So what is brain power?
I grew up hearing things like “Use your brainpower”, or “Stop watching so much tv, you’ll never improve your brainpower that way”.
What did they mean?
Are there really things we can do to improve our brainpower?
Does our brainpower change as we age?
As an avid blogger, I needed to find the answers.
Seriously though, wouldn’t improving my brain power help me throughout life in general? Perhaps I could write more content, better content or more efficiently?
In this article, we will find the answers to these questions and find out what, we can do to improve our brainpower.
Definition Of Brainpower
Cambridge Dictionary defines brainpower as “You’re intelligence or ability to think“.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary says brainpower is your intellectual ability.
So there you have it, in its most basic definition, brainpower is the cornerstone of our intellect.
In other words, it’s how we think, remember, solve problems, and use speech both spoken and written.
It stands to reason then that we should do all we can to improve and maintain healthy brainpower.
Workout Your Brain
Yes, I said workout your brain.
Our brains have been constantly developing since the day we were born. We have developed millions of neuropathways that help us process and recall information quickly, solve familiar problems and execute habitual tasks, all with minimal effort.
The problem is, that if we just stick to these same tasks we are not growing or developing any new brain function, we are stagnating and that is never a good thing.
We need to shake it up a bit, challenge ourselves, learn new things.
You work out the rest of your body when you want to make improvements so why should your brain be any different?
How do we work out our brains?
What Elements Should Be Part Of A Brain Workout?
Teaches You Something New.
Regardless of how challenging an activity is, if you are already good at it then it isn’t a good brain exercise. Choose an activity that is new to you or out of your comfort zone. Strengthening the brain requires you to learn new things and develop new skills.
It Is Challenging
The best brain-boosting workout activities would be those that require your full attention to complete. It must be something that requires mental effort. An example would be a musician learning to play a complicated piece would be a great challenge whereas playing something familiar would be enjoyable but not challenging.
A Skill You Can Build Upon
Choose activities where you can begin with the basics or easy level and over time improve and challenge yourself to tackle more difficult or more advanced levels or skills. Constantly push yourself to develop those new skills. When it starts to feel familiar then it is time to challenge yourself to move to the next level.
It Is Rewarding
Rewards support our learning process. We see this every day in our lives. The more we enjoy doing something the more we are likely to continue doing it and the greater the experience will become. So we need to choose activities that are challenging, enjoyable and satisfying.
Think of activities you may like to do. Maybe you would like to learn to play guitar or piano. Maybe you would like to make pottery, learn to knit or crochet, play chess, learn a new language, learn to dance.
Find an activity that will challenge you and that you can develop from being a complete newbie to more advanced and that you can have fun learning.
Physical exercise is good for our entire bodies including our brains.
Physical exercise increases blood flow to the brain which increases the oxygen sent to the brain reducing the risk of disorders leading to memory loss such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
- Aerobic exercise is great for the brain so choose activities that really get the blood pumping. Any exercise that is good for the heart is also great for the brain.
- Do you find yourself struggling with brain-fog when you rise each morning? Try working out in the morning to get that blood flowing and kick-start your day. It definitely primes the brain for a day full of learning and creativity.
- Activities that require hand-eye coordination are very good for the brain. They take increased concentration to accomplish and help develop more complex motor skills.
- Do you have mental fatigue in the afternoons? Try an exercise break, take a few minutes to go for a walk, do a few stretches or even do a few jumping jacks to reboot the brain.
Get Proper Sleep
There is a big difference between the amount of sleep you can get by on and the amount of sleep you need to perform at your best.
Everyone is slightly different and has different requirements.
This handy chart can act as a guide.
Getting enough sleep is critical to our health and that includes our brain health, mental health and physical health.
When we skimp on sleep even just s few hours it can make a huge difference in our productivity each day.
To make getting enough sleep easier follow these pointers:
- Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning
- Eliminate screen time an hour or two before bedtime
- Cut back on the caffeine
As humans, we are very social creatures. We crave interaction with other people. I was never more aware of this what has become evident over the past year with lockdowns and restrictions on our ability to socialize with other humans.
Interacting with other humans may be the best brain-boosting activity. It is certainly a mood-booster.
Countless studies show that a life rich with friendship and fun has significant cognitive benefits.
One recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that people with the most active social lives had the slowest rate of memory decline.
Don’t underestimate the power of strong friendships.
So once you are allowed in your area go ahead visit friends, join a social club to meet new friends and if still locked down enjoy the family pet. They can’t replace other humans however they can do wonders for your brain health.
Stress is one of the brain’s and body’s worst enemies.
Over time stress can actually destroy brain cells and the hippocampus which links stress to memory loss.
