Fuel the Brain
Lifestyle plays a key role in your cognitive decline – Make healthy choices
Our patterns of living alter our brain functions significantly. The monotony and redundancy in our daily lives impede our growth and limit our ability to make neural connections. For the regeneration of neural connections, it is imperative to have an environment that encourages and promotes creativity and observatory learning. The thoughts that our brain processes have an indelible impact on our lives, and the quality of life is dependent on it as well. Adding insult to injury, unhealthy eating choices are not only limiting our brain power but are also inhibiting us from performing optimally. The way we utilize our time has a meaningful connection with the brain power we possess. Mental prowess, i.e. mental agility, alertness, memory and focus, etc. depends substantially on: the way we start our day and manage our time, the way we process negative thoughts and distractions, the way we make healthy eating choices, the way we stimulate and train brain muscles and the way we take care of our health. It is heart-warming to note that certain changes in our lifestyles can improve cognitive skills.
Enhance your brain functions
Adapting to a healthy lifestyle amplifies cognitive power. It all boils down and comes down to your everyday decisions. Small changes can bring big differences in your cognitive abilities. Exercise is pivotal in having a fit mind. The word ‘Exercise’ usually frets and de-motivates people. Studies suggest that a 40-minute brisk walk three times a week can positively impact your brain power. Stretching and flexing of muscles also affect cognitive ability. Adapt to a more active lifestyle and get away with sedentary routine. Stress, anxiety and frustration are great inhibitors of mental agility and it affects quality of sleep as well. If it is tough to quiet the mind during the night, the quality of sleep will be compromised and so will the brain power. Unhealthy eating choices affect brain functioning drastically.
Brain boosting foods — You are what you eat
We become what we think and we are what we eat. This statement is applicable to all, irrespective of the genes we carry. Healthy eating choices go a long way in materializing mental health. So, consume more healthy fat, such as Omega-3 fatty acid that is found in salmon, walnuts and fish oil. Saturated fats and trans fats should be avoided. Fast foods, bakery items, etc. contain trans fat and are unhealthy choices for a fit mind. Vitamin E helps in the regeneration of brain cells and it is found in walnuts, almonds, mangoes, grapes, seeds, spinach, etc. Vitamin C is also an important brain booster. Vitamin K found in spinach and broccoli is an important antioxidant and brain food. Minerals like, zinc, iron and calcium aid in neuromuscular activity as well. Adding wholegrain, olive oil, dark chocolate, vegetables and fruits to your diet aids brain functioning. Staying hydrated is also important for your mind as it stimulates your brain and boosts memory. Added sugars, trans fats, packaged food items, etc. inhibit brain power and cloud your judgment and mental prowess. So, the next time you crave something sweet during your studies, go for a natural sweetener.
Eyes and ears are windows to your soul – Be selective in giving access to your brain
It is crucial to get rid of negative, unwanted and recurring thoughts from your brain so as to focus and channel your mental energies towards a specific task at hand. Eyes and ears, if given unfiltered and uninhibited access to information, can lead to mentally agitating and disturbing thoughts in the brain. We have to be extremely wary and cautious of what we feed our brains because getting rid of obnoxious thoughts can be time-consuming and energy-draining. From a memory-enhancing perspective, too much and vague information can lead to great difficulty in remembering the needful information and the data that we require. We are often faced with a dilemma where we are having a hard time recalling what we have learned and observed. The quality of our thoughts depends necessarily on the quality of information we put in our system through the windows, i.e. eyes and ears. It is, therefore, important to have a filter on our information-seeking spree and to not let unwanted thoughts enter. Specifically, if we have to achieve a milestone, targeted information related to that goal will help us sail through, successfully.
Challenge versus Skill — A tough equation to balance out
Our brains perform optimally when the challenge in front of us is slightly greater than the skill we possess. In the equation of challenge versus skill, if the challenge is indomitable and the skill is inadequate, frustration and agitation breed. Counter-intuitively, if the skill is far greater than the challenge we are beset with, one feels lax and bored. The courageous way is to rise to the occasion and perform diligently despite odds. Mental prowess is, thus, the ability to carve out a way despite being faced with an overwhelming obstacle. If the challenge seems insurmountable, one has to improve one’s skill patiently and perseveringly. To accomplish such a marvellous feat in life, one has to fuel one’s brain wisely so that one achieves what one desires. Difficulty knocks on the door of every human being, but it is the mental toughness of a few that distinguishes them from the rest of the lot. The best strategy to face a difficult task at hand is to channel all your energies towards and focus on the fulfilment of the task and to not let agitation and frustration get the best of you.
Energy is finite — Manage it judiciously
Energy is not infinite; and, secondly, our brains are open to both positive and negative energies. You have to conserve energy to utilize it where you want. You can’t let it drain by toxic people or circumstances. This energy will help you achieve your goals and aims in life. Energy, like water, cannot differentiate its utility. Water helps flowers as well as weeds to grow. Similarly, energy can also be given a positive or negative direction. Energy is the most important resource we have and it is binding on us to utilize it judiciously, if we intend to achieve our ambitions. Fuelling your brain with positive energies, filtering negative thoughts, surrounding yourself with constructive ambience and getting away with toxic people will help you save your energy for the right cause. Imagine you have Rs.86,400 and a thief robs you of Rs.400. You will try to get back your money but you will not spend the remaining amount to get back 400. Similarly, a day has 86,400 seconds and if a negative thought/toxic person agitates you for 400 seconds, it is not wise to drain all the remaining resource – 86,000 seconds – over-thinking and sulking.