Challenge your Brain
Your brain is a muscle, so keeping it in good shape, requires using it. In order to maintain your memory, cognition, recall and problem-solving skills you will have to make sure you’re challenging your brain in new ways for your entire life.
Scientists have found, that challenging the brain in new ways helps create new brain cells and strengthen the connections between them.
As you participate in higher levels of mental activity, your brain functions become much better and your risk for cognitive decline lowers. In addition, your likelihood of getting dementia decreases.
I suggest trying a new activity you have wanted to do for awhile. Some examples you could try are, learning a new language, learning to program computers or even learning to draw. There are all sorts of fun activities to explore.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Sleep helps your brain work properly and prepares it for the next day.
While you sleep your brain is processing all the information from your day. Sleep takes the memories from your day and stabilizes, copies and filters them to help prioritize their importance and usefulness for future reference.
The recommended amount of sleep for adults is between 7 and 8 hours per night. However, the amount of sleep you need depends on many factors. For some a good nights sleep in 4 hours and for others 9 hours.
I would test out different duration’s of sleep and find the period, where you feel rested and sharp and ready to take on the day.
I should mention, in order to maintain a good night’s sleep, you need to set a consistent bedtime routine. This ensures your sleep cycles are not disrupted.
Create Healthy Habits
Smoking and drinking cause harm to the brain. Both separately, and together.
Alcohol affects the parts of your brain that control judgment, concentration, coordination, behavior and emotions. Your sharpness is based on all of this! And alcohol’s effects are not positive, but negative.
Long-term drinking can result in permanent brain damage, serious mental health problems and alcohol dependency; especially for the young person. Excessive drinking can also disrupt your sleep patterns.
Cigarette smoking, has really negative effects on your brain as well. It is a cause of a stroke which is, damage to the brain due to problems with blood flow or the escape of blood into the brain. 40% of all strokes in people under 65 are caused by cigarette smoking.
A common myth, is that smoking helps concentration and makes a smoker alert. This is far from the truth. Don’t fall for it! Smoking will lower your IQ and your thinking ability becomes weak.
If you want to maintain a sharp brain, alcohol and smoking are not the route to take. I would suggest finding an alternative.
I have mentioned, smoking and alcohol because they are the two most common unhealthy habits, people will develop throughout their lifetime.
Here are 5 healthy habits you can apply in your life:
- Drink lots and lots of water.
- Eat at least one really healthy meal each day.
- Snack on fruit or veggies.
- Get outdoors.
I have mentioned, meditation already in many past articles. This is because it is one of the best thing’s you can do for your well-being.
Studies, have found that meditation is associated with a stronger ability to control your behavior and emotions. One study, published by the journal NeuroImage, UCLA neuroscientist Eileen Luders, found that, the brains of meditators had two brain regions that were larger than non-meditators.
Here are six ways mediation increases your intelligence:
- Balances your left and right brain.
- Increases brain size.
- Enables beneficial brainwave patterns.
- Boosts insight and intuition.
- Improves short and long term memory.
Make a Habit of Napping
Taking a nap improves brain activation and improves your memory, alertness and creativity. Many smart, energetic and creative people use power naps to keep their energy mood, and productivity high throughout their day.
A power nap is a short period of rest; around 15 to 20 minutes. Having one of these, should leave you mentally clear and sharp. The amazing thing about a power nap, is that it allows you to boost your productivity for the whole day in a very short time period.
A few proven benefits from napping
- Combats exhaustion.
- Increases brain activity.
- Helps brain recovery.
- Reduces stress.
- Increases happiness.
- Gives brain a quick boost in it’s functions.
Exercising, is a fantastic way to boost your brain power. Your brain will benefit from any amount of exercise you do. Even five minutes of exercise can improve your brain’s performance.
Cardio, is one of the best ways to boost your brain power. All the extra blood surrounds your brain cells in oxygen and glucose. And both of these are what fuel your brain cells. The more your brain cells are fueled, the better they will perform. So the more cardio exercise you do, the more powerful your brain becomes.
If you exercise, regularly you are priming your brain for growth. All the rushing blood going through you, accelerates the growth rate of the brain.
You will gain more than just increased brain performance by exercising. Your depression will alleviate, you will experience memory improvement’s, stress decrease and you will be more focused. On top of this, you will be a happier and more confident person.
It’s Easier than You Think
“The scientific truth may be put quite briefly; eat moderately, have an ordinary mixed diet, and don’t worry” – Robert Hutchison. Starting a healthy lifestyle is much easier than you may think. Really all you must do is eat healthy, exercise, focus on your well being and research. Thankfully, you are already doing the research part.
I’m guessing you’re hopeful I can show you how to start a healthy lifestyle. That I can do; however I cannot assure that you will become healthy. You will need to work hard to develop a habit of healthy routines for yourself. Only you have the power to change your health.
