Exercising your brain through complex thinking is the most fruitful way to build brainpower, “your mind can’t thrive on thoughts alone,” notes the Center for Brain Health.* Here are four simple steps we can all take to boost our brain’s capacity to create:
Eat well: “What’s good for the heart is good for the head. A Mediterranean diet — more olive oil, vegetables, fruit and fish — is generally the best diet for brain health.”
Sleep well: “Get 7-8 hours per night. Sleep is one of the best remedies for improving brain health. A good night’s sleep cleans out toxins in your brain, let’s your brain process information and emotions from the day before and sets the stage for a mentally productive day. Your brain makes neural connections as you sleep.”
Move more: “Exercise for at least one hour a day, three times per week. Recently published research shows that aerobic exercise stimulates positive brain change and memory gains than previously thought possible. Adding regular aerobic exercise that elevates your heart rate will increase blood flow to key memory centers in the brain and improve fact retention. When you combine complex thinking with aerobic exercise, brain benefits are amplified.”
Stay connected and engaged: “Establishing important social ties is a key aspect to remaining mentally vibrant. Your mind hates status quo, so having relationships that build on your current interests or encourage you to discover new things are very beneficial to moving your brain forward. Finding like-minded friends can help you explore interests for which you share a passion. Finding friends who have different interests and opinions are also great brain boosters. They will continually challenge you to attain new perspectives and get out of routine thinking and behavior.”
A simple strategy: eat well, sleep well, keep moving, and keep engaged and growing. We can do this! How wonderful that we writers love to build our tribes: By sharing our passions with others through kindred spirits in communities like the Write Group and “The Rejection Club,” and in critique groups and workshops, we can find not only joy but brain-boosting stimulation. A win-win in every way. Write on!
*Once again, all quoted material is from the fabulous Center for Brain Health: http://www.brainhealth.utdallas.edu/