Hi! Recently I have ventured into the topic of brain health and boosting brain power. We often think of working out our bodies and while this is very important of course, it is also important to work out our minds. This concept is what keeps our brains healthy and agile. Below are some tips I have found from my own research. Please comment below if you have any tips, suggestions or thoughts on this topic!
1) Eat Brain Boosting Foods
This is a simple one, but fairly easy to implement. The below foods are linked to brainpower:
- Fatty Fish
- Tea and Coffee
- Pumpkin seeds
- Dark Chocolate
I am personally a big lover of most of these, which helps! If you will prioritize any of the above foods, pick fatty fish. Think: salmon, trout, albacore tuna, or sardines. I know that some of you may not love these, but the benefits are worth it. Reason being; these are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Did you know that your brain is mainly made of fat? A good portion of that fat is comprised of omega-3 fatty acids. These are crucial for learning and memory. Not getting enough omega-3 is often linked to learning impairments and depression. Eat your fish to ensure you prevent age-related cognitive decline and ward off debilitating ailments such as Alzheimer’s disease. (More information and resources on this topic here). If you truly do not want to eat fish, I recommend taking a high quality omega-3 supplement.
2) Read Books
One of the best things you can do for your cognitive health is to read more! Read a few pages of a book instead of scrolling through TikTok at night. Not only is reading great to boost intelligence for the obvious reasons, reading a book instead of watching a screen can help you sleep better and feel more rested. Blue light disrupts our melatonin levels.
3) Cold Therapy
If you have ever plunged into an ice bath or experienced a cryotherapy session, you likely remember how amazing you felt afterwards. I always leave Cryotherapy feeling super relaxed and happy. Additionally, I feel more productive and am suddently motivated to get stuff done. It is no suprise that high performers often implement cryotherapy into their routine. I won’t sugercoat it- being that cold sucks. It certainly isn’t pleasant. But the effects you feel after are well worth the discomfort. In regards to boosting brain power, the extreme cold temperature creates a protein called RBM3. This is a cold shock protein that can help regenerate damaged brain cells, boost memory and prevent cognitive decline. Hate being cold? Consider the Sauna. The heat is amazing because it boosts Norepinephrine- a hormone responsible for focus, attention and mood. More info on these can be found from this resource.
4) Meditation and Breath Work
Meditation and breathing can help calm you down, allow you to think more rationally, and take control of your emotions. Even if you can’t be bothered to meditate, the next time your mind is racing, try taking some deep breaths. Breathe in for 4 counts, hold at the top for 4 counts, and then release the breath for 4 counts. Hold for another 4 and then repeat. This is considered box breath and can help you calm down rapidly, slow your heart rate and feel more centered. It is really great when your mind is racing and you feel anxious. If you think meditation and breath work sound boring, well, that is the point! There is also something to be said about meditation and breath work for brain health, since so often during the day we do not take time for ourselves to just – do nothing – and be. Our brains are constantly being stimulated- whether that be work, talking to people, on social media etc. Boredom allows us to turn inward for a little bit, and help our typically overloaded brains take a load off. Resource on more benefits of boredom can be found here.
5) Elevate App
Want to challenge yourself intellectually? Get the Elevate App downloaded on your phone. Elevate is a brain training app. It can help you improve vocabulary, speaking skills, processing speed, math problem solving skills and more. I have always felt confident with my writing and reading skills. But, my math skills do not make me proud. To be honest, ever since high school/college, I have avoided math equations- chalking it up to “I’m not good at math.” This is exactly why I wanted to challenge myself to get better at math! This will relate to the below bullet.
6) Learn something new and Challenge yourself
I’m reading a book right now called The Mountain is You (I highly recommend it; it is fantastic) and one of the core ideas is that your brain is “anti-fragile.” What this means is that your brain needs mental and emotional resilience. Here is a direct quote from Brianna Wiest’s brilliant book:
“But our minds also need advertisity, and that’s why it’s instinstial to keep creating problems- even if there aren’t any real ones in front of us. The human mind is something called antifragile, which means that it actually gets better with adversity. Like a rock that becomes a diamond under pressure or an immune system that strengthens after repeated exposure to germs, the mind requires stimulation in the form of a challenge. If you deny and reject any kind of real challenge in your life, your brain will compensate by creating a problem to overcome. Except this time, there won’t be any reward at the end. It will just be you battling you for the rest of your life.” (Wiest, 114-115).
Pretty profound stuff right? So challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone. Turn regrets, mistakes, and failures into opportunities to grow. Take challenges head on.
I hope this information was helpful and you apply at least one of the tips you learned. I’ll be back soon!