5 Helpful Hints for Optimizing Your Brain Health
LEARN. Our brain is perhaps one of our most important muscles and it must be exercised in order to stay healthy and strong. The strength of our brain is increased through tasks that stimulate and challenge just as our body’s strength is increased through an intense session at the gym. Human nature likes routine, but routine is easy and does nothing to grow the brain. So, the key to increasing your brain muscle mass is to break away from the same ole, same ole. Experts agree that 2 ingredients can do the trick: complexity and novelty. So, when you feel your brain getting mushy, engage in something new! Read a book on a new topic, do a crossword puzzle, play a brain game app like Lumosity or do like we do at our dinner table, play a good game of “20 questions”. Just do something different!
SUPPLEMENT. Tracy talked about the importance of phospholipids for brain health. Piggy-backing on her tip, my favorite go-to supplements for brain health are the all-powerful amino acids and the magical mineral magnesium. New research shows that a particular form of magnesium, Magnesium Threonate, has the unique ability to pass through the blood brain barrier, thereby better absorb into our brain cells. I swear by the positive effect Xymogen’s OptiMag Neuro has had on my sleep and overall brain function. This month we are running a special on this yummy tasting powder. Many of my clients benefit greatly from amino acid therapy. If you tend to lean toward depression or insomnia, try taking either tryptophan or 5-HTP. If you manifest generalized anxiety mostly in your body (pounding heart, pit in your stomach body tension), try GABA. If you tend to lose focus at the same time anxiety is hijacking your brain, try L-theanine. Many formulations have a combination of 2 or more amino acids, as they often work in concert together for greater effectiveness. One of the best formulas I have found is also made by Xymogen. Mood Food ES contains 5-HTP, GABA and L-Theanine; trifecta of amino acids! Mood Food ES is also on special this month and has not only made profound differences for many of my clients, but again has helped me personally with sleep.
REWIRE. Yes, you can rewire your brain through the science of neuroplasticity. I use several low-tech and high-tech tools to do just that with clients.
Energy exercises. Hands down the best brain energy exercise is The Cross Crawl. This “brain gym” exercise looks like an exaggerated march where the arms swing in front of the body’s midline while marching in place. This type of contralateral movement (utilizing both/opposite sides of the body simultaneously) stimulates both the right and left sides of the neo-cortex and strengthens so many facets of the brain. It’s also integral to reading and writing. In fact, crawling is a baby’s first language arts homework! Children who don’t first practice crawling before walking, are often challenged by language learning impairments like dyslexia. Doing just 25-50 of these easy exercises a day will help with focus, coordination, energy, sleep, memory, learning and even cured my daughter’s carsickness! I do 50 of these/day as part of my morning self-care routine. Watch this beachfront video demo.
Alpha-Stim. Individuals often find Heights of Health after searching for a natural health facility that offers this high-tech brain rehabilitation device. Forty years of research validates dramatic results in the areas of anxiety, depresssion, insomnia, PTSD and now ADHD, traumatic brain injuries and more. This highly safe device has been a game-changer for so many of my clients (and yep, me too!) This month we are running a rare special for a single 1-hour Alpha Stim session and rental.
NOTICE. Mindfulness is the practice of noticing what is happening in your thoughts, emotions and body in the present moment while practicing acceptance. The more we can hone the art of mindfulness, the more we grow clarity of thought, focus, self-control, emotional regulation and compassion. Mindfulness is the first step to learning how to manifest your own reality. If manifestation intrigues you, don’t miss Tracy’s and my full-day seminar on April 27, How to Create the Life of Your Dreams: The Art and Science of Manifestation We guarantee this one will be a life-changer! For now, practice mindfulness by stopping yourself throughout the day and ask the following:
“What am I thinking right now?”
“Is it true?”
“Does it make me feel better and enrich my life?”
“Can I choose a new, better feeling thought?”
Habituating this process will not only create a healthier brain, but will manifest a happier life.
MEDITATION Okay, I saved the best for last! A daily meditation practice is hands-down the most impacting (and cheapest) way to enhance your brain’s superpowers! Research (to the tune of a Nobel Prize) has shown that dramatic impacts are made in the brain’s structures by simply meditating for 12 minutes over 8 weeks. Here’s a simple way:
Start by creating a special space where you can sit for 10-15 minutes daily (buy a special cushion you love and place it on the floor in a quiet place in your home).
Set your timer for the amount of time you wish (this will help you relax and create space for yourself).Close your eyes and bring mindfulness into play as you notice your bottom on the cushion and as you relax your entire face and shoulders. Sit up with a strong comfortable posture.
Begin to belly breathe as you notice the air going in through the nostrils, feel the belly expand, and allow the breath to release completely through the mouth.
Mindfully stay focused just on your breath. When thoughts comes (and they will), use mindfulness to gently notice it, label it (“there’s a thought”) and release it (I like to imagine putting my thought on a cloud as it floats away). Go back to noticing your breath.
Eventually, release the breathing technique and just settle into a restful and deep breathing rhythm.