How to increase your brain power means how to increase two capacities of the human brain, called neurogenesis and neuroplasticity.
Neurogenesis is the term used to describe the brains ability to grow new brain cells every day, given the absence of stress hormones or other poisons like ethyl alcohol.
Those neuronal stem cells can be incorporated into already existing circuits in the brain if they are challenged by novel learning experiences, like learning a new language or a new instrument, or by using a computerized brain fitness program.
Neuroplasticity describes the brains ability to create new connections between neurons. Your brain is constantly seeking to make new connections, which is a good thing for those of us getting old enough to be concerned with Alzheimers Disease.
If we give the brain enough of the correct kind of stimulation with the correct amount of feedback, those neurons will forge a cognitive reserve of connections available for rerouting signals around plaques in the brain.
So how do I make the brain a great place for neurogenesis and neuroplasticity?
A good place to start is with the excellent e-book, Brainfit for Life by Simon Evans,Ph.D, and Paul Burghardt,Ph.D., neuroscientists at the University of Michigan.
They say we can make our brain its best if we take care of the pillars of brain fitness, which are physical exercise, nutrition, including omega 3 fatty acid, sleep, stress management, and the novel learning experience.
Physical exercise is the most important factor for increased brain power, and the good news is that physical exercise does not need to mean lifting huge barbells at the local gym.
For your brain, and its neurogenesis, walking is just fine, and if you already walk, do a little more.
If you are doing more, or you are ready to challenge your body a bit, all in the name of increased neurogenesis or course, then take a look at the exercise routine, Scott and Angie Tousignant have put together.
Evans and Burghardt also talk about the importance of nutrition, including antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acid. Your brain is 2% of your weight, but uses 20% of your fuel consumption every day.
How to increase brain power must include a steady flow of nutrients from fruit and vegetables, vine ripened and locally grown if at all possible.
A number of very important memory consolidation and hormonal events take place during your sleep, and if you cut short your sleep, you diminish your brain power.
Stress hormones kill new neurons. Do you have an antidote for stress which works fast? Say deep breathing or HeartMath.
We need stress responses if we are under attack and need to act, but to use the stress response to increase production or to earn more income is an abuse of its purpose and will quickly undermine our efforts with decreased brain power.
If you like technological stress management tools, here is the best.
So you have taken care of physical exercise, sleep, nutrition, stress management, and you are ready to try out the novel learning experience using computerized brain fitness programs.
I have used three of them myself because I wanted to see what they were like, and what impact they had on my ability to function cognitively.
I liked all of them, and each had a different impact. The Mind Sparke Brain Fitness Pro was a huge gift to my attention and focus, and my short term memory, which is usually really short for all of us. It is the tool which increases IQ. Evans and Burghardt discuss the research behind this one too.
The Posit Science Brain Fitness Program made a wonderful difference in my ability to recall words, and Lumosity taught me about how quickly, even in the middle of increasing my brain power, I can lose my focus, and begin to daydream.
Lumosity has also helped me to learn to recover quickly and get back to the task at hand.
None of those experiences alone sounds like an increase in income or fame and fortune, but add them together and I am more happily productive.
Michael S. Logan is a brain fitness expert, a counselor, a student of Chi Gong, and licensed one on one HeartMath provider. I enjoy the spiritual, the mythological, and psychological, and I am a late life father to Shane, 10, and Hannah Marie, 4, whose brains are so amazing. www.askmikethecounselor2.com
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