Wise Up! Simple Strategies to Re-Model, Re-Fire and Re-Gain Your Brain

Article excerpt

For years, people have believed that we are born with a certain number of brain cells and that those brain cells die off as we age, with no hope of ever getting them back. Today, scientists are proving that not only can we generate new brain cells but we can also branch them out and make new pathways in our thought and learning processes. What does this mean to the average person? That anyone at any age can continue to build brain strength, and that being mentally "sharp" isn't something reserved for the young anymore.

The act of building brain power is called "neurobics." And just like the name implies, it's all about doing aerobics for your brain. Fortunately, these types of aerobic workouts don't involve 6:00am gym sessions or buying workout gear. Neurobics is something anyone can do anywhere in just minutes a day. Consider making the following neurobics principles a part of your daily routine to help your brain branch out.

Act Happy

Method acting is an acting technique in which actors try to replicate real life emotional conditions under which the character operates, in an effort to create a life-like, realistic performance. Whether you are an actor or not, everyone's life is a stage play. So bring a bit of the theatre onto the stage of your daily life and purposefully act happy ... get your brain's ACT together.

Method actors who play happy roles have a chemistry that keeps them more active and more involved in life. Scientifically, acting happy has a chemistry that is measurable with such things as T-cells, gamma globulins, serotonins, endorphins, melatonin and cortisol, just to name a few. We can even do a PET scan of the brain and see what the emotional map of the brain looks like, because there is a physiology that goes with the emotions. That means we can actually see what anger, sadness and even happiness looks like. Even more important, acting happy, whether through deep belly laughter or a simple smile, activates positive chemicals in the brain that keep us alert and physically healthy. So act happy in order to keep your brain more alive and functional.

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Sharpen Your Senses

In our modern society, with our technological breakthroughs, we have lost so much of our senses. For example, when you go to the grocery store, you don't feel your food anymore. You don't smell the meat. You don't feel the grains. Everything is boxed and wrapped and covered. Such modern conveniences dull our senses, which shrink and age our brains. Therefore, doing simple exercises can help refresh your senses and keep your memory strong. Here are few suggestions:

* Brush your teeth with the opposite hand

* Sit at a new place at the dinner table

* Eat a new food--differentiate and identify the spices

* Get dressed with your eyes closed or in the dark

* Wear earplugs around the house for an hour

* Sit outside with your eyes closed and identify sounds and smells

* Balance on one foot, and then on the other foot, while doing a task

* Play a card game with friends

* Read out loud and listen to someone else read

* Look and stand up while saying the word "down" and visa versa

* Take a new route to work or some other usual location

* Try to guess the denomination of coins by simply feeling them

* Welcome new, novel and challenging encounters

While these activities may seem simple or even silly, they actually help your brain make new pathways. …