7 science-backed hacks to keep your brain fit
What are you doing to keep your mind young?
Just like our bodies, our brains need to be exercised to stay in good cognitive shape. Why do you think Aunt Carol has the sudoku book on the coffee table every time you visit? A fit brain functions better in speed, memory and emotional balance. A brain that trains can be more creative and academic, and even delay age-related mental decline.
Here are 7 science-backed activities you can do to keep your brain fighting fit.
1.Get a social life
Your crew, your fam, your peeps. Whatever you call it, a strong social network can do great things for your brain fitness. While you talk and laugh, your brain is getting a workout in, boosting attention and memory and strengthening neural networks
Find a crew that supports you – your brain will thank you.
In the long run, staying socially connected can reduce your risk of cognitive decline. So grab a smoothie with your training buddy, reconnect with old friends, join a book club and definitely be sure to share your journey with your fellow Legends in the Centr community.
2. Take your sleep seriously
How do you feel when you’ve had a bad night’s sleep: scattered, sluggish, forgetful? Good quality sleep is essential for consolidating learning and memories from your day and clearing harmful toxins from your brain.
In fact, neuroscientist Dr. Sarah MacKay calls sleep “the number-one, fundamental bedrock of good health”. So make sticking to a regular sleep schedule a priority, then watch your productivity, creativity, memory and overall brain health soar.
3. Play it again
Your workout playlist doesn’t just get you pumped up to move, but makes you feel better. Studies have shown that music triggers the release of dopamine in your brain.
Tune into your favorites when you need to chill.
Music has also been shown to help people relax in stressful situations such as surgery, as well as reduce pain and the symptoms of depression. So if you want to give your brain a boost, just put on your favorite album and pump up the volume.
4. Try forest bathing
A fix of nature has been shown to lower stress, intensify our emotions, make us feel happier and more energized, better able to manage tasks and help us feel a bigger sense of purpose.
In Japan, they call this “forest bathing” or shinrin-yoku – nature’s ability to wash away stress, nurture calm and hold our attention, leaving us feeling happier, lighter and more mentally alert.
When he needs a mental break, Chris takes it outside.
Nature can also inspire us to be more active, so if you’re struggling to find the motivation for a workout, why not take it outside?
5. Eat well to stay sharp
To improve your mood and brain function, freshen up your meal plan! You may have heard about the brain-boosting power of omega-3 fatty acids in fish. But did you know your brain loves complex carbs, like whole grains and legumes, for the steady supply of glucose fuel they provide?
You may have already learned from experience that cutting back on sugar, alcohol and saturated fats can help you feel better and think more clearly. While one meal isn’t going to change your mood, consistently eating nutrient-rich foods and cutting out the bad stuff will have a positive impact on your brain and mental health.
6. Power down
After powering up for your Centr workouts, don’t forget to power down with a meditation. Meditation exercises your brain by rewiring connections and changing thought patterns – to embrace the positive, control the negative, to set good habits, to shut out distractions.
Still not meditating? There’s never been a better time to Learn to Meditate with Chris.
Studies have shown meditation can also improve quality of sleep, increase compassion (for yourself and others), reduce anxiety and help manage pain.
7. Find gratitude
In tough times, we often lean on the things we’re grateful for to pull us through. As it turns out, gratitude is not just a tool to boost morale. Science has shown that practicing gratitude can strengthen areas of your brain responsible for empathy, reward processing and social interaction.
Returning to the social connections mentioned earlier, practicing gratitude also means you’re likely to feel less lonely or isolated, and more likely to enjoy an improved quality of life.
Putting it into action can be as simple as thanking a friend for being there for you. Now that you’re mastering the art of meditation, here’s one to help you find An Attitude of Gratitude.
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