Every day, our brains process about 6,000 thoughts. (It seems like most of them happen just as you’re about to fall asleep, Pooshies? Ba-dum-tss.) Sure, mental health may not seem as appealing as, say, Pilates movements for a fuller butt, but keeping our minds healthy is just as vital as keeping our bodies fit.
“Maintaining optimal brain health is essential for overall well-being and cognitive function,” says Dr Patrick Porter, a neuroscience specialist and the inventor of BrainTap, a brain fitness app and system.
Here are a handful of his best advice:
1. Get plenty of rest:
“Research has shown that sleep allows the brain to clear out toxins and repair damage caused by daily wear and tear,” explains Dr Porter. This is due to the brain consolidating memories and learning when we sleep. So getting enough sleep—particularly REM sleep—is one of the most important things you can do to keep your brain healthy. “This activates the internal cleansing of the brain,” he explains. (Brb, we’re working on our sleeping habits.)
2. Get sweaty:
“Regular physical activity helps increase blood flow to the brain, promoting the growth of new brain cells and improving cognitive function,” adds Dr Porter. And, as we all know from the movie Legally Blonde, exercising releases endorphins, which make you happy. “What you do isn’t as important as just getting out there and doing it.” Walking has been discovered to be one of the most effective strategies to build physical fitness.
3. More of these:
“I recommend incorporating brain-boosting foods such as salmon, blueberries, nuts, and leafy greens into your diet.” “These foods are high in mind-friendly nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins,” explains Dr. Porter. He goes on to say that limiting or eliminating sugar can have a significant impact on brain health since it is “one of the most harmful toxins you can put into your system.”
4. Use brainwave entrainment technology:
This may sound hard, but it isn’t, especially with advances in mindfulness technology “Brainwave entrainment” entails “exposing the brain to rhythmic pulses of sound or light in order to induce specific brainwave states,” explains Dr Porter. This can aid with concentration, memory, and overall brain function. “You can also achieve this through specific breathing exercises, as well as practising yoga or tai chi,” he adds.
5. Engage in social activities:
“Social engagement can help maintain cognitive function and promote overall well-being,” says Dr Porter. He cites research on the Blue Zones, or locations where people live the longest and healthiest lives, which suggest that social engagement improves health and lifespan. “In fact, there is a direct relationship between your health and the size of your social circle.” It is critical to network, create friends, and socialise. It’s beneficial to your brain.”
“Mindfulness and meditation can reduce stress and anxiety, improve attention and focus, and increase overall well-being.” According to Dr Porter, “Research has shown that mindfulness and meditation can promote positive structural changes in the brain, supporting its overall health.”