Use Your Brain to Keep Your New Year’s Resolution

Woman choosing between apple and cupcake

New Year’s Resolutions. Most of us make them, but many of us break them. According to studies on the science of motivation, only up to 30% of us will stick with our good intentions or changes that we have resolved to make. Most shockingly?  According to the author, research even finds that “the better we feel about our new year’s resolutions and our ability to stick with them, the less we actually will.” (Crew, 2014).  Wait. Say that again?  This may be because the more optimistic or over-confident you are, the fewer safeguards you will put in place to ensure follow-through.

So how do you improve your chances of keeping your new year’s resolution?

For starters, writing down your goal or resolution is helpful, but did you know that even how you phrase your resolution matters?  According to one study, writing it as an “if-then” statement (e.g, If I go to a restaurant then I will order a side salad instead of french fries) improves your odds of follow-through, as opposed to just writing something like “eat more salad at restaurants instead of fries.”  Reportedly, “For whatever reason, research suggests that our brains can get tricked into automatically and subconsciously responding to if/then statements.” (Crew, 2014).  In addition to putting your resolution in writing and phrasing it appropriately here are a few other simple tips that can help better your chances of successfully sticking with your resolution: 

  1. Keep your resolution attainable (like if you committed to improving your brain health that’s actually pretty fun and easy if you play Fit Brains brain games).
  2. Read your written resolution daily.
  3. Spread the word.  If your friends, family and colleagues know what your resolution is, they can help keep you accountable!

If you haven’t made a resolution yet, you still can!  When you think about it, what could be more important than committing to better brain health in 2016?  Whether you want to maintain a healthy brain and strong memory as you age, improve your speed of thinking on the job, or maintain better focus at school or work, Fit Brains brain games can help stimulate all areas of your brain function for better health.

The best part?  You can get started today with a Fit Brains Free Trial!

GET MY FREE FIT BRAINS TRIAL

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And, follow us throughout the year to learn more about how to improve your brain health and maximize your potential in 2016!

Fit Brains. “Brain Training Success”

 

Move your Body, Boost your Brain, Have a Happier Holiday!

Chihuahua ReindeerWow.  It is hard to believe the holidays are upon us once again!  It is supposed to be the “happiest time of the year”, but none of us will deny that it can also be a stressful time of the year.  We feel pressure for it to be “perfect”.  We seek the “perfect gift”, the “perfect meal”, the “perfect house”, and the “perfect family time”.  But seeking perfection is stressful and, let’s face it, pretty darn impossible.  This year, relax, try to lower your stress levels, and give your brain a break by taking steps to just remember what it’s all about.  Enjoy the time with friends and family.  Be thankful for your health.  Enjoy making memories with those you love.  Focus on positive emotions and building memories this holiday season.  

Easy said, but how exactly do you do this?

We recommend getting in a little movement and activity instead of just sitting around on the couch (ok, we love that too and won’t deny you some quality couch time!)  Start a dance party, play a game of frisbee or football outside, build a snowman with the kids, break out the Wii, or take a brisk walk with your family.

In addition to just plain feeling good after being surrounded by all that food, did you know that movement can release higher levels of good chemicals in your brain such as dopamine?  You’ll activate feelings of pleasure in the brain.  Goodbye holiday stress and anxiety!  Dopamine can also help boost your memory (and hey, you’re working to turn this into a holiday you’ll WANT to remember!)  You’ll also have increased focus and attention (for better quality time with loved ones), and in general you’ll just be giving yourself an all-around brain boost!

Happy Holidays from all of us at Fit Brains!  We wish you health and happiness during this holiday season.

Fit Brains. Brain Training Success.

 

Fit Brains’ Dr. Nussbaum Talks the Brain and Emotions

laughterRecently, Fit Brains Chief Science Officer, Dr. Paul Nussbaum, shared the exciting news about Fit Brains’ new Emotional Intelligence program with Boot Camp’s Technology Correspondent, Fred Fishkin.  This blog post is dedicated to sharing Dr. Nussbaum’s perspective on Emotional Intelligence and Fit Brains’ role in bringing Emotional Intelligence to the forefront of brain training!

According to Dr. Nussbaum, Emotional Intelligence is “a fascinating part of who we are.”   But, did you know that until very recently Emotional Intelligence is an area of the brain that has been largely ignored by scientists and health experts?  However, Emotional Intelligence is actually an extremely important brain function!

Without emotional control, people are unable to appropriately express emotions, read other people’s emotions, and make decisions accordingly.  It may sound simple, but it’s actually pretty complicated and something that none of us should take for granted.  In the words of Dr. Nussbaum, “Imagine how much better the world could be if we were all better at expressing our emotions and recognizing others’ emotions!”  Of course world peace would be at the top of our list, but even just think of how much easier it could be to get along with a difficult family member, co-worker, you name it!

