New Year, New Brain

4 Tiny Habits to Supercharge Your Brain at Any Age

New Year's Resolutions for the Brain
New Year's Resolutions for the Brain

I was recently on a plane when an older woman sitting next to me recognized me from my television shows. She leaned over and asked, “Is it ever too late?”

“Too late for what?” I said.

“I’m not a spring chicken… is it ever too late for me to have a better brain?”

I smiled and began to tell her the wonderful and amazing truth…

It’s never too late to improve your brain.

There are people who have used my program who are young and old. As I’ve explained to them, one of the most important things to understand is that your brain controls everything you do and everything you are. It produces your every thought, action, memory, feeling and experience of the world. We depend on it for literally everything from deciding which article to read to keeping our heart beating. Yet most of us are more concerned with improving every other part of the body and other aspect of our life but give little thought to our brains.

The truth is… the more effective your brain is, the more effective you will be. The key to making yourself more effective is to begin with your brain. With a better brain, you can make better decisions. With a better brain, you can be more self-disciplined with your exercise and nutrition. With a better brain, you can be a better CEO, parent and friend. To be more successful with your New Year resolutions and life in general…

Getting your brain operating at peak performance may be the single most powerful thing you can do for a healthy, happy and productive 2017.

Think you’re too old? Think there’s nothing you can do to really change your future? Wrong. I’ve seen over 125,000 brain scan images over the past 25 years — and I am 100% confident we can all optimize our cognitive health at any age.

Make this year your best one yet with these 4 simple tiny habits:

1. Get Your Learn On

Learning new things is one of the best ways to improve brain health. Your brain is like a muscle — the more you use it, the stronger it gets. That’s why learning is so important to keep your brain young. Whenever you learn something new, your brain makes a new connection. When you stop learning, your brain starts to disconnect itself. The catch? Doing the same thing over and over again (even if it is intellectually difficult) does not boost your brain power. If it’s something you’re already good at, it’s not a good brain exercise!

The secret to successful brain exercises is to work on a challenging new skill.

You have to do something your brain is not accustomed to in order to boost brain power and sharpen memory. Think of something new you’ve always wanted to try...

  • Learn how to play the guitar, play chess, or golf
  • Learn a foreign language or new type of dance...never done the salsa?... try it!
  • Learn a creative new hobby like woodworking, pottery, or quilting

Any of these activities can help you improve your memory and brain power, so long as they keep you challenged and engaged. Exercise your brain for at least 15 minutes a day.

2. Strike a Pose for Stress Relief

Bring in the New Year with a fresh outlook on life with a new daily mindfulness routine. Yoga, meditation, even prayer are all helpful strategies to calm the mind and vanquish stress. These quiet activities can help you slow your breathing and heart rate, so you can find serenity.

According to the Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation, Meditation reduces stress which lowers the stress hormone cortisol and improves many other aspects of your mental function.”

Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body, including brain function. Research has shown that stress hormones can lead to forgetfulness, confusion, difficulty concentrating, and short-term memory loss. Chronic stress and emotional trauma can also lead to more serious cognitive and memory problems.

Since everyone deals with stress differently, it’s important to find out what type of stress management strategies will work for you.

Meditation Tip: Try to quiet your mind, become aware and present to focus on solutions, not the problems. Let your meditation and internal feedback remind and reinforce who and why you are.

3. Eat More Fat

When it comes to fat, there's one type that is essential to your diet: Omega-3 fatty acids. They are necessary for brain and body health, but the body can't naturally make them. You have to get them through food. Omega-3s are found in certain fish, some plants, olive oil, and other various oils.

The discovery of the importance of essential fatty acids is one of the most important health advances in modern nutrition.

Studies reveal that Omega-3s can enhance mental clarity, concentration, and focus. They not only maintain normal cognitive function, they help build brain cell membranes, reduce brain inflammation, and promote new brain cell formation.

Omega-3 fatty acids also:

  • Improve your mood and memory
  • Protect you against brain disorders ranging from depression to dementia
  • Lower risk of major chronic diseases including cancer, and arthritis

To learn more about Omega-3 supplements, watch this short video with Dr. Parris Kidd, BrainMD Health’s Chief Science Officer.

4. Go Back to Sleep

Sleep is just as important as eating healthy and exercising. Quality sleep helps promote memory, learning, and good behavior. At the same time, it helps prevent mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, and other forms of dementia. Research shows inadequate sleep negatively affects cognitive function and memory and increases the risk of chronic disease.

Here are 3 ways to get a good night’s sleep.

  1. Lower the room temperature. 60.8 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal.
  1. Turn off electronic gadgets and blue lights by the bed, or at least turn off the sound.
  1. Maintain a regular sleep schedule.

It’s never too late to support your memory, focus, and mental sharpness. Regardless of your age, I believe you absolutely can supercharge your brain health and be mentally sharper with the right tools and knowledge.

Make 2017 the year you start taking care of your brain. Your brain will thank you.

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