Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Put Your Mind to It; So You Eat Well and Exercise to Keep Your Body in Shape, but You Must Not Forget That Most Vital Organ. DR JENNY BROCKIS Shares Some Tips from Her New Book, Future Brain

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Put Your Mind to It; So You Eat Well and Exercise to Keep Your Body in Shape, but You Must Not Forget That Most Vital Organ. DR JENNY BROCKIS Shares Some Tips from Her New Book, Future Brain

Article excerpt

Byline: Dr Jenny Brock

1 NUTRITION OUR brain is an energy hog that consumes 20% of all the energy we put into our body. There is no single best diet or food. It's about including a wide variety of fresh, unprocessed foods, vegetables and fruits, lean protein (including three portions of oily fish a week), seeds, nuts and wholegrains.

Water is essential. Even 1% dehydration is associated with fuzzy thinking, so keep fluid intake up with six to eight glasses a day.

2EXERCISE ENHANCING the blood flow to the brain, exercise leads to reduced brain shrinkage and increased neurogenesis and plasticity, so your work performance stays top-notch.

It provides improved cognition, learning and memory, improves mood and self-esteem and reduces stress and the risk of anxiety and depression, as well as heart and circulatory health.

A 30-minute plus session of aerobic exercise five times a week is ideal.

3SLEEP SLEEP allows for neurone repair and maintenance and brings mood regulation.

It allows us to forget the irrelevant, because we don't need to remember everything forever; sleeping is the time we break those synaptic connections no longer required.

Generally, we need between seven and eight hours of uninterrupted sleep for maximum restorative and rejuvenating benefit.

4 MENTAL STRETCH NEUROPLASTICITY is the brain's ability to form new connections between existing neurons. The more curious we remain, the more we stimulate our brain plasticity.

Start with one small change at a time. If you've always wanted to learn an instrument or paint, it's time to sign up to a class.

Make a daily habit: do a cryptic crossword, learn three new words and their meanings, read a book in a different genre. Ditch the props and leave behind that list of items.

5FOCUS WE cannot multitask. Not if we are female, not if we are young. Not at all. Instead, do one thing at a time, give it your full and undivided attention and do it well. Regaining our attention and managing distractions is possible because we can exercise our attention just like a muscle.

Pick a quiet place to allow your brain to think in a less stressed state, prioritise the following day's work, fight to get three top priorities done every day and unplug regularly.

6MINDSET THE attitude we form in childhood will stick with us - and, if it's less than stellar, we have to make a conscious choice to change it. Attitude is always a choice. You can change it.

Listen to your thoughts or voice when you respond to a challenge. With a growth mindset, you may be grateful that spilling that coffee didn't damage your laptop.

You don't have to buy into the negative. You can "flip" to look at things differently when you choose to.

7 HEALTHY STRESS IT'S not the amount or severity of the stress that harms us; it's our belief in whether or not we will sustain harm from the stress. …

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