If you are still wondering about the important role of Emotional Intelligence, take as an example the effect that injuries from high impact sports can have on your brain.  Football is one of the most common examples.  When most of us think of brain injuries that are common to football players, we probably mostly think of purely cognitive brain issues, like poor memory or even dementia.  However, one of the most interesting findings that Dr. Nussbaum relayed during the interview is that one of the primary problems facing football players is the toll that the game takes on one’s emotional control and how this impacts daily functioning.  Stories of violence, abuse and depression are all too common, and hindered emotional control has much to do with this.

So how can you prime your brain for stronger emotional control and intelligence?  According to Nussbaum, “Fit Brains has done a great job to build the ingredients of an app that goes after the emotional system and helps people work on that.”  

Dr. Nussbaum recommends Emotional training as a lifelong pursuit and suggests even starting as young as age six.  “The younger age the better.  Six and Seven is not too young to begin doing these things. Brain health is a lifelong pursuit. The brain doesn’t know how old it is- it just wants to be stimulated.” (Makes sense, huh?)

If you haven’t yet, try Fit Brains new Emotional Intelligence games today!  They are fun and free to try.

Fit Brains

“Brain Training Success”

Give Thanks for a Healthy, Happy Brain!

Man with Thanksgiving turkey
Happy Thanksgiving!

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!

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Fit Brains!

Fit Brains.

“Brain Training Success”

Brain Tips that you (and your brain) will find stimulating!

Older couple playing chess
Playing chess is one great way to stimulate your brain!

Most of us think about mental exercises when we think of brain training.  And of course this is a very important component of brain training!  Did you know that your brain wants to be stimulated and exercised?  When you do something new or somewhat complex your brain will react favorably and will become more resilient!  On the other hand, your brain will suffer if it is too passive or routine.

Mental exercises or mental stimulation can take many different forms, so here are some tips for different ways your can stimulate your brain!

Mental Stimulation

  • Learn something new, such as a new language
  • Travel to new places or use new routes in otherwise familiar setting
  • Play a musical instrument
  • Get crafty and creative (like arts and crafts, not witchcraft)
  • Do focused brain training activities (like Fit Brains)
  • Play board games
  • Read and write

What type of mental activity gives your brain the biggest boost?  Tell us in the comments!  Be sure to follow our blog for more lifestyle, health & brain 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

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 challenging your brain by training with Fit Brains!

8 Tips & Tricks To Help You Remember Everyday Things!

“Where did I leave my keys?”
“What am I forgetting to buy?”
“What time is that meeting?”
“He just introduced himself a minute ago…and I already forgot his name.”

We all have those moments when our memory fails us on the seemingly simplest daily tasks and items to remember.  Although the occasional memory loss is probably inevitable, there are ways we can reduce the number of “blank out” moments in our lives.  Try using these 8 easy tricks to improve your memory for those small things in life!

1. Pay attention – Give the item you know you will need to remember your full, undivided attention when you first input it into your brain.  For example, listen to the introduction being given to you instead of worrying about what you need to say after, or take some time to think about everything you need to buy before you leave your home. 

2. Repeat it– With everything you need to remember, use a minute or two to repeat it over and over in your mind.  This works for locations, people, inanimate objects, exam notes…anything you want to stick and stay in your brain.

3. Use your senses – When you forget something, use all of your senses to try to remember it.  For example, if you forget where your first date with your significant other was, try to think about the things you touched, tasted, felt, smelled, saw, etc.  It is very likely one of these sensory cues will help you remember.

4. Associate it– Use random associations that make sense to you when you need to remember something.  

  • Rhymes: The new guy at work called Stan goes to the beach a lot = Tan Stan.
  • Mnemonics: I need to buy Beef, Ricotta cheese, Apples, Nuts, Donuts from the grocery store today = B.R.A.N.D
  • Personal links: I always leave my keys on the table below the family portrait = name your keys “Family Keys”

 

5. Create a routine – If you need to remember something on a continuous basis, like locking the door or feeding a pet, make it a routine.  Create a schedule and do the task at the exact same time in the exact same way every time you need to do it. 

6. Take a break – Sometimes you need to rest your brain a little before you put it to work again.  Even if something is at the tip of your tongue, overusing your brain will likely make you begin to doubt or confuse yourself.
 
7.  Write it down – When you have too many things to remember at once, just write it down!  The easiest way to “remember” is to make a concrete note.  Use sticky notes, mobile device reminders, voice recordings, etc. 

8. Play Fit Brains Trainer – Our app exercises stimulate your Memory, Processing Speed, Concentration, Problem-Solving, and Visual skills.  Fit Brains Trainer keeps your mind challenged so CLICK HERE to download the app now!

Leave a comment & let us know the tips and tricks you use to remember everyday things!