The human brain is the apparatus with which we think, according to Ambrose Bierce.
Let me tell you about the time when I lost mine.
Well, not quite. It just felt like I did, for a while.
For two years, I was on graveyard shift, working through the night, sleeping restlessly during the day, and eating only once daily. Most of the time, I couldn’t even finish my meal (half the time because I didn’t really have much appetite; the other because I just got too busy). Yet, for some reason, I gained weight. Especially in unwanted places.
But worse still, my brain seemed to deteriorate.
Ideas that used to come to me quite naturally just stopped flowing. At home, I’d forget about things. Simple stuff I used to remember quite easily such as certain dates, where I left my eyeglasses, or placed that hairbrush. I just kept forgetting things. At work, I couldn’t think on my feet. My boss would ask me questions and my mind would turn into a complete blank—only to later realize that I already knew the answers to those questions and should have been able to respond well. But I just couldn’t, for the life of me, remember. It was after one of these unfortunate episodes—after drowning in a sea of embarrassment—when I started to think there might be a connection between my schedule and how I was living my life—and the way my mind seemed to be “weakening.” The doctor I consulted just confirmed it. My lifestyle was essentially affecting my brain health and cognitive function. And something needed to change—fast.
The human brain performs multiple tasks every day. Lifestyle plays a vital role in cognitive decline. Stress, poor diet, and lack of sleep encumber your brain functions. And that’s precisely what happened to me.
But the good news is that changing your lifestyle is totally within your control. Your brain’s memory center can regenerate even through old age if given the right care. Healthy living can support brain health and even boost the growth of new neurons on your brain.
From someone who’s been there, here are some practical lifestyle tips to improve your memory and brain function:
1. Eat well and eat right!
A healthy diet is crucial to achieving optimum brain health and concentration. The food you eat (and don't eat) contributes to your memory development or decline.
Balance is important. While eating too much can result in a feeling of drowsiness and sluggishness, eating very little leads to hunger pangs that would essentially distract you and even cause headaches.
Now, what constitutes a balanced diet is different for everyone, depending on your weight, health status and dietary preferences. The universal rule, however, is to eat a balance of fruits and vegetables, protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, and dairy. Want to learn how to prepare a balanced meal at home? Check out this video!
Not to be forgotten is the most important meal of the day. You guessed it—breakfast. Eating a healthy breakfast every day enhances short-term memory function.
2. Hydrate, hydrate.
And of equal importance—is drinking around two liters of water a day. Do you know that the human brain is comprised of approximately 80% water? You betcha.
Admit it or not, many of us don’t drink enough water. And that’s a shame, because not only does water help reduce appetite; it also plays a vital role in brain function. Water actually transports oxygen—along with the nutrients you take in—to your brain while eliminating waste and toxins. Lack of water intake can cause memory problems and even result in depression and sleep problems. So stay hydrated!
3. Sleep well
Have you noticed that when you lack sleep, you find it more difficult to think clearly?
If you are to lead a healthy lifestyle, it’s important to get adequate sleep. Sleep enhances your memories and helps improve your performance. Getting enough sleep boosts your ability to process and retain information, aids in creative thinking and allows you the facility to view things from different perspectives. While you’re sleeping, your memories are consolidated and strengthened, allowing you to better retain lessons you learned during the day.
In full contrast, sleep deprivation hinders your ability to think clearly the next day.
Bottom line? We think better when we’re well rested. So make sure you get 7-8 hours of sleep!
4. One thing at a time
Stop multitasking! Multitasking is essentially trying to do different tasks simultaneously, as quickly as possible. I used to think being able to multitask was a great thing (and proves how very efficient I am!). It’s quite the opposite, apparently!
It’s been said that a human mind actually needs around eight seconds to commit a piece of information to memory. So if you're writing an email while talking on the phone and preparing dinner, you're not only prone to commit errors (and burn whatever you’re cooking!), you’re also unlikely to remember the details of what you were doing.
5. Learning a new skill (or just something new!)
Nothing stimulates your brain more than carrying out meaningful activities. These activities counter the effects of stress that could lead to certain diseases and enhances your overall health and well-being. The more focused and serious you are with the task you choose to engage in, the better.
The important thing here is to find an activity that mentally stimulates you—and this does not include using social media for hours on end, by the way!
Remember, the more you exercise your brain “muscles,” the stronger they get.
6. Get Movin’!
Exercise stimulates your brain. It stimulates blood circulation and provides the brain with oxygen, thereby combating brain fog, protecting your memory, and improving your thinking skills.
Exercise improves your mood and reduces stress and anxiety. So even for just 10 minutes each day, get on your feet and get some physical activity! You can start by simply walking and gradually progress towards more moderate-intensity activities like running, playing an outdoor sport, dancing, or even simply mowing your lawn!
For something with a little more intensity, Havasu as a HIIT workout guide! Email me here to request the guide today.
The human brain is a complex thing. And if we don’t take care of it—and recharge it from time-to-time, it will eventually deteriorate.
Want to discover some brain support supplements that will help you stay sharp? Check out our neuroIgnite, a fast-acting brain booster, carefully formulated to help enhance your mental performance, promote a positive mood, increase natural energy, and ignite your mind's full potential.
To find out more about what we can do for you, reach out to me today and let’s talk! - Kendra