Proactive tips to keep your brain performing well.
2 Take two actual vacations each year reduce stress. You don’t have to spend 10 days abroad each time – just a long weekend will work. (In the meantime, take mini-vacations at work. A 2-minute daydreaming break at your desk could help relax, inspire, or motivate you.)
7 Somebody said we need seven hugs a day. Humans are social animals. We need positive physical contact with other humans. Contact with someone you’re comfortable hugging causes the brain to release endorphins. At the same time, the pressure of a hug stimulates nerve endings under the skin; they transmit calmer messages to the brain, which slows the release of cortisol. In other words, it’s a stress reliever.
10 It takes ten minutes of exercise to get your heart rate up enough to start burning fat. Anything goes – exercise is for your brain as well as your body! It boosts serotonin levels and makes you feel better. That “runner’s high” you’ve heard about? It isn’t just for runners! You can walk, swim, lift weights, dance, or climb a mountain. Any active movement that gets your blood pumping is good for you, and the boost of endorphins always makes you feel better.
35 At age 35, you should begin regular blood sugar screenings if you have the slightest suspicion you might be at risk of diabetes. Diabetes can lead to depression, and believe it or not, that’s not fun! (I know, surprising, isn’t it?)
39 If you just anticipate laughing – by talking with a funny friend, watching a comedy, or whatever – your production of cortisol (“THE” stress hormone) will ultimately drop by as much as 39%. And this is before you actually do the laughing! Oh, it also increases your endorphin levels. As long as he’s not too disruptive, there are benefits to having a “class clown” in a high-stress office.
80 The human brain is more than 80% water. If you consume a lot of caffeine or sodium, or if you live in a dry climate, you may be chronically dehydrated. Even moderate dehydration is unkind to the brain. Dehydration can look like dementia – and it’s been misdiagnosed that way! It has a negative effect on memory, ability to focus attention, and even the ability to do basic math in your head (like what time to set the alarm). This overall inability to think straight means the brain’s ability to regulate appropriate responses to stressors is probably compromised for most dehydrated people.
350 Just 350 mg of caffeine will limit your ability to focus on a specific task for any real length of time. The inability to get work done may cause as much irritability and edginess as the caffeine itself gets blamed for.
Till next time, remember: everything is always okay in the end, if it’s not, then it’s not the end.