothes to lessen the chances of making excuses in the morning.
  5. Turn up the Music — Listen to some upbeat tunes as you get ready in the morning. Studies have shown that music is the one stimulus that lights up the entire brain on a PET scan. Music helps the brain release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate the brain’s pleasure and reward centres, as well as emotional responses and motivation. 
  6. Take a Cold Shower — No explanation needed. It’s horrible. But it works.
  7. Don’t treat Coffee like a “Drug” — On days you feel more energized, try to forego the coffee, or at least try cutting down the amount you drink everyday. If you absolutely need a pick-me-up, try drinking some brain-healthy green tea instead!
  8. Eat Breakfast — Take the phrase “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” seriously. Breakfast gives your brain vital nutrients that it needs in order to optimally carry out mental processes throughout the day. Think of it as fuel for your body, without it, you’ll run out of fumes! Try including some brain-healthy foods in your breakfast diet.
  9. Talk to Someone — Engage in some light chit-chat with a family member, friend, or co-worker in the morning. Even though you might not feel like it, taking the initiative to engage in a conversation really helps to get your mind & body out of a “zombie-like” state.
  10. Play Fit Brains — Prep your brain for a new day’s workload by spending a few minutes playing Fit Brains brain games. Fit Brains exercises help stimulate and sharpen your mental responses, and prime your mind to better focus on the tasks throughout the day. You can play Fit Brains on any web browser or train on-the-go with our iOS, Android, or Amazon app!

Fit Brains

Do YOU have any “wake-up” tips of your own? Share with us in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #wakeupbraintip!

Gender & the Brain: Differences between Women & Men

male_vs_female

A study completed recently in December 2013 on nearly 1,000 brain scans has surprisingly confirmed what many of us thought…that there are major differences between the male & female brain.  Women’s and men’s brains are indeed wired in fundamentally different ways.

The research showed that on average, female brains are highly connected across the left and right hemispheres, and connections in male brains are typically stronger between the front and back regions. Men’s brains tend to perform tasks predominantly on the left-side, which is the logical/rational side of the brain. Women, on the other hand, use both sides of their brains because a woman’s brain has a larger Corpus Callosum, which means women can transfer data between the right and left hemispheres faster than men.

ZitsListening

Here is a list of the basic differences between women & men based on research studies of the brain done up to now.  This might be a handy list to show to your other half to avoid future misunderstandings!

  • Brain Size & Brain Connections: Women’s brains are 8% smaller than men’s, but have more interconnections.  Women perform better at “bigger picture” & situational thinking while men do better on more specific spatial thinking (problem solving, and pattern prediction involving objects and their spatial relationships).
  • Multi-tasking: Men tend to be better at learning and performing a single task, like cycling or navigating, and women are better at juggling different tasks at once.
  • Social Context: Women are better at social thinking & interactions than men, while men are more abstract and task-orientated.  This is why women are normally better at communication while men more often prefer relying on themselves to get things done.
  • Emotions: Women typically have a larger limbic system than men, which makes them more in touch and expressive with their emotions.  Women are usually more empathic and comprehensive in thinking, while men focus on exact issues and disregard impertinent information.  Men have a difficult time understanding emotions not explicitly verbalized but can think more logically, while women have a more wholesome view of thinking & understanding but their emotions can sometimes influence decisions.
  • Math Skills: A brain area called the “Inferior-Parietal Lobule (IPL)” is normally larger in men than women.  This area is thought to control mathematical processes, which explains why men typically can perform mathematical tasks better than women.
  • Pain: Women tend to perceive pain more intensely than men.  The Amygdala is the brain area activated when pain is felt. The right Amygdala is activated for men and the left Amygdala is activated for women. The right Amygdala has more connections with external functions while the left Amygdala has more connections with internal functions.
  • Coordination & Movement: Men are generally better with coordination, controlling their movements, and have faster reaction times.
  • Language: Women are more attuned to words and sounds and are normally better at learning languages.  This is also why men tend to have a harder time expressing emotions verbally.
  • Memory: Women generally have better memory than men.  They have greater activity in the brain’s hippocampus, which is part of the brain that helps store memories. Studies have shown women are generally better at recalling words, names, faces, pictures, objects, and everyday events.
  • Sense of Direction: Men has shown to have better visual-spatial & geographic memory and thinking, meaning they tend to have a better sense of direction and remembering where locations and areas are.
  • Risks & Rewards: Men has a brain wired for risk-taking more than women.  Male brains get a bigger burst of endorphins, sensation of pleasure, when faced with a risky or challenging situation.  And the bigger the reward is, the more likely a man will take a risk.
  • Senses & Sex: Men focus more on their visual sense, among other senses of perception; while women tend to use multiple senses. In terms of sexual activity, men are prevalently turned on by what they see, whereas women are turned on by multiple sources: ambience, touch, scent, as well as visual perception.

