So here we are entering another decade. I don’t know about the rest of you but this year in particular seems to have gone by fast. So as with many the start of the New Year brings about resolutions. I am not fond of the term resolutions, but I do like to see the start of the New Year as a way to develop new habits or steps of growth to add to what I currently do to keep healthy. Recently some information came from the Science of Prevention that I thought would be fun to share with all of you.
1. Juggling Improves the Brains Grey Matter. Honestly myself I have not ever learned the art of juggling (although have tried) but after reading the research maybe I think it is something I should explore further. A recent study reveals that juggling helps certain areas of the brain to grow. Juggling improved white matter in the brain involved with both visual and motor activity.They found that four weeks into the study that even the grey matter had increased in the brain. Grey matter is responsible for functions such as sensory perception, emotions, speech, decision making and self control.
2. Never go to bed without learning one new thing. Learning a variety of new things that are unrelated to what you normally do stimulates brain function and growth. Meet new people, draw, learn to dance, take up photography or possibly learn to play an instrument. Doing a skill that makes you slightly uncomfortable stretches your brain
Norman Doidge explains in his book “The brain that changes itself; stories of personal triumph from the frontiers of personal science” notes that certain activities such as playing board games or learning a musical instrument are associated with lower risk of dementia. Learning a new language increases the grey matter in the brain.
Learning at least one new thing not only improves your brain but helps you to focus by ignoring irrelevant information.
3. Take Sleep Seriously. When we do not sleep well our brain shrinks.Recent research shows that lack of sleep can affect areas of the brain where language, touch, balance and the ability to make mathematical decisions reside. Some studies have also shown that lack of sleep can cause protein build-up in the brain that can attack brain cells. Sleep is something I speak frequently to and if there is one lifestyle factor to make sure you are getting enough of it is sleep.
4. Be physically active and move. Increasing any kind of activity improves memory, motor skills and the ability to learn. For some winter can be challenging to get outside but there are so many great ways to move and connect with nature in the winter including skiing both downhill and cross country, snow shoeing, ice skating or just generally walking in the snow and listening to the sounds of nature.
5. Practice mindfulness. Now mindfulness is more than just a buzz word. Practicing regular meditation has shown to improve working memory, reduce stress, improve relationship satisfaction and decrease rumination. So take time each day to stop breathe and practice quieting the mind. Overtime you will reap numerous health benefits.
So as you begin 2020 and the start of a new decade and a New Year, I challenge you to look at adding one new practice that will increase your health and wellness.