If you are anything like me, you’ll always be amazed by the latest developments in technology. We can barely wait to get our hands on the latest “upgrade”! But we have barely left the dealership and it has already declined in value…..”Because already there is a new development yet again”…..
When are we going to recognize our own “awesomeness” and start looking after ourselves with the enthusiasm it deserves? The brain is the most extraordinary and complex object in the known universe! There is no computer that is even a close match to our brains.
This 1.5 kilogram (3.3 pounds) of soft tissue is responsible for our reasoning, thought, emotions and movements.
It is absolutely devastating though when we see how the brain degenerates when people fall victim to conditions such as Alzheimer’s.
Yet, I still have some good news! A healthy lifestyle is quite a regular and popular topic of discussion these days. It is good to know that healthy lifestyle choices are not only good for the body, but also for the brain!
Mental Health Needs Physical Activity.
We all know that physical activity is good for the body. But did you know that physical activity is also good for the brain? The brain and the body are constantly in communication. Physical activity cause muscles to release molecules that reach the brain and also increase blood circulation to the brain. This process cause new brain cells to form. Living a physically active lifestyle helps to protect us against conditions such as Alzheimer’s and other similar diseases. It also helps to prevent conditions such as depression and other brain disorders.
We Need To Get Quality Sleep.
Getting enough sleep is not where it ends. We need to get quality sleep. Our sleep patterns consist of 4 stages, and we need to reach stages 3 and 4 in order to get quality sleep. Being awake, the body is in a mode of “breaking down”. It is only when we reach stages 3 and 4 of our sleeping patterns, when the building (or recovery) process starts taking place. This is called the anabolic state.
On a physical level, this is actually when you benefit from that workout you had in the gym and when growth takes place. In the same fashion, the brain also benefits from this. It has also been proven scientifically, that by having a morning workout in the gym, leads to better sleep patterns at night.
Some effects due to a lack of quality sleep:
- Lack of quality sleep can lead to lower alertness and concentration, making it difficult to pay attention, yet easy to get confused.
- Lack of quality sleep impairs memory. Research shows that the nerve connections that make our memories are strengthened while we sleep. “If you’re not able to concentrate on what’s at hand, it’s not going to make it into your short-term memory and then long-term memory,” says Allison T. Siebern, PhD, a Fellow in the Insomnia and Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at the Stanford University Sleep Medicine Centre.
- Lack of quality sleep makes learning difficult because you can’t focus as well, so you can’t learn efficiently.
- Lack of quality sleep also causes irritability and anger, and makes it difficult to cope with stress. If these issues are not dealt with, it can lead to a way of life.
We Need To Be Mentally Active.
There are two rules which appear to be of cardinal importance for optimum brain functioning, and they are:
- “use it or lose it” and
- “Neurons that fire together wire together”.
Along with physical activity, mental awareness can help to “build in” a brain reserve and compensate for brain aging.
It is always a good idea to find activities that will be mentally stimulating, that you can take part in and enjoy, not only for the short term, but for years to come.
We Need A Healthy Diet.
Yes, we all know it. A healthy diet is good for the body, but a good, healthy and nutritious diet is also good for the brain.
Most nutrients circulate through your brain via the blood stream. This directly improve the health of brain cells and may even slow down brain aging.
The brain will also greatly benefit from body health via the heart and cardiovascular system, immune system and other physiological systems.
Our bodies are not designed to constantly be under stress. Our modern lifestyles often lead to constant stress, rushing from one meeting to the next, meeting deadlines etc. This can literally be toxic for the body.
There are many relaxation techniques being taught today, and even a good exercise program might be a good channel for getting rid of your stress levels.
Mental health is much more than just the absence of mental illness. A state of well-being is to be able to cope with the stresses of life, work and study. It is being effective in making a contribution to your family and to society.
It has lot in common with physical fitness, as needs some effort every day!
I found 6 great tips that you can apply everyday for keeping mentally healthy – you can see them here!
Leave a comment below and tell me what you are doing to maintain mental health!