What did you think about the list?  Tell us in the comments!  Be sure to follow our blog for more lifestyle & health tips and lists.  Also, both our female and male readers can benefit from a stronger & healthier brain by playing Fit Brains brain training games, so check it out!

 

 

Tips on How to Sleep Better

cute_sleeping_baby_1

One of the biggest boosts you can give your brain is a good night’s sleep.  Adequate sleep is vital to proper brain function.  Without it — our judgment, reaction time, memory and other brain functions may be impaired.  According to Dr. Mark Mahowald, a professor of neurology at the University of Minnesota Medical School, one night of lost sleep has the same impact in simulated driving tests as illegally high blood-alcohol levels.

Turn in early to give yourself 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night (this is considered average, though some people may need as few as 5 or as many as 10 hours.)  For many, falling asleep is a challenge.  Anxiety, stress, pain, interpersonal conflicts and medication all impact one’s ability to get a good night’s sleep.  Luckily, sleep is a learned behaviour and you can change it.

7 Suggestions to Improve Your Sleep

  1. Cut down on caffeine - Even if you don’t stop it completely, reducing makes a difference.
  2. Get more exercise - Walk daily, you will notice a difference immediately.
  3. Listen to a soothing CD before bed.  Or try white noise to create a background.
  4. Take a warm bath before bed.
  5. Maintain a regular schedule. Going to bed and getting up around the same time help you develop a rhythm that can make falling asleep easier.
  6. Spruce up your sleeping area. A comfortable mattress, comfortable bedding and blackout curtains can make a world of difference.
  7. Use the bed for sleep, not channel or Internet surfing.

Make sure you bookmark our blog & check back often for more health & lifestyle tips!  Also, remember to keep your brain sharp by training with Fit Brains!

NEW APP >> Fit Brains: Cognitive Assessment has been released!

Another new Fit Brains app has been released on the iTunes app store!

fit brains cognitive assessment app

Introducing Fit Brains: Cognitive Assessment — a FREE app to measure your brain performance levels & emotional functioning, complete with detailed feedback & improvement suggestions!

fit brains cognitive assessment app fit brains cognitive assessment app

Download this app if you would like to test your cognitive abilities in different areas of the brain.  After completing the test, you will receive a Cognitive Health Score with detailed feedback & suggestions on 7 brain skills:

  • Memory: Free Recall
  • Memory: Recognition
  • Problem Solving
  • Concentration
  • Reaction Time
  • Visuospatial
  • Memory: Delayed Recall

Fit Brains Cognitive Assessment app

Use the recommendations this app provides to improve your brain health, and train your brain to be stronger with our original Fit Brains Trainer app.  You can then re-take the assessment periodically to measure your improvements & compare your historical trends.

fit brains cognitive assessment app

What are you waiting for?  Click HERE to download the app NOW to test & skyrocket your brain power!

fit brains lifestyle assessment appIf you haven’t already, remember to also download our other brand new FREE app, Fit Brains: Lifestyle Assessment, to test & improve your lifestyle health choices.

