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8 Ways to Improve Brain Function
You may be wondering how to improve brain function. Authors of a new book, Use it or Lose It, tell us that your brain can continue to function effectively and actively if you know what to do. This ‘brain health’ allows you to know more, think better, and remember. If you notice your memory and brain function isn’t what it used to be, try these 8 ways to improve your thinking today.
1. Get More Oxygen to your Brain
The brain like your other organs needs blood flow for adequate function. You can get more oxygen to your brain by doing 30 minutes of aerobic exercise four or five times each week. Do some stretching exercises and walk briskly around the house each morning to get your blood circulating. When it comes to circulation, more is better. Also, take some deep, full breaths each morning to stimulate the flow of blood and encourage brain function.
2. Remember to Improve Memory
Your brain functions much like a muscle. If you don’t use it, it will weaken over time and memory will decline. Exercise your memory by learning a new poem, song, or Bible passage. Practice it over and over until you can say it from memory. Also, reconnect to past people, events, and things. Talk about things you did, who you were with, and where you were at when you did things. Remembering enhances memory skills. Another approach to memory improvement involves taking a mental picture of things you place down, like eye glasses and keys. Associate their location with a rhyming word. For instance, you put your keys by the chair that is the same color as your hair. Chair and hair rhyme. The next time you want your keys, you’ll remember this rhyme.
3. Use Your Hands
Do activities that require you to use your hands. This could be crafts, painting, sewing, or putting puzzles together. Research also shows that using your non-dominant hand encourages cognition and memory. Some activities you could do with your non-dominant hand include combing your hair, eating, and writing.
4. Start a Diary
Journaling is a proven cognition booster. Write down your activities and thoughts each day. Plan a time to write in your diary and log your plans for the future, your hopes and dreams, and past memories that are significant.
5. Feed Your Brain
There are many superfoods that promote memory and brain function. These include sweet potatoes, squash, black beans, carrots, spinach, nuts, seeds, berries, and oranges. Some herbs also improve cognition, such as rosemary, gingko, ginseng, mugwort, and goto kola. Also, supplements of Omega-3 fatty acids now are promoted to improve brain function. Research shows that these nutritional supplements combat depression and anxiety as an added benefit.
6. Avoid Memory Depleting Chemicals
We live in a plastic world where Teflon is king. However, containers made with plastic, aluminum, and Teflon are thought to have a negative effect on memory performance. If you have the choice, use an iron skillet to cook your foods. Also, avoid pesticides whenever possible. Researchers are certain that formaldehyde and other pesticides reduce brain health.
7. Games and Things
Play games that call for evaluating and thinking before action. This could include playing cards, working crossword puzzles, playing Scrabble or Pictionary, or other fun games. Do these often and in groups when possible.
The integrative body-mind training (IBMT) meditation technique was adapted in the 1990s from traditional Chinese medicine. New research from the University of Oregon found that people who practiced this form of meditation had greater mental capacity. The brain area that regulates behavior and emotions was found affected when subjects were studied by the scientists. The researchers believe that improvement happened from a reorganization of the white matter and the myelin that surrounds the brain connections. According to researchers, the practice avoids struggles to control thought and relies on a state of restful alertness.