1. Tickle Your Funny Bone
There’s a reason why they say “Laughter is the best medicine”! 20 minutes of laughter can fight brain aging according to The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Watch a comedy show, take a laughing yoga class or giggle with friends. This will reduce your stress hormones, such as cortisol, which affect cognitive function.
2. Curb Your Sweet Tooth
Eating sugar in excess can affect brain plasticity, the development of new neural pathways between brain cells when we do or learn something novel. A recent UCLA study found that the recovery of brain injured rats who drank sugar water was severely affected. Sugar also hinders cognitive function.
3. Learn Something New
Research findings indicate that learning a new skill for only 10 minutes daily can combat cognitive decline. Studying another language, for example, might be even better at fighting cognitive losses than drugs. So why not play for free one of our language games or another fun brain game today?
It’s the holidays and many of us are scrambling around trying to find that perfect gift for someone special (or, maybe just ANY gift at this point!) While it may feel like a chore to pick out a gift, giving someone a gift is actually good for your brain! That’s right, not only is it fun to receive gifts, when you give a gift it’s proven to have a positive effect on your mental well-being!
Studies at the National Institutes of Health found that gift-giving activates different regions in your brain linked to pleasure, social connection and trust, which is good for the overall health of your brain. What’s more, when you give, you also tend to create an atmosphere of generosity, increasing the likelihood that others around you will be more generous too! (Yeah, this could work in your favor!)
Before you rush to the first item you see, keep in mind that the positive effects will be more powerful if you give a gift that is meaningful. And, who doesn’t want to challenge their brain? Fit Brains has something to offer everyone. And, with the most games and variety of any brain training program on the market, it’s sure to entertain anyone.
It’s that time of year again…Thanksgiving! Turkey, pumpkin pie, family, friends, more turkey, more pumpkin pie, football and falling asleep on the couch (probably after yet another helping of turkey and pumpkin pie!) But Thanksgiving is also so much more than that. It is first and foremost a day of thanks and it is important to consider all that we have and the many blessings in our lives.
Sure, no one’s life is perfect, but we can still take time at Thanksgiving to give thanks for what is going well in our lives.
What’s more, being thankful and thinking positively is also good for your brain! Some research indicates activity in the left front region of the brain when we have positive or happy thoughts. On the other hand, there is a similar type of activity generated in the right front region when we are nervous, stressed, or thinking negatively. So, this Thanksgiving, focus on the positive in order to activate the left front region of your brain, and enjoy the positive feelings as a result!
Health, both our own health and the health of loved ones, is always one of the most important things we should be thankful for if we are healthy. For instance, a strong, healthy brain is something to be especially grateful for! Also, if you are able to be together with friends and family, that is something else to be thankful for. Praying for those less fortunate is another way you can build up good feelings.
We urge you on this Thanksgiving to enjoy the company of those around you, while leaving any anxiety behind. And, try to carry these practices through into your daily life even when the holiday is behind you. It will have a positive impact on the health of your brain and you’ll be happier and healthier for it!
Your life story: it’s one of the most important assets you have. It’s your identity, what makes you, you. What’s more, it’s your family’s story that helps shape your personal life story. Do you have fond memories of hearing stories about your family history shared with you by grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles? Have those stories and collective wisdom helped shape who you are today? We all want to be able to play a part in keeping our family story and our personal story alive and we do this by sharing our stories with the next generation. But, none of this would be possible if we do not maintain a healthy brain as we age.
As we age, we need to keep our memories and our minds sharp so that we can preserve our stories and share them. One important thing you can do is maximize the health of your brain and strengthen your memory, in order to share your life story, keeping it alive. Eating a well-balanced diet, getting exercise, getting plenty of sleep, and keeping your brain mentally stimulated by engaging in specific activities such as playing brain training games will all have a positive impact on your memory and the overall health of your brain.
Here are some of our other favorite ideas for preserving and sharing your family story:
Begin a family newsletter or a family blog so that you can stay better connected with family members near and far.
Start a scrapbook or photo album about your family.
