The 3 Pillars For Optimal Brain Health
What’s the best way to achieve optimal brain health? Well, there’s not one single thing you can do but a combination of habits and practices that work together to boost your brainpower.
Meditation, releasing trapped emotions and brain games are just a few examples of practices that foster brain health and mental wellbeing. However, all of these practices will not be effective if you’re lacking the three key pillars of brain health.
These are the foundations for optimal brain health that need to be a firmly established part of your lifestyle in order for you to build upon.
So, whatever else you choose to do to boost and maintain your brain power, make sure the following pillars are in place first.
- Physical Exercise
The brain benefits of physical exercise are well-documented. Some of these include:
- Regular exercise increases blood flow to the brain, which fosters overall brain function.
- Regular exercise floods the brain with feel-good chemicals that relieve stress and improve mood.
- Regular exercise prevents diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia in later years.
- Regular exercise improves thinking and learning.
- Increased blood flow to the brain helps it flush out toxins and regenerate brain cells.
- Regular exercise releases trapped emotions which can build up and cause excessive brain strain.
As you can see, physical exercise gives you a strong foundation on which to build because your brain health is so great already that it can only get better.
- Quality sleep and regular relaxation
Contrary to what you may think, when you fall asleep, not all of your body functions slow down and sleep along with you. In fact, your body jumps into action to initiate a vigorous ‘housecleaning’ process that’s vital to brain and body health.
In a nutshell, a well-rested brain simply functions better. The brain benefits of restful sleep include:
- Sleep energizes the immune system, which protects the brain from oxidative stress and inflammation.
- Sleep allows the brain to flush out toxins, regenerate cells, produce new cells and destroy free radicals.
- Sleep dramatically boost your ability to focus and avoid distractions throughout the day.
- Sleep balances the mood and prevents mental fog.
- Studies suggest that sleep reduces the buildup of a substance called amyloid plaque in the brain, which may cause memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Never allow sleep deprivation to become a pattern for you. If you’re not sleeping well, take action now to remedy the situation.
The solution could be as simple as decluttering and rearranging your bedroom to create a calm, inviting sleep haven. Follow a relaxing bedtime routine such as a warm bath followed by a light snack and relaxing music and try to stick to regular bedtime hours.
It’s often easy to fix sleep issues with a few lifestyle tweaks. If the problem persists, however, consult a medical professional as there may be another underlying problem.
Regular relaxation is also important, so remember to take frequent breaks while working and de-stress daily. Make time for short holidays and engage in relaxing activities and hobbies as often as possible.
- Mental fitness
Staying mentally fit is the third pillar and it basically means exercising your brain to keep it fit in the same way you go to the gym to stay physically fit.
Spending hours in front of the TV, surfing the net or mindlessly playing video games for hours is not a practice that promotes mental fitness. These activities are empty overstimulation of the brain that sap its energy. It’s no wonder that mental burnout and fatigue are a common problem these days.
Your brain loves to be stimulated and challenged – in the right way! This means engaging in activities that excite it such as learning new skills, finding new interests and engaging in experiences that promote its growth and strength.
Travel, learning, reading and listening to music are also good ways to stimulate your brain in the right way. Solving puzzles, playing word games and engaging in stimulating conversation are also great brain workouts.
Exercising your mental muscle will ensure that your brain stays sharp, young and super powerful because it’s being nourished and stimulated on a regular basis.
The three pillars of brain health have one thing in common. They’re lifestyle practices that can – and should be developed into lifelong habits. This means practicing them regularly until they become a permanent part of your lifestyle.
You can build on these pillars by adding additional brain health practices like meditation, emotional release strategies and mindfulness exercises.
Putting in the time and effort to enhance and maintain your brain health will reward you tenfold. You’ll enjoy a supercharged, optimal healthy brain that never lets you down!
Safe Harbor Counseling Institute is a nonprofit mental health organization founded by a collective of 12 psychologists to provide therapy and coping skills workshops to low-income families.
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