What is the best way to get the most out of your brain? originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.
I believe there are six main things to consider when trying to get the most out of your brain, and actually they aren’t terribly surprising or novel.
1. Try to live your life in a such a way that you are not under chronic stress. Chronic stress releases stress hormones that, over time, have a very deleterious effect on the brain, particularly some important regions, such as the hippocampus.
2. Use your brain frequently by learning new skills that constantly challenge it, whether it’s learning a new language, musical instrument, or pick up something you know you are particularly bad at, and make it a goal to master that activity. By keeping your brain active, you also keep it agile, and ensure that it remains easier for your brain to do whatever you need it to do in the future. You also reduce the chances of developing dementia or Alzheimers.
3. Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and eat a diverse diet that is relatively low in meat. Supplement with pharmaceutical grade omega-3 fatty acids, and maybe a raw-food vitamin (avoid things like Centrum). Consume vegetarian sources of protein as well lean meats. Avoid eating foods that are are processed or have trans fats in them. Favor foods that are low in their glycemic index, which means they don’t release a whole lot of sugar into your blood stream at once (oatmeal, home-made whole wheat seed bread, etc).
4. Exercise, exercise, exercise! I’d strongly recommend this book: Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. Exercise has extremely deep and profoundly positive effects on the brain. This book is really interesting as it gets into some of the neurochemical changes that underlie the benefits. It also talks a lot about how you can reduce your risk for many mental illnesses by exercising regularly.
5. Allow enough time for sleep, but take a few additional measures to ensure the quality of your sleep is also good. For one, be consistent about having a schedule. Daily changes in the levels of melatonin in your brain mean your quality of sleep will be highest if you are consistent about when you sleep, and it has been shown that people like nurses who do irregular night shifts (i.e., working some times day, some times night) tend to get sick more often and die earlier than individuals who maintain a consistent sleep schedule. So working nights is ok, just do it consistently to allow your brain to adapt to a fixed sleeping time. In addition, avoid alcohol and electronic devices before bed time, as it impedes the quality of your sleep.
6. Give yourself a regular supply of loose, unstructured time in your life to “do nothing”, opening up the possibility for less-constrained, more open-ended thought processes that give rise to creativity and idea generation. This could be as simple as getting out of town regularly, or just taking walks around the block.
What’s interesting about these six points, as they are not only good for getting the best out of your brain, they are also great options for living a healthy life! So they are all sacrifices worth making.
Link Original: https://apple.news/ABYx83X7XQu-dS4dEuOrQ1A