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How to keep your brain healthy in 10 simple steps

By Mohannad Aljawamis
On December 5, 2012

Physical exercise is a great method to keep our bodies in good shape, but our brains need to stay fit and healthy in order to function properly. In trying times, some of us experience stress, an inability to concentrate, emotional instability and other issues, many of which can be traced back to mental health. Even if these conditions do not apply and you are simply seeking to boost your brain power, there are a few steps that should prove very helpful:

1) Feed your brain! Nutrition plays a huge role in our mental and cognitive abilities. Make sure your diet includes omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found in many foods such as fish, nuts, seeds and legumes. Antioxidants, which can be found in most fruits and vegetables, are another essential part of the brain-diet. well-balanced meal can reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases, boost your memory and concentration and improve your capacity to learn.
2) Stimulation. It is important to keep your brain active and engaged in rigorous activities. When you stop exercising for a long period of time, you might notice that your body seems to fall "out of shape." Similarly, not employing the brain for a prolonged time might weaken some of the cognitive skills that you have worked so hard to develop. Exercising your brain by reading, solving puzzles or doing challenging games will help to keep your brain in top shape and ready for use.
3) Physical exercise. Regular exercise plays a role in regulating blood circulation through your brain and also reduces the risk of many diseases. Further, the secretion of endorphins after physical activity can positively alter your mood, which also reflects on your cognitive ability.
4) Socialization. Engaging in social activities keeps your brain active and engaged. Socializing can reduce stress and promote emotional health. Isolation and loneliness may trigger negative emotions and may be conducive to developing emotional instability, resulting in impaired concentration and cognition. Control your emotional health by socializing with friends and sharing your thoughts and feelings with the people you trust.
5) Meditation. While it is important to keep your brain active and in shape, it is equally important to enjoy freedom of thought and peace of mind. Excessive thinking and continuous mental activity may induce overwhelming stress. Find an exercise through which you can relax your brain. People often find yoga, religious practices, massages, hiking, or similar activities to be helpful in this regard.
6) Get plenty of sleep. Your brain needs time to recover and it can only do that through sleep.
7) Use all of your senses. Some people are visual learners, while others learn by audio repetition. It is also not out of the ordinary that some people might utilize smell or taste as means of learning. Using more senses stimulates more parts of your brain. Find your best strategy for learning.
8) Go easy on substances. Alcohol and other drugs can kill brain cells. Caffeine creates a dependence on a chemical that can otherwise be generated naturally. Smoking can deprive the brain of normal oxygen levels. If you choose not to abstain, practice moderation!
9) Prioritize your tasks. Do not overwhelm yourself and exhaust your brain. Know the most important tasks and start from there.
10) Chill out. Stress is often counter-productive. Believe in yourself, have realistic goals, and seek help when needed.
 


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