While NeuroGum is a pretty convenient pick-me-up for your cognitive function, for longer lasting benefits to your brain you will need to turn to making some positive changes in your life.
Don't fear change. This is the good kind. The kind that in the long run will make everything feel a little bit easier. Being more focused and in control sounds awesome, right?
Well, let's get to it. These are five of the brain boosting habits you can build that will have the greatest effect, as well as are the easiest to adopt.
The internet age has convinced many of us that we're as quick as the computers we utilize. We imagine we can keep up because in many ways it seems like we do. But the price of this kind of activity is stress.
The science coming in about stress' effects on the brain is pretty damning. It seems to be one of the biggest long-term killers of your mental health.
So cut back the multitasking. Turn off every notification on your phone that isn't vital. One of the best ways to limit multitasking is using a Pomodoro technique, which you can learn about on our blog as well.
Get sleep. Can't emphasize this one enough. It's how your brain turns what you learned during the day into long-term knowledge.
Those of you who think you can beat the system and get a little more out of your day with six hours or fewer of sleep, a recent study just revealed that trying this for a time period of two weeks results in the same lack of mental focus that staying up for two days straight produces.
If you need some help building better sleeping practices, check out our article for 8 tips to getting a better night's sleep.
Exercise is going to benefit you threefold.
First, it has been shown to promote neurogenesis on its own. In even as little as three hours of brisk walking, exercise increases blood flow to the brain. It also increases the brain's ability to form connections between neurons. Click here for more info.
Second and Third, it's going to help improve your sleep and reduce your stress. And you just learned how important those are.
If you're not already doing it, please start. Briskly walk and listen to a podcast, or the new albums that you keep missing. It's also a good break from the internet, which counts as reducing your multitasking! That's the first tip! Right up there!
Our brains expand the most in completely unfamiliar situations with new challenges, new environments, and new ideas.
Travel has been pointed to as one of the best ways to challenge your brain and make it grow, particularly to locations that speak different languages and have different cultures than your own.
If you're like myself and can't afford to make travel a habit, you can simulate these types of change by playing 3-D video games, volunteering for a type of work you're not comfortable with in a place you don't know, or finding a subculture of people in your local area who speak a different language or have different ideas than you.
Like getting exercise, meditation helps more than just during the meditation. It reduces stress, fear, and anger, which we know full well eat away at the brain long term.
It also increases activity and connections in the parts of the brain that control deep thought, focus, and memory. We've written here about how to get started with mindfulness meditation, so try and build up a habit to push your brain's continued development.
Remember, meditation does not have to be sitting still in a field, so don't feel like you can't form a type of meditation that works for you!
Start building up these habits, and you will start to feel the increased power of your mind. These habits will also help you build the type of character that continues to encourage learning and growth. We wish you the best and feel free to share your success stories and tips in the comments below!