We have many more updates & new products coming your way shortly, stay tuned by following blog, Facebook, and Twitter!

 

10 Quotes on Gratitude & Being Thankful

thankful4

Thanksgiving may be full of feasts & festivities, but it is important to remember the true meaning of this holiday.  Thanksgiving is all about gratitude, all about being thankful.

Thanksgiving is a day for everyone to reflect upon themselves and count their blessings.  We worry about many things on a daily basis and let obstacles and small difficulties in life consume us.  It is nice to have a day where we can slow down and acknowledge everything we have in life.  Having gratitude not only shows appreciation, but will help us become happier, more satisfied, healthier, and overall better people.

Here are 10 quotes from influential individuals on giving thanks & being thankful, we hope these will inspire you to celebrate Thanksgiving with gratitude!

 

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”
Meister Eckhart 

“When you practice gratefulness, there is a sense of respect towards others.”
Dalai Lama

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
John F. Kennedy

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
Epicurus

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”
Maya Angelou

“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.”
Alphonse Karr

“‘Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.”
Alice Walker

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”
Oprah Winfrey

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”
The Buddha

“I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.”
Woody Allen

Happy Thanksgiving from the Fit Brains team!

thankful-thanksgiving-song-children

NEW Fit Brains app — Test your health & lifestyle choices!

mzl.pevlnnov.175x175-75A new Fit Brains app has been released on the iTunes app store!

Introducing Fit Brains: Brain Health Lifestyle Assessment — a FREE iOS app to test your health & lifestyle choices, complete with detailed feedback & improvement suggestions!

fit brains lifestyle assessment

Based on your answers from the assessment, the app is designed to provide personalized educational & informational suggestions to help you make step by step changes for a healthier brain & overall life.  

Fit Brains Lifestyle Assessment

After completing the test, you will receive a Brain Health Lifestyle Score with detailed summaries & suggestions on 5 health and lifestyle areas:

  1. Physical Activity
  2. Mental Stimulation
  3. Socialization
  4. Spirituality
  5. Nutrition

Fit Brains Lifestyle AssessmentFit Brains Lifestyle Assessment 

You are encouraged to re-take the test periodically to see statistics on your improvements.

Same as all Fit Brains apps, the data in the Fit Brains: Lifestyle Assessment app is retrieved from the extensive scientific research done by leading neuroscientists & neuropsychologists in the United States, including Dr. Paul Nussbaum, one of the top clinical neuropsychologists in the U.S. with more than 50 peer reviewed publications.

So what are you waiting for?  Click HERE to download the app NOW to improve your life & make it the best it can be!  After your 1st assessment, share your health & lifestyle goals with us in the comments below, on our Facebook, or Twitter!

Fit Brains’ List of Happiness!

laughter

Besides keeping your mind sharp & active with brain training, one of the key points to having a healthy brain is making sure you are thinking happy thoughts!

This is why the Fit Brains team have created our on-going user-generated List of Happiness!  Anyone who needs a little pick-me-up at anytime will just have to visit this list to break a smile :) 

YOU can be a part of this list too…

What is one thing that triggers happiness in YOUR brain?  

Leave us your happy answer in the comments & we’ll add it to the list!

  • “Dancing keeps my body and mind happy and healthy” – Carol A. Keierleber
  • “MUSIC triggers happiness in my brain!” – Jordan Leo Yelle
  • “Books!” – Ulanda Dargis
  • “Spending time with my granddaughter” – Sharon Bylevedlt
  • “My pets” – Sylenda Harvey
  • “Meditation” – Ravel Viirsalu
  • “A hug” – Wendy Vanns
  • “Walk quickly 40 minutes/day” – Charles Eggerstedt
  • “Riding my bike to the local park to watch the sunset over the mountains” – Deane Alban
  • “Planting seeds” – Gail Asher Wells
  • “Seeing a smile” – Denise Gooch Orr