Monday, December 2, 2013

10 Ways to Overclock Your Brain

10 Ways to Overclock Your Brain

1. Run up your brain cells.
Research suggests that people who get plenty of physical exercise can wind up with better brains. Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif., found that adult mice who ran on an exercise wheel whenever they felt like it gained twice as many new cells in the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved in learning and memory, than mice who sat around all day discussing Lord of the Rings in Internet chat rooms. The researchers weren’t sure why the more active rodents’ brains reacted the way they did, but it’s possible that the voluntary nature of the exercise made it less stressful and therefore more beneficial. Which could mean that finding ways to enjoy exercise, rather than just forcing yourself to do it, may make you smarter – and happier, too.

So, play a sport, train for an event such as a marathon, triathlon or “fun run,” or work out with a buddy to help keep things interesting.

2. Exercise your mind.
It isn’t just physical exercise that gets those brain cells jumping. Just like those head-pumped cabbies and piano jockeys, you can build up various areas of your brain by putting them to work. Duke University neurobiology professor Lawrence C. Katz, Ph.D., co-author of Keep Your Brain Alive, says that finding simple ways to use aspects of your brain that may be lagging could help maintain both nerve cells and dendrites, branches on the cells that receive and process information. Just as a new weightlifting exercise builds up underused muscles, Katz says that novel ways of thinking and viewing the world can improve the functioning of inactive sections of the brain.

Experience new tastes and smells; try to do things with your nondominant hand; find new ways to drive to work; travel to new places; create art; read that Dostoyevsky novel; write a buddy comedy for Ted Kennedy and Rush Limbaugh – basically, do anything you can to force yourself out of your mental ruts.

3. Ask why.
Our brains are wired to be curious. As we grow up and “mature” many of us stifle or deny our natural curiosity. Let yourself be curious! Wonder to yourself about why things are happening. Ask someone in the know. The best way to exercise our curiosity is by asking “Why?” Make it a new habit to ask “why?” at least 10 times a day. Your brain will be happier and you will be amazed at how many opportunities and solutions will show up in your life and work.

4. Laugh.
Scientists tell us that laughter is good for our health; that it releases endorphins and other positively powerful chemicals into our system. We don’t really need scientists to tell us that it feels good to laugh. Laughing helps us reduce stress and break old patterns too. So laughter can be like a “quick-charge” for our brain’s batteries. Laugh more, and laugh harder.

5. Be a fish head.
Omega-3 oils, found in walnuts, flaxseed and especially fish, have long been touted as being healthy for the heart. But recent research suggests they’re a brain booster as well, and not just because they help the circulation system that pumps oxygen to your head. They also seem to improve the function of the membranes that surround brain cells, which may be why people who consume a lot of fish are less likely to suffer depression, dementia, even attention-deficit disorder. Scientists have noted that essential fatty acids are necessary for proper brain development in children, and they’re now being added to baby formulas. It’s possible that your own mental state, and even your intelligence, can be enhanced by consuming enough of these oils.

Eating at least three servings a week of fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel and tuna is a good start.

6. Remember.
Get out an old photo album or high school yearbook. Your brain is a memory machine, so give it a chance to work! Spend time with your memories. Let your mind reflect on them and your mind will repay you in positive emotions and new connections from the memories to help you with your current tasks and challenges.

7. Cut the fat.
Can “bad” fats make you dumb? When researchers at the University of Toronto put rats on a 40-percent-fat diet, the rats lost ground in several areas of mental function, including memory, spatial awareness and rule learning. The problems became worse with a diet high in saturated fats, the kind that’s abundant in meat and dairy products. While you may never be called upon to navigate a little maze in search of a cheddar cube, these results could hold true for you as well, for two reasons: Fat can reduce the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your brain, and it may also slow down the metabolism of glucose, the form of sugar the brain utilizes as food.

You can still get up to 30 percent of your daily calories in the form of fat, but most of it should come from the aforementioned fish, olive oil, nuts and seeds. Whatever you do, stay away from trans fats, the hardened oils that are abundant in crackers and snack foods.

8. Do a puzzle.
Some of us like jigsaw puzzles, some crossword puzzles, some logic puzzles – it really doesn’t matter kind you choose to do. Doing puzzles in your free time is a great way to activate your brain and keep it in good working condition. Do the puzzle for fun, but do it knowing you are exercising your brain.

9. The “Mozart Effect.”
A decade ago Frances Rauscher, a psychologist now at the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh, and her colleagues made waves with the discovery that listening to Mozart improved people’s mathematical and spatial reasoning. Even rats ran mazes faster and more accurately after hearing Mozart than after white noise or music by the minimalist composer Philip Glass. Last year, Rauscher reported that, for rats at least, a Mozart piano sonata seems to stimulate activity in three genes involved in nerve-cell signalling in the brain.

This sounds like the most harmonious way to tune up your mental faculties. But before you grab the CDs, hear this note of caution. Not everyone who has looked for the Mozart effect has found it. What’s more, even its proponents tend to think that music boosts brain power simply because it makes listeners feel better – relaxed and stimulated at the same time – and that a comparable stimulus might do just as well. In fact, one study found that listening to a story gave a similar performance boost.

10. Improve your skill at things you already do.
Some repetitive mental stimulation is ok as long as you look to expand your skills and knowledge base. Common activities such as gardening, sewing, playing bridge, reading, painting, and doing crossword puzzles have value, but push yourself to do different gardening techniques, more complex sewing patterns, play bridge against more talented players to increase your skill, read new authors on varied subjects, learn a new painting technique, and work harder crossword puzzles. Pushing your brain to new heights help to keep it healthy.




0 التعليقات:

Post a Comment

Follow by Email

Feedage Grade A rated Weight Loss Quotes