Put together a family cookbook.
Research your family history (there are a myriad of free and paid online genealogy resources).
Keep a journal and encourage your family members to do the same!
Organize a family reunion.
Challenge your brain by playing Fit Brains so that you can stimulate your memory and share your story!
Take some time this month to connect with family members, reflect on your story, and take some steps to focus on your brain health, especially focusing on training your brain for a stronger memory.
It’s National Family Stories Month. What are your favorite ways to preserve and share your family’s story? Share with us and other readers in the comments section!
Be sure to follow our blog for more lifestyle & health tips. And, you can always challenge your brain when you play Fit Brains fun brain games!
In honor of National Dunce day we bring you a bit of history about the term “dunce,” and we implore you not to be one. Dunce day is named for Duns Scotus, a medieval scholar from Scotland, who believed that wearing a cone shaped hat increased one’s learning potential. The idea was that knowledge would flow from the tip of the hat down into the brain. Not surprisingly, the idea didn’t really catch on (though it would be pretty great if it actually was this easy to learn new things), and anyone wearing the “dunce cap” was in turn called a “dunce” (and it wasn’t anymore positive then than it is now).
Now, you can choose to either celebrate Dunce day by celebrating stupidity, or you can honor it as a day of improving your brain through brain training. (We’d offer up a list of stupid things you can do if you choose the former, but we’re afraid that will land us in a heap of trouble so you’re on your own if you go that route.)
Instead, on this day we want to motivate you to hearken back to the original intentions of Duns Scotus and set aside some time to try and better yourself and train your brain for better health and wellness. Read a book, train your brain with Fit Brains fun brain games, play some chess, find something that speaks to you today, which can also boost your intellect and your brain health!
Now, more than ever before, people are taking the time to learn about the human brain and the many ways they can improve their brain health. Brain health is about more than disease prevention (though that’s obviously important too); it’s about leading a lifestyle, supported by science, which promotes and facilitates cognitive, emotional, physical ability, spiritual health, and relational health (read: relationships). Basically when you focus on brain health you can live your life to the fullest.
But what does it look like to actually put this into practice? We’re devoting some upcoming posts to lay out specific suggestions for improving your brain health, based on research from Dr. Nussbaum’s Brain Health Lifestyle (see www.paulnussbaum.com). Our first post in this series focuses on physical activity to improve your brain health.
When it comes to physical activity, studies conducted by the University of Adelaide, Australia, have shown that a single 30 minute session of physical activity benefits your brain (as reported in Medical Daily). Researchers say physical activity makes your brain more “plastic”, which can help things like memory, motor skills and learning in general. It also increases circulation, which helps for more efficient delivery of nutrients and the like. That’s probably worth getting out the stationary bike for, right? There are lots of different ways you can move to benefit your brain though!
Here are some of our favorite suggestions for exercise to boost your brain health:
Walk a mile daily
Up the ante with aerobics 3 times a week (yeah, break out that old Jane Fonda video)
Try some mild weight training
Try Yoga, Pilates, Barre (or whatever they come out with next!)
Basically, whatever you do, DON’T JUST SIT THERE!
What type of physical activity gives your brain the biggest boost? Tell us in the comments! Be sure to follow our blog for more lifestyle & health tips. And, you can always benefit your brain when you play Fit Brains fun brain games! Try Fit Brains for FREE now!
Fit Brains. Brain Training Success.
Source: Caba, Justin. Your Brain On Exercise: 30 Minutes of Physical Activity Makes Your Brain More ‘Plastic’. Medical Daily. 2014.
Bad News: It’s Monday morning. Coffee is not working. Schedule for the day involves a lot of thinking, talking, and moving.
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:
Drink Water — Drink a glass of water immediately after you wake up to kick up your metabolism and de-fog your brain.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Take a Cold Shower — No explanation needed. It’s horrible. But it works.
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!
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.
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.
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 entertain your mind. You can play Fit Brains on any web browser or train on-the-go with our iOS, Android, or Amazon app!
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!