It’s on the tip of my tongue!

brain

 

What’s happened to me? A fog has descended over my brain. I used to pride myself on my memory. I didn’t forget a name, a face, or a phone number! Five years ago, if you had asked me the lead actress in the movie Circle of Friends, I would have quickly reeled off Minnie Driver! Now, I have to google it!

Scientists claim that you can teach an old dog new tricks! They believe there is hope for our memory and mental dexterity. I cannot afford for my brain to take an early retirement! No putting this cow, or bull, out to pasture quite yet! I have five kids to raise!

Prescription for a Brilliant Mind:

Jet Fuel for the Brain:

There is no debate that what we put into our bodies directly impacts not only our life expectancy, but also the quality of our life in the present. The brain thrives when it is nourished with foods high in Vitamin E, Omega 3’s, and Folate. The goal for the brain is healthy blood flow, reduction of plaque build-up, and protection against damage caused by free radicals. So, add these items to your grocery list!

  • A cup of Blueberries a day: This is the #1 food for the brain
  • Avocado: Second to blueberries! It is the most under-rated superhero food!
  • Foods rich in Vitamin E: Sunflower seeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, nut butters (Almost every day, I have an apple with either almond butter or cashew butter, and a little Nutella! Heaven!)
  • 1 oz dark chocolate
  • Wild Salmon: Best source of Omega 3’s
  • Eggs: Make sure you eat the yellow center. The brain likes the choline!
  • Rosemary: Just smelling it enhances memory and improves blood flow. I cook with it and try to keep a plant alive by my desk!
  • Great source of folate: Kale, collard greens, spinach, broccoli
  • Green tea: I’m a fan of Matcha but all green tea works. The polyphenols enhance memory, mental alertness, and brain aging.

 Catch some Z’s:

Sleep deprivation is the brain’s greatest nemesis. Eight hours is the gold standard! A regular sleep schedule of less than 7 hours of sleep is a recipe for disaster! A lack of quality sleep is detrimental to creativity, problem-solving, critical thinking, and mood. Tied to lack of sleep is stress. Chronic stress is scientifically proven to destroy brain cells and damage the hippocampus. We must have reverence for sleep! First, the bedroom should be a technology-free zone. Second, the hours of sleep between 10pm and midnight are the golden hours for healing the brain. And, thirdly, we all need a healthy sleep ritual to follow. For me, it is a cup of Calm tea (I swear by it!), a 10 minute Dr. Teal’s Lavender epson salt bath, and then 20 minutes of pleasure reading (work reading is not allowed!).

The writing is on the wall: We all should meditate! I must admit that this is unfamiliar ground for me. Researchers claim regular meditation (as short as 3 minutes a day) creates more activity in the prefrontal cortex and is proven to increase the thickness of the cerebral cortex (which contributes to mental acuity and memory). You can expect a post in the next couple of weeks on meditation!

Wake the Brain Up:

Exercise is crucial to brain health. Scientists that specialize in Alzheimer’s and Dementia tout exercise as the most important factor for a strong and healthy brain. Exercise increases oxygen to the brain, helps to regulate healthy brain chemicals, and protects the brain cells from the toxicity in the world we live in. The more you raise your heart rate, the more juice that goes to the brain!

The biggest misconception: Our ability to multi-task reflects a sharp brain and keen memory. Sadly, that is not the case. It takes eight seconds to retain a piece of information. No wonder I cannot remember the title and author of the book I am reading right now. It’s like trying to shove the entire refrigerator down a goose’s neck. Trust, the goose is not going to remember a thing you fed him. We have to slow down and focus on one task at a time. Another mistake we make is sticking to the same routine. The brain loves a siesta in the hammock. Every now and again, we must shake things up! It’s just like if you do the same physical exercise over and over, eventually your body becomes immune to its benefits. The same goes for the brain. You must get out of your comfort zone and keep the brain on its toes. For example, visit new places, read different kinds of books, change up your daily routine, take a different route to work, learn something completely new. It could be as easy as following a new recipe or engaging in a conversation that tests the intellect. The brain also really benefits from activities using our hands. For example, knitting, ping pong, playing a musical instrument, gardening, and dancing.

Dose yourself with Regular Laughter:

A healthy social life directly correlates to a happy brain! More important than Suduko and the NYT crossword puzzle is laughter with friends! Healthy, enjoyable relationships stimulate brain activity better than anything else! Doctors orders: Spend time with happy, playful people that make you laugh!

In the spirit of forgetfulness, I owe a special thank you to the folks at StyleBlueprint (Liza Graves and Wendy Gatto) for their kind article about me two weeks ago! If you are not familiar with this very popular Nashville blog, you have a treat in store! http://styleblueprint.com/nashville/everyday/farrell-mason-faces-nashville/

Live in Hope,

Farrell

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