Weighing just 1.5kgs, the pink pulsating blob that resides between your ears is the most advanced bio-computer in the known universe.
Having first appeared on the scene back in the Stone Age, the model that you possess is still capable of outperforming any of today’s man-made supercomputers.
If you want to consistently get the most out of yours, you’ll need to take care of it. So here are 9 things you should consider doing, for your brain’s sake:
1. Get a good night’s sleep.
Giving your brain time to catch up with desperately needed repair work is vital. Whilst you’re sleeping your brain is hard at work – breaking and bolstering connections between its 86 billion wires, servicing an additional 86 billion support cells and sending test signals along new circuits.
Giving priority to ensuring you get plenty of sleep is one of the best things you can do to promote long-term brain health.
2. Kick-start your brain with a glass of water.
Your brain is 73% water. The efficiency with which it can send electrical messages around its 100,000 miles of brain wires is greatly hampered when you are dehydrated. Your lungs need to be kept moist to get the gases moving in and out of your bloodstream. Upon every exhalation, you release water vapour 24/7.
During the daytime, we replace the lost water whenever eating or drinking, but at night there are few opportunities to do this. By morning there is an imbalance to correct.
3. Force it to keep on restructuring.
What sets your brain apart from supercomputers is neuroplasticity – the ability to physically change to meet the demands of new challenges in unfamiliar contexts. By challenging our brains to learn new skills we force them to restructure and rewire in order to adapt to prevailing demands. Provided, that is, that we practise them regularly, intensely and over long periods.
4. Take it down the gym.
As far as brains are concerned, losing fat and toning up is just a sideshow compared to the tremendous benefits derived from taking regular exercise. The key advantages being improved blood delivery through every nook and cranny of your brain and, in your memory banks, new brain cells are created more quickly.
5. Avoid sugar overloads.
Although it weighs only 2% of your overall body weight, your brain consumes 20% of the oxygen and glucose available in your bloodstream, and that’s when it’s just ticking over! When you’re concentrating hard on something, its demand for energy resources from your blood shoots up to 50%. As a result, people tend to snack habitually on sugary foods.
Sugar-loaded snacks are a nightmare for your brain. Eating slow-release carbohydrates instead of sweets helps you to avoid the sugar roller coaster.
6. Drink tea or coffee.
In moderation, caffeinated drinks really do boost your brain. By blocking the inhibitory effects of adenosine caffeine effectively takes the handbrake off and allows your brain circuits to become more active. Long-term benefits have also been identified. Drinking three to five cups of coffee per day seems to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
Those who drink coffee in such moderate daily doses tend to develop symptoms of these diseases several years later than those who abstain from the magic bean.
7. Relax to tune in.
Most decision-making takes place deep below the surface of your conscious awareness. Whilst your conscious thinking on any given matter has an estimated capacity of 40 bits – this is just the tip of the iceberg – the subconscious processing capacity is estimated at 11 million bits of information. Your brain is forever coming up with solutions to problems and providing a constant stream of ideas.
The trick is to be in a relaxed state of mind to be able to receive them as they bubble up to the surface.
8. Have some fun!
The main obstacle to efficient problem solving is often habitual thinking. By having fun brain areas required to deal with novel stimuli are given a nudge, which bump-starts the cogs of creativity. If you’re stuck on a problem and in need of a creativity boost, step away from it, do something different, preferably something that’s random, novel and fun.
Chances are, when you come back to it, the solution will seem obvious.
9. Apply some brakes.
If we lived to be 150 years old we’d all be showing signs of Age Related Cognitive Decline; if you stick around long enough ARCD is an inevitable consequence of brain ageing. There are however several activities associated with a later onset of ARCD: playing a musical instrument, playing chess, dancing, and reading.
Look after you brain, it’s the only one you’ve got!
Sort Your Brain Out is the best-selling book by one of the UK’s leading Motivational Speakers – Adrian Webster and the UK’s favourite Neuroscientist Dr Jack Lewis.
The book provides information on how to rewire your brain to be more creative, make better decisions, improve your mood and memory, manage stress, and stave off senility. Adrian and Jack explain how the brain works and what you can do every day to subtly alter your behaviours, beliefs, and motivations to create positive change in your life and health.
Included within the book are tools and exercises to help you maximize your brain power, think more creatively, keep your memory sharp and live a better life on a daily basis.