8 Daily Habits to Look After Your Head

Scientific research tells us that specific lifestyles and actions can, no matter our age, improve the health and level of functioning of our brains. It tells us that a brain-healthy lifestyle should include balanced nutrition, stress management, physical exercise, and these 10 daily habits…

1. Set a daily goal (to improve creativity and success)

Your brain relies on you setting challenges for yourself. Speak to any successful person and they’ll tell you that they “think” success all the time. This proves beneficial for brain health as the subconscious stays continually engaged as it tries to find creative solutions to a goal. Write your goal (or goals) down at the beginning of the day and set yourself a deadline. This will jumpstart your creativity and motivate your brain into action.

2. Be social (to keep your brain sharp)

Countless studies have shown that maintaining rich, meaningful relationships and social interaction is a key ingredient in the recipe for cognitive sharpness. In primates and other animals, the size of the brain has been correlated with the size of the social groups the animals typically form.

3. Meditate (to enhance concentration and psychological wellbeing)

Evidence shows that people who participate in mindfulness meditation programs have less anxiety, depression and pain. The practice appears to have an amazing variety of neurological benefits, from changes in grey matter volume to reduced activity in the “me” centres of the brain, to enhanced connectivity between brain regions. This in turn leads to better concentration, improved attention and overall healthier psychological wellbeing.

4. Move around every 15 minutes (to check posture and avoid eyestrain)

Many of us spend a great deal of the day sitting in front of the computer screen. Getting up every 15 minutes not only prevents you from getting stiff muscles or worse health problems associated with prolonged sitting, it also gives you a chance to check your posture and avoid eyestrain and headaches.

5. Learn something new (to improve memory)

Adults who regularly challenge their minds and stay mentally active throughout life have healthier brains and are less likely to develop dementia. Mental activity should be complex and varied – a mix of puzzles, crosswords, brain teasers, spot the difference, riddles, spatial rotation and quizzes. Learning a second language is also proven to improve intelligence, memory and concentration while lowering the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

6. Perform aerobic exercise (to improve brain function)

Aerobic activity has positive effects on brain structure and function – an example being in the generation of neurons in the hippocampus (a brain structure important in learning). Studies tell us that a daily long-distance run promotes neurogenesis and that sustained aerobic exercise provides increases in immediate and delayed memory performance.

7. Eat brain foods (to improve brain health)

We all know that eating healthy food is important, but did you know that some foods are directly connected with improved brain health? Foods to boost your brainpower include: whole grains, oily fish, tomatoes, blueberries, eggs, leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, sage and olives. If your diet is unbalanced for whatever reason, you may want to consider a daily multivitamin and mineral complex, as well as an omega-3 fatty acid supplement to help make up a few of the essentials.

8. Take a walk outdoors (to feel happier)

Spending time in ‘green or blue spaces’, such as parks, beaches and bushland, can promote health and wellbeing. Exposure to nature makes people happy, and researchers at the University of Exeter found that people who live in areas with more green space have higher scores on the GHQ scale, a standard clinical tool for measuring anxiety and depression.

All information presented on the Herron website is meant for general knowledge and never meant as a diagnosis of prescription. Please always contact your doctor for health related matters.