The brain is your most important muscle, so why don’t you treat it like you treat the rest of your body?
Your brain is your best muscle.
The brain is the most interesting organ that can also act as a muscle in the body. Yes, that’s right — a muscle. Firstly, with neuroplasticity proving that the brain is malleable and has the ability to strengthen itself, you might think twice about being more careful of what you think as well as how you think. Secondly, with the application of Hebbian Theory (neurons that fire together wire together), it’s clear that the brain only grows as much as you challenge it to. So, no matter your age or your walk in life, it’s never too late to start working out your brain.
Here are 3 ways to get that “summer bod” brain you’ve always wanted:
Get out of the normal routine – Swap poor habits for good ones.
A routine is a habit. A habit is a series of brain processes that treat every action as if the brain was on autopilot. Avoid getting caught in routine as much as possible, because the brain will eventually begin to forget the processes that don’t encompass the habits of your everyday routine. Neuroplasticity has a way of changing the brain to optimize efficiency – and that could unfortunately mean sacrificing valuable mental habits to master your poor behaviors. Habits can be beneficial – but if they reinforce unwanted behaviors then the brain will be destined to continue this negative trajectory in the long run. If you stay outside of your routine, you’ll be better suited to expand your mind into new areas of interest.
i.e. While watching cat videos may stimulate your brain (marginally), reading a new book or thinking creatively may target neglected circuits of your brain that you want to grow again.
Never stop learning.
Set goals for topics that you want to become a master of. Not only will it benefit you for life, but becoming an expert on a topic is a true way to create your passion. Make your brain better at processing and utilizing information by learning everyday on a topic relevant to what you do or want to do. You can prevent unwanted brain diseases and neurodegeneration while strengthening your brain by exposing your mind to new information. You have the power to become the person you’ve always wanted to be by learning to control your thoughts and expand your mind, bit by bit, little by little, and soon find that your brain is reshaping itself – as if it were a muscle.
i.e. Doing the same job every day can minimize the neglected parts of your brain that you want to focus on – and learning more will make you better at learning. Period.
Treat your brain right – Watch what you eat, exercise and SLEEP!
Eat and give your brain the food and rest it deserves. Nourishing your brain takes time, so don’t feel like you should overload it. Allow for your brain to relax after a long day of work. Get into the habit of exercising, as exercise has been shown to promote neurogenesis – neuronal growth. Also, the food you consume plays a huge role in how your brain functions – as brain fog, stress, and headaches can be direct products of what you eat.
i.e. Instead of watching cat videos until 12am, go to sleep. And stop drinking diet coke – it’s not healthy for you.
To explain how the brain grows like a muscle, Khan Academy breaks it down in this brief video:
Use these steps little by little – Don’t tire yourself out.
Now obviously these changes can’t happen overnight, so pace it bit by bit. Taking on too much change can tire you out easily and make you want to quit. Dipping your feet in the water at first will allow for you to not be overwhelmed while still maintaining the satisfaction of creating some tangible changes. And through that, you can make steady improvements until you create the brain that you truly desire.