It’s Sunday morning. You wake up and look around. You see a cup of coffee right next to you, and your mind wanders to that rainy day where you remember laughing and having fun with your friends. Then you turn around to look at the alarm clock, and it’s 11 am! You jump out of bed because suddenly you are fully aware that you have so much to do – your grocery shopping, completing the project that your boss assigned to you, doing your laundry – before its Monday all over again. Maybe you’ll have to do your Sunday crossword puzzle later. You keep it in the back of your mind and go on about your day.
The human brain is truly a genius. It works 24/7 like a machine and helps us do all our tasks. Sometimes, the tasks may not seem like much, and we tend to take the powers of the brain for granted. What do you do with a machine that is continuously working? You take care of it. Not just when you start noticing some negative symptoms but constantly. And if you’re struggling to do that, all you need to do is keep reading.
- THE HEART AND THE BRAIN
The heart and the brain are two of the most essential organs in the human body. Therefore, it is no surprise that these two are closely related. In order to keep the blood moving smoothly through our heart and blood vessels, it is vital to keep a close check on our cardiovascular health.
Improper blood flow to the brain can cause a stroke. Due to the lack of oxygen, the brain cells start dying (sometimes within minutes), which can result in speech loss or paralysis. High blood pressure, high cholesterol level, smoking, and diabetes all increase the chances of developing neurodegenerative diseases. Ischemic strokes occur when an artery is hardened or blocked, and blood flow to the brain is interrupted. This can lead to temporary or even permanent brain damage.
To prevent these all you need to do is inculcate certain good habits like exercise, a healthy diet, being hydrated and so on and so forth. For adults, the ideal BMI is 18.5 – 24.9.
- A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP
Just as our bodies need some rest after a long tiring day, so does our brain. It is a priority to get 7-9 hours of sleep in a day, preferably at a stretch at night. This helps the brain to rejuvenate itself and restore its mental health. No wonder we can overcome a feeling of freshness after a good night’s sleep. Did you know that dreams are proof that our brain is working even when we are asleep?
Here are some things you can do to ensure that sweet, uninterrupted sleep-
- Turn off all your electronic gadgets an hour before bedtime. It is also advisable to stick to a specific sleep cycle every day.
- The best way to get rid of your lingering thoughts is to get in touch with them. Jot down your feelings on a piece of paper. Don’t worry about finding solutions to those problems; acknowledging them is enough. A to-do list for the next day can go a long way.
- A 5-10 min meditation exercise before your bedtime will help calm you down, reduce stress and anxiety and clear your head, all essentials for a peaceful sleep. Furthermore, it helps curb insomnia and brain inflammation.
- LEAD AN ACTIVE LIFESTYLE
What better way to keep your brain fit than keeping yourself fit? Research has shown that going for a walk every day, dancing, swimming and other such activities keep you healthy and improve your cognitive health. It also boosts memory power by increasing the blood flow and hence oxygen to the brain and helps you stay sharp. It develops the hippocampus (a part of the brain associated with memory) which shrinks with age. A way to build new and healthy cells in the brain is through leg exercise, which gives the brain the spur it needs.
- EAT HEALTHY
As it is well-known, food is the fuel that keeps our brain and body running. Therefore, it is necessary to be careful about what you eat every day. Ideally, a healthy diet should consist of a balance of all the food groups. It should include a fair amount of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, unsaturated fats, and healthy sources of protein. A healthy treat to include in your diet is dark chocolate. The cocoa beans in it help perk up cognitive functions.
Of course, there is no magic pill for boosting brain power, but some foods like berries, walnuts, tea and coffee help enhance it. They also reduce the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease. But keep in mind the amount of caffeine you are consuming. High doses of caffeine can trigger neurodegenerative diseases and get in the way of falling asleep.
- SURROUND YOURSELF WITH GOOD PEOPLE
With a generation so into “Netflix and chill” in today’s world, sometimes getting in touch with your old friends can go a long way in keeping your mind happy. Interacting with your friends in real-time is known to increase blood circulation to several parts of your brain as it keeps the brain active. Interacting with the people who make you happy reduces your chances of getting depressed and keeps your worries and stress at bay, therefore allowing you to stay positive and motivated.
- TRY LEARNING NEW SKILLS
Developing a new skill set, learning a new language, cooking an original recipe, learning how to play an instrument, travelling and other things that challenge your brain, help you to keep your mind engaged and hence charged by continually forming new connections between cells. The more we use our brain cells and thus neural circuits, the lesser the chances of contracting neurodegenerative diseases. All in all, try living in the real world rather than the reel world.