Tips For Managing Stress
- set realistic expectations (it’s OK to say no sometimes)
- take frequent breaks throughout the day
- don’t bottle up your feelings, express them
- set a healthy balance between work and leisure time (especially if you work from home)
- focus on one task at a time, no multi-tasking
Well, it turns out there is actually something to that.
Laughter engages the whole brain.
So how do we get more laughter in our lives?
These tips can help:
- laugh at yourself, share embarrassing moments with friends or family members, don’t take ourselves so seriously
- whenever you hear laughter move towards it. Most people are willing to share something funny because it gives them the chance to laugh again
- spend time with fun playful people. These are people who laugh easily- at themselves and at life’s absurdities. Their playful heart and laughter are contagious.
- pay attention to your kids and emulate them. Kids are a pro at being silly and laughing so why not join them and have fun too.
A Healthy Diet
Naturally, we can’t expect it to function at peak performance if we neglect to supply it with the nutrients it needs.
We have all heard the saying, “Garbage in, equals garbage out”.
Turns out there is quite a bit of truth in that as well.
So while eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is essential these tips can help ensure your brain gets the nutrients it needs.
Research shows that omega 3 fatty acids are really good for the brain. you can find omega 3s in fatty fish such as salmon, tuna. halibut, trout, mackerel, herring and sardines.
Not a fish lover?
That’s OK. You can find plenty of omega 3s in seaweed, walnuts, ground flaxseed, flaxseed oil, winter squash, kidney and pinto beans, spinach, broccoli, pumpkin seeds and soybeans.
Limit Saturated Fat.
Research shows that diets high in saturated fats have an increased risk of dementia and impaired concentration and memory.
Sources of saturated fat would include red meat, whole milk, butter, cream, cheese and ice-cream.
Limit The Amount Of Sugar
The negative effects of sugar intake on the body have been studied since the 1060s and there is plenty of evidence showing that sugar is causing more problems to our bodies and mind than the sugar industry want’s you to know.
I won’t go into detail here but a fantastic book to read about the negative effects of sugar on our body is called ‘Pure White and Deadly‘
There is also an excellent video on the subject as well which you can find on YouTube.
Plenty Of Fruit And Veggies
Produce is literally packed with antioxidants, substances that protect our brain cells from damage. Choose a rainbow of colours to ensure you are getting everything you need.
Green tea contains polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants that protect against free radicals that damage brain cells. Regularly consuming green tea may enhance memory and mental alertness as well as slow ageing. It also aids in digestion.
Drink Wine (in moderation)
It is important we don’t over-indulge in alcohol as that kills brain cells.
However, in moderation (1 glass/day for women, 2 for men) may actually improve memory and cognition.
It appears that red wine is the best option as it contains resveratrol, a flavonoid that boosts blood flow to the brain, reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Other options containing resveratrol include grape juice, cranberry juice, fresh grapes and berries, and peanuts.
Take Care Of Physical Health
We fall ill from time to time but if you find you are forgetful, feeling sluggish, tired, and just not performing in your usual manner, then it may be time for a visit to your doctor.
Other things besides Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease can affect our memory and cognition.
Be sure you discuss heart disease, diabetes, hormone imbalance or even medications you may be taking.
It could even be depression.
Be sure to see your doctor and follow any and all treatments as prescribed.
Keeping on top of our physical health helps our brain health tremendously.
So What Is BrainPower?
We have learned that brainpower is our intellectual ability. Which is our ability to think, remember, solve problems and communicate in both verbal and written format.
We have learned it is important to work out our brain and we have discovered what traits activities should have in order to be good for the brain.
We have discussed the importance of a good night’s sleep and offered tips to help ensure you get the sleep you need.
We have learned about nutrition and what types of foods we need to fuel up for optimal physical, brain and mental health.
We have also discussed how physical exercise is an important element in brain health as well as physical health.
We have learned how our physical health and mental health is a significant part of brain health.
Keep The Brain Active Is Your Best Defence
Keeping the brain active with fun things to do or doing something that drives interest and passion. This will not only increase the brainpower but also increase the likely hood to keep doing it.
I know many that take up knitting as a hobby because I teach a class of beginners to knit and along with the knitting they also get to meet new friends to talk to.
Another fun hobby that many are taking up these days is an online business.
I personally love to write and when I write to help others it is a great reward. As I have mentioned I am a full-time blogger and love it. And making money with it is a bonus which also gives me the incentive to write.
Have you given any thought to brain health?
What types of activities do you enjoy that help maintain a healthy brain?
Leave your ideas in the comment section below and be sure to take care of your brain.
And never stop learning.