Hello There Beautiful Mindful Tribe!
If you have been reading MLN for a while now you will know that I love simple practices that bring more peace and less stress into our lives. I just got back from an amazing gathering in NYC and I am sooo excited to share with you 15 brain hacks I learned from Emiliya Zhivotovskaya, a leader in the field of positive psychology. These hacks are simple ways anyone can do to maintain good brain health and also help us move from the reptilian brain which continues to freak us out with the fight-or-flight response (danger!! anxiety!!), into the relaxation response where we can see through a wider, clearer lens (ahhh… it’s all ok).
Guess what her first hack was? Mindfulness of course. Bringing your awareness to the present moment on purpose. If we want to feel good, we have to be here. Living in the future brings anxiety and hanging out in the past brings depression. If you are going to drink that cup of tea or wine, might as well be here for it and savour every little bit. Or, when you have that meal tonight really BE there for it. Sounds simple doesn’t it? Try it and let me know how it goes. So there you go… more motivation to continue with your mindfulness practice.
I will list the rest of the brain hacks here which are now known to build healthier brains. We know that stress actually impairs the brain, so use these practices to bring you from the stress brain to the other side, resulting in a more relaxed, open and aware you!
- Eat good fats like Omega 3’s
- Avoid trans fats- remember them? They clog up your brain system
- Move every 20 minutes
- Eat your veggies- especially the green ones. Feed the good guys
- Avoid the sugars- breeds the bad guys
- Practice belly breathing- you gotta get this one right: breathe into your belly and extend the exhale. Repeat.
- Stay physically active- whatever that means to you, keep doing it no matter your age
- Complete the stress cycle- shake or move when you have undergone a stressful event- like an animal after it has been chased, always shakes out the stress chemicals
- Balance- try balancing on one foot or in a yoga ‘tree’ pose. It helps the balance part of the brain that is often forgotten.
- Do 7 mins: Procrastination or Intuition? If you are procrastinating on something, focus on it for 7 minutes and see how it feels in your body. Is it pure procrastination, or is your intuition telling you it’s not right for you, right now, or ever? Use your body as your guide…
- Practice Relaxation- put the brakes on after the gas!
- Sleep- this cannot be underestimated. Research shows too little sleep leads to many physical and mental health problems. Researchers say: sleep when you are tired, get up when you’re not!
- Set Primers
- Savour the positive- the negative is getting more air time than the positive. Reverse that by focusing on what is already good, what you are grateful for.
There you have it. If you really want brain health these are the things we can actually do ourselves… after all, it’s our brain.
Did you read that whole post? Then I think you like this stuff…come out and practice it at a new class I will be offering at Namaste Yoga Studio on Wednesday mornings from 8:30-9:15am starting September 28th called “Morning Mindfulness”. Drop-in fee is $15. It is a combination of mindfulness practice, positive psychology and discussion. There might be some mild stretching, but feel free to wear your work clothes to start the day off feeling grounded, centred and ready to take it on.