What is brain wellness? How does one build brain wellness?
Those of us who are not neuroscientists and have watched perhaps one too many conspiracy flick probably think of brain fitness as some kind of genius IQ manipulating powerful machines and robots telepathically, like in the X-Men series.
Well, it turns out that brain wellness is done pretty much the same as body wellness, through nutrition, sleep, exercise, stress management, positive thinking, with one brand new concept thrown in.
Within the last ten years, those high IQ neuroscientists, the good guys, who cannot manipulate robots telepathically, have discovered that we can exercise neurons in various circuits, for example, the auditory circuit, and encourage the growth of new neurons, which is called neurogenesis.
Our brains are also much more plastic than we ever knew, waiting for us to offer up new challenges, so that new dendrites can grow, new synapses can grow, and if there are alzheimers plaques, the brain can go around them, keeping me functional for a good long time. This is called neuroplasticity.
A great way to encourage neuroplasticity, a key component in brain wellness, is with novel challenge, like learning a new language, or learning how to play an instrument.
However, I remember how tedious it was in high school learning Latin, and I probably am not going to learn a new language, but playing a piano, at least for my own enjoyment, that is very cool.
And since I enjoy working out, and exercise is perhaps the most important aspect of brain wellness, I am going to seek novel challenge utilizing some of the brain wellness workouts which seem to be coming on the market every day now.
In fact, I have tried several, and really enjoy them.
However, for serious information on brain wellness, I go to the e-book written by Simon Evans, Ph.D, and Paul Burghardt, Ph.D. called Brainfit for Life As an experienced clinician, I need to find authorities I can trust in regards to research, and I like the way Evans and Burghardt write about and keep tabs on the brain wellness field.
I have not done research, and while I trust my instincts in regards to research, I have not ever done research, so I need to be careful about the claims I make for products and ideas. Evans and Burghardt serve that corroboration function for me. You can buy their e-book in its entirety, or by the chapter.
Brain Wellness and Novel Challenge
In their book, Brainfit for Life Evans and Burghardt refer to research about the dual n back task, which sounds confusing to read, but is a simple and very challenging practice.
Here is a link to an adaptation of that research which I have used frequently since last fall, and I imagine it will be part of my brain wellness novel challenge for some time. Since I am 60, I want to keep this brain wellness going for awhile, so I can be alive for my kids.
Read the results of the IMPACT research about this brain wellness tool.
Would You Share Something That You Are Grateful For?
When I was beginning my personal growth journey, a wise person told me that when I was feeling resentful or afraid or sad, that I should remember the phrase "gratitude is the attitude" when I was ready to feel better. That phrase has helped me feel better tens of thousands of times.
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