Guard your brain

09.08.16 |

We need to take our brain health seriously

Our brains are perhaps our most valuable possession. They drive every key process within our bodies, and they give us the ability to create and store treasured memories with the people we love most. For many of us, one of the greatest rewards of Optimal Wellbeing is not how we look in the mirror but how sharp our minds feel.

As soon as we neglect our brain health, we risk triggering a cascade of health challenges through the rest of our bodies and our lives as a whole, making it even more critical that we take brain health seriously.

Guard your brain because your life depends on it, and help the people you love to do the same. You should start as early as possible.

Some places you can start

  • Childhood. We’re learning more and more about brain injuries every day, from the obvious concussion to the potential damage of something as seemingly harmless as heading a soccer ball. For example, recent research found that a concussion in childhood could lead to serious health and social challenges later in life. If you have kids, help them stay safe!
  • Sleep. The restorative power of sleep helps to clear toxins out of our brains, replenish essential chemicals, and transform short term memories into long term ones. As soon as we start to get less than 8 hours sleep a night, we limit our brain’s ability to function properly, which has short term as well as long term consequences.
  • Nutrition. According to Harvard Medical School, eating right could actually lower the likelihood of developing dementia later in life. It turns out that the same kind of cholesterol that can lead to heart complications can actually hurt our brains as well. Following the nutrition advice of the Habits of Health will put you on the right path!
  • Lifestyle. Over the last few months, I’ve talked a lot about Habits of Health that can affect your brain. I’ve written about smartphones, I’ve talked about the value of continuing to learn, and I’ve even touched on emotional health. Your entire lifestyle should be organized around keeping your brain healthy, so step away from screens from time to time, challenge your brain to learn, and do your best to reduce stress and work toward your goals.

Brain health might be easy to overlook because we don’t see it in the mirror everyday like we do our waistlines, but don’t let that be the reason that you ignore this aspect of Optimal Wellbeing. Each time you remember a moment where you laughed until you cried with your family or you connect the dots on a new idea you should take a moment to be thankful for the great things that your mind enables you to experience.

Then return the favor by protecting it from harm and giving it the attention it needs to truly thrive.