One of my favorite quotes is the following from The Search for Order in a Chaotic World:
It is unmatched in its ability to think, to communicate, and to reason. Most striking of all, it has a unique awareness of its identity and of its place in space and time. Welcome to the human brain, the cathedral of complexity.
-Peter Coveney and Roger Highfield
So last week I had a fantastic lecture on lipids and the central nervous system. The take way was how healthy docosahexaenoic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid!) is for healthy central nervous system functioning and preventing serious diseases. This branched into a discussion of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patient treatment and maintenance with omega-3s, but most importantly noting some recent research about influencing your own brain’s neurons.
We really got into techniques being used that have been proving to pretty much improve the strength of your brain. Basically, patients with these diseases are seeing not only a slowing in their symptoms, but some saw a complete halt or even reverse in symptoms! That’s HUGE — especially for diseases of the brain. Seriously guys, BIG STUFF.
What does this have to do with you? Well, if this research worked on them it’ll work on you too. Ever wanted to be smarter? Sharper? Quick witted? Driven? Have a better memory? Well good news, I’ve got an Rx for you.
This magic research treatment was something easy that we can all do: learn a new skill. All these patients did was learn yoga, or a new musical instrument, or card game. Some patients were taught Bridge, others taught how to downward dog. They kept learning new things and their brains responded by being more, I guess you could say, enthusiastic about learning new things.
5 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO MAKE YOURSELF “SMARTER”
1. Try yoga. If you’re an experienced yogi, move on to the next option. If not, training your body to become comfortable in awkward positions is great for also training your brain.
2. Learn a musical instrument. Learning how to read music or honing your neuro-motor skills to strum a guitar or play piano are fantastic tools to sharpen your brain functioning.
3. Learn how to play Bridge. I know it sounds like a card game for older folks, but my parents (who are hip happenin’ people) are learning how to play it, and let me tell you, that ish is HARD. I seriously have trouble with it. Learning a skill like that will most definitely kick your head into gear.
4. Learn a new language. This really uses areas of the brain that sort of go on cruise control most of the time. Learning a new language, even just basic phrases, will stimulate those areas of the brain and keep it on its toes. (Metaphorically, of course. If your brain has toes see a doctor.)
5. Read! Reading keeps your brain moving. Even if you hate reading, just try. Pretend you’re into it and pretty soon you will be. Whether it’s a blog (hey, thanks for reading!), article, or novel, read away and you’ll find yourself not only sharper, but more knowledgeable from reading about so many cool things.
I hope this post made you all a little more appreciative of the super smart and amazing brain you’ve got and hopefully you’ll all be able to use it even more now!
I think I’ve personally experienced this phenomenon when I took up yoga. Have any of you guys seen it?