Make A Plan and Stick To It
This is by far the most important part in the process of developing a healthy lifestyle. If you really want to start a healthy life, you will need to set some detailed goals. Goals are very important as they turn our dreams into reality, by giving us focus, a way of measuring our success as well as motivation. Always remember you can do just about anything with enough motivation and determination, so always make sure you are replenishing it. Once you have your goals well thought out, it’s time for you to build your plan. Your plan will be your step by step process on obtaining your goals.
What is a goal? According to the dictionary.com a goal is the result of achievement toward which effort is directed. I highly emphasize the word effort in that definition. You will never reach any goal or dream in your life without effort and a hell of a lot of it. The bigger your dreams and goals, the more effort you must put in.
Now, to start developing your goals you must first analyze what you want in life. In your case you want to get healthy. Don’t set a goal like, “I want to get healthy”. This is too broad a goal, you should be setting smaller goals that are easier to attain. The reason for this is so you can reach your goals in a reasonable time frame and feel you are making progress. In turn this will keep you motivated. What I mean by a small goal is one that is specific. Take, “My goal is to read three books this week”. This can be changed to, “My goal is to read one book every two days”. Do you see how each goal actually has the same outcome; you read around 3 books per week. The difference is the more specific goal would be reached three times before the broader goal would be reached. This means you will feel satisfied three times the amount. Satisfaction is key to staying motivated.
If you have your goals at hand; it is time for your plan. This will be the map to reaching your goals. It must show the detailed path you will take to achieve your goal and also outline any problems that may arise. Create solutions to these problems so you are well prepared to deal with them. If your plan is well thought out, I have no doubt you will reach your goal. You will just need to stick with it; which will be hard at times but will definitely pay off. A tremendous amount of self-respect and sense of accomplishment will be gained by accomplishing your goal . You will experience the feeling of regret however if you give up. I really do suggest just going through with your plan.
Eat Healthy and Enjoy It
Eating healthy doesn’t have to suck. You don’t have to set strict diet limitations, stay ultra-thin, or give up the food you love. Becoming healthy is about gaining the energy you need throughout the day and feeling great because of it.
- Cook your own food. This will allow you to pick and choose what exactly is going into your meals.
- Swap out any unhealthy foods you are currently eating for a healthy alternative.
- Try to avoid prepackaged foods and processed foods and always look for the freshest food.
- Drink plenty of water. Usually when you will feel hungry your body actually want’s more water. So make sure not to forget about drinking water.
- Avoid sugary beverages or snacks. You get enough sugar in your meals.
- Cut your intake on salt. Too much salt can raise your blood pressure; this put’s you at a higher risk for heart problems.
I suggest http://allrecipes.com/ for planning what you are going to eat. There are some absolutely delicious recipes that are healthy at the same time. Make sure you check this site out I’m sure you will be pleased!
Exercise and Stay Fit
You won’t get a healthier, stronger body without exercise. It is very important to target your whole body through exercise and balance it out. Exercise will be vital in the process of becoming healthy so make sure you take this seriously. First of all, fitness helps you with so many issues that could occur in your health. Secondly, physical activity improves stamina, strengthens the body, enhances flexibility, controls weight, improves life and lastly prevents many diseases.
Find a source of exercise you enjoy. This will help you stay motivated and maintain your exercise routine. An example could be something like swimming or dancing. Don’t pick something you find boring, chances are you will end up giving up. Completely trash the “all or nothing” attitude, there is no reason you need to spend hours upon hours doing your activity. Your passion for your activity will just slowly deplete.
Always look at what you are doing well and the progress you have made; this will increase the likelihood of succeeding. You will demotivate yourself by focusing on the progress you have not yet made. A good way to stay motivated is to reward yourself once you have successfully completed your workout. This award doesn’t have to be major at all; it could be as simple as allowing yourself some time to relax.
Make a Habit of Nourishing Your Well Being
Too many people skip this part of health. They feel all they need is a good diet and exercise. This not true once so ever. You cannot forget you have a mind and emotions. I believe you should put most of your energy into your well being. A strong well being is linked to happiness and satisfaction of life. In conclusion your well being is how you feel about yourself and your life.
Factors Influencing Well Being:
Luckily you can kill two birds with one stone. By exercising and maintaining a healthy eating habit, you actually are building your well being. What’s even better is that the factors that influence well being are interrelated.
Happy relationships with those you immerse yourself with
Network of close people
Successful and fulfilling career
Spiritual or Religious practice
Hobbies and fun endeavors
High self esteem
Optimism with life
Goals set in place
Sense of purpose
Sense of inclusion
The ability to adapt to changes
Wellness can be broken down into multiple layers; social, mental, spiritual and emotional well being. In a later article I will go into details of each of the following but I am keeping it simple in this article since it is a broader topic I am covering here and I wrote this article under the assumption you don’t want to be reading for that long.
Get in and just set your goals now! Trust me you have time for it. You may not have time to create your whole plan but you definitely have time to write down a few things. Don’t let procrastination dictate your life. When you feel you need a change in life immediately act on it or it will just keep building up. This will cause a depletion of your well being which is the exact opposite of what you want. Good luck on your journey to a healthy lifestyle! I know you can succeed; you just need to know it too!