- To reduce unhealthy stress levels, take up yoga, meditate, laugh, exercise, or care for a pet.
- The easiest way to challenge your brain is to choose a “word of the day” and then work the word into a conversation. Improving vocabulary is a great way to challenge your brain daily.
- Ten minutes of focusing on the positive and visualizing the future each day can change the way you look at life, opening your mind to new possibilities.
- Take advantage of your natural learning booster by believing something is important. If we try to learn without feeling interested, very little of that information will be saved in our memories. When we tell ourselves that what we’re learning is important, our brains join in, triggering our learning circuits.
- Try making a list of ten things you are thankful for – just doing this daily can make a big difference in your everyday attitude and help manage stress. There is a definite connection between healthy living and having a positive outlook on life.
Spirituality has many meanings and it may mean something different to different people. I am referring to spirituality as one means of turning inward to a peaceful existence and to remove oneself from the hurried society that is modern life. Prayer/worship, meditation, and relaxation procedures are just three examples of spirituality.
Early research on the human brain exposed to life threatening stressors indicates there is similar damage to the hippocampus as is known to exist in animals. Also, humans with chronic anxiety have memory problems again supporting the negative effect of stress and uncontrolled anxiety on brain function.
Research and surveys have reported the following positive effects of spirituality on health:
- An enhanced immune system, the system that helps you defend against colds, flu, and other illnesses.
Reports of longer, happier and healthier lives.
- As part of the daily routine while in the hospital relates to an earlier discharge.
- According to a past Parade Magazine Survey, 95% of the physicians in the U.S. believe spirituality is important to the well-being of their patients.
to learn more about more about Spirituality and Brain Health
Brain health begins with your learning the basics of your brain and how environment influences the structure and function of your brain. It is important to understand that you have the ability to promote healthy development of your brain that can not only influence the health of your brain, but also affect aspects of your life in a positive way.
Consider the following examples of how a proactive brain health lifestyle that includes (1) physical activity, (2) mental stimulation, (3) nutrition, (4) socialization, and (5) spirituality can make a positive difference:
1. Increased communication skills with your partner and peers at work. We incur divorce and financial loss at work because of communication problems.
2. Control over the inner voice that sabotages nearly every diet plan. This is an issue of inhibition, discipline, and reward that results from thoughts and action.
3. Leadership through enhancement of empathy and accurate perception of the emotions of others. Presidents get elected with such skills and our best leaders likely have this skill.
4. Relationship building and limiting unnecessary tensions. This is a big one for family dynamics.
5. Achieving success in life by setting concrete goals and developing the mental path to meet these goals. Thoughts are electrical, chemical, and perhaps magnetic with influence over behavior and outcome.
6. Creation of a better sense of self.
7. Gaining control over inner tension, stress, and our psychophysiology that can alter our longevity and quality of life.
8. Slowing time and developing an appreciation for the here and now.
9. Understanding the enormous power and consequences of our words and messages to others, particularly children.
10. Promoting neuronal development through learning and exposure of our brains to the novel and complex such as Fit Brains www.fitbrains.com
During our Christmas and holiday season one can get easily overwhelmed by all the sales, regardless of the status of the economy. Humans hurry and sometimes bully their way to purchase the latest and greatest gift all in the name of love.
I am always impressed by the latest technological gadgets, most of which our children understand much better than we parents. The latest computer, cell phone, iPod, iPhone, plasma or LCD television, home entertainment system are a few examples of our prized possessions. Most seem to be in a bit of amazement at “how far we have come” or “how impressive the new toy or tool is.” The same worship can also be seen when the military displays its latest laser weapons system, medicine unveils its newest and most sophisticated imaging device, or our government tells us about their recent security screening kit that has biometrics.
Lost in all the gawking and loss of breath is the simple realization of who or more accurately what actually conceptualized, designed, and built these gadgets? The simple answer is the human brain!
As we push further into the information age and hopefully benefit from advanced technologies. As our children’s DNA changes from their persistent use of cell phones to text as a primary means of communication, and as we develop a whole new understanding of who we are from medical advances it is important that we pause and recognize the miracle that is the human brain.
Within the folds of this single greatest and most complicated system ever designed in the history of the universe lies the cures for cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, answers for world peace, and elevation of the human condition. The brain most likely has the ability to fix the body’s maladies and to communicate with other brains without opening the mouth. I suggest the human race begin to look inward to this most precious gift, to research how we can unleash the power of the brain via electrical, chemical, and magnetic energy, and to significantly forward the technological advancement of our species.
I wonder what the sale price of the human brain would be this holiday season!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Dr. Paul Nussbaum
Our memory helps to shape and define who we are, provide us with comfort, and guide us in our daily lives. While there are many different types of memory we tend to rely primarily on a type of memory that enables us to recall information presented to us either recently or sometime in the distant past.
Memory can be affected by many factors including level of stress, rest, nutrition, medical status, medications, alcohol, exercise, sensory function, hormones, and information processing ability. Common types of memory difficulties include inability to remember names, forgetting directions, forgetting where the car or other object is, and forgetting to complete a task in a specified order.
While it is true that our memory ability tends to decline as we age, a healthy older adult can recall quite well, particularly when given cues and prompts. Memory in late life should not be confused with disease such as Alzheimer’s that can impair memory. Here are some strategies and tips to assist you with your recall on a daily basis regardless of age:
1. Recognize what types of information and situations increase forgetfulness for you. You may be able to identify particular factors that lead to your memory problems and a change of these factors might help your recall.
2. Make sure your brain is well rested. You might be surprised to learn that a fatigued brain will not process as deeply or as efficiently as a well rested brain.
3. Eat brain healthy foods such as fish, fruits, nuts, and vegetables.
4. Information that you need to encode will be recalled better if you repeat the information to yourself several times.
5. If you have problems remembering names of people you meet continue to use their names in every sentence when speaking to them. This is a type of normal repetition that is polite and helpful to your processing.
6. Do not be ashamed to admit to someone that you have forgotten their name and need to hear it again. Simply tell the person you are bad with names, but you are trying and can benefit if they provide his or her name again. At that point, refer back to point # 5.
7. Lists are fine or small pocket book with cues and prompts can be very useful to assist your recall.
8. Develop routines and fixed places for placement of items such as car keys. Your brain will develop a subconscious process to place and retrieve objects with such routine. This will then free up the conscious part of your brain to learn new
9. Engage in memory exercises such as learning an increasingly larger list of words, faces on cards, facts such as state capitals, and names of neighborhood family members.
10. Learn how to relax and remove stress from your life. Memory is directly affected by chronic stress and you will make mistakes when your brain is stressed.
11. Engage in a regular physical exercise routine as cardiovascular health can increase learning and memory ability.
FitBrains has several mental exercise games that can assist your memory if you engage in a daily or regular brain fitness routine. Consider the following games by FitBrains for your memory workout:
Good luck and do not forget these memory tips!
It is important to point out that I am not a fan of the winter season. In fact, I dread it and would rather be on a beach somewhere! However, regardless of my personal stuff, it is important to keep our brains active and engaged in the brain health lifestyle regardless of the season.
For some, the winter season does not represent a change in the options available to follow the brain health lifestyle. If you live in a part of the world where the sun continues to shine throughout the year keep your brain health lifestyle active over the 12 months. For those of us who actually see snow our options to venture outside may be limited at times.
Winter can be a time of increased stress and simultaneously a time for creativity and increased family time. Consider the following ideas for brain health this winter:
- Save your pennies and get a family membership to a gym or exercise club. Set up the family schedule for exercising together and use the gym as the snow may keep you inside at times.
- Break out the skis and get some exercise from this sport. Cross country skiing is also a great physical exercise.
- Try to walk in the snow if it is not dangerous.
- Break out the board games and have a family game night. This includes some family fun with Fit Brains brain games.
- Try to have winter as a time for getting your brain health diet started. Have a family member pick a night to help cook a brain health dinner.
- Have some friends and family over once a week.
- Start a family book club in which each family member will read one or two books during the three months of winter.
- Try to reduce driving in dangerous conditions during the winter as this will reduce your stress.
- When the sun does surface, get outside as you will benefit from the Vitamin D.
- Take a day or two and get the family together to make a snowman or go sled riding (wear a helmet).
While the winter can limit our opportunities for brain health, it also offers us a time to be creative and to increase family experiences.
Talk to the most happily married couples or to the best of friends and they will tell you that sometimes they do not “understand each other,” “he does not listen to me,” or “I just do not understand her.”
If this sounds familiar do not fret as it is to be expected and even normal. The female and male brain is different and the two brains process information differently. The good news is that with some conscious effort communication can be enhanced between the brains and frustrations lowered.
In general, female brains tend to employ both sides of their brain to process information while male brains tend to rely primarily on their dominant or language side to process. As the dominant hemisphere tends to be analytic, problem solving, task oriented, detailed, and verbal this helps to explain male behavior. A female brain can also process in this manner, but the non-dominant hemisphere that can process emotion, meaning without words, empathy, tone, and disposition is also engaged by the female.
Perhaps this helps to explain why females enjoy shopping while most men view it as a chore, women vote differently than males, men and women struggle communicating with each other, and men do not understand psychotherapy. Men tend to be more isolative, less talkative, and focused on solution. Women tend to be more group oriented, more talkative, and focused on the means and not necessarily the ends. This gets played out in the U.S. at this time as women and men tend to view the same debate between candidates differently (men tend to focus on content and women both content and style).
A great question from a male brain to a female brain is “what do you mean” or Am I correct in hearing this…” Female brains can enhance communication from and to the male brain by being explicit in language as male brains may have some difficulty “reading between the lines” or appreciating emotion if it is not declared explicitly.
Once again the good news is that each brain can benefit from the other if we try!