Why clearer think­ing is al­ways the start to bet­ter brain health

Great Health Guide - - CONTENTS - Dr Jenny Brockis

IF your head some­times feels as if it is stuffed with cot­ton wool, re­dis­cover that bet­ter brain health and clearer think­ing are very closely re­lated. ‘I just can’t think’, is the new catch-cry when our ca­pac­ity to man­age all those com­pet­ing thoughts has reached crit­i­cal mass and the brain’s pres­sure re­lease valve kicks in, shut­ting down ac­cess to the pre­frontal cor­tex and your abil­ity to think well.


Too much in­put sti­fles think­ing, blur­ring the lines be­tween what’s im­por­tant and what’s not. We’re not de­signed to op­er­ate 24/7 and when run­ning on empty it’s harder to find the mo­ti­va­tion to get to the gym, to cook a meal from scratch or even to go to bed ear­lier.

It’s a para­dox that our brain’s re­sponse to the bur­den of our men­tal load is the loss of those life­style choices that would help the most.


Re­cent re­search has re­vealed our mem­ory ca­pac­ity to be x10 greater than pre­vi­ously thought; the equiv­a­lent of one petabyte, the same