When you think of brain workouts, what comes to mind? Algebra, calculus, some kind of school work, I imagine. For me, brain workouts have always meant something tedious, repetitive, memorization for example, but these days brain workouts mean something entirely different
It would seem that in this day and age of fantastical technology and movie and video game special effects that we would be able to sharpen brain quickly and easily.
Pop in a CD, watch the computer screen for the wavy lines, listen to the music with the very slow rhythm for five minutes, and viola, the next Stephen Hawking looks at you from the mirror.
Unfortunately, sharpen brain does not happen quite like that, and it does involve some regular practice and some lifestyle changes.
According to Simon Evans, Ph.D. and Paul Burghardt, Ph.D., both neuroscientists at the University of Michigan, who have put together a wonderful guide to sharpening the brain, called Brainfit for Life, there are a number of very necessary components to sharpening the brain.
Those components involve nutrition, exercise, sleep, novel challenge, stress reduction, and for me, lots of fish oil supplementation. (Omega 3's seem to have made a big difference for me.)
Here are some interesting ideas from Burghardt and Evans about brain sharpening.
"In chapter 4, we discussed how you can adjust your brain to actually crave healthy behaviors. Once you start down this road and your brain figures out that living healthy makes you feel great, your reward centers will light up for good food, exercise, sleep and mental challenges. You will crave the things that improve your brain fitness, which will send you into an upward spiral. It’s an amazing thing that you have to experience for yourself."
So let’s get started. We’ll integrate the major points of each of the four cornerstones and help you set up a method to find what you like and what works for you. We’ll help you embark on your own ACTION plan (you didn’t honestly think you’d get through the final chapter without a good acronym), which has the following six steps:
1. Assess (where you are now).
2. Commit (to achieving your goals).
3. Tackle (your first steps).
4. Incorporate (habits into your lifestyle).
5. Observe (what’s working and what’s not).
6. Navigate (continually towards your goals).
One of the tools that
Brainfit for Life talks about using is/are some of the brain fitness, or brain exercise, programs now available online. So I am going to practice a little bit on a couple of them, while I have 1/2 grapefruit for breakfast, and digest my omega 3 supplement, before I go exercise.
But before I go exercise, I will get my daughter bathed and dressed and teased and tickled, and drop her off at her pre-school. Perhaps I will also get a chance to interact with my wife a bit too. Not that, it's a work day for us, but some casual flirtation.
My recommendations for sharpen brain tools?
The research that this program is based on is mentioned in the Evans and Burghardt book. Using Mind Sparke has helped me concentrate very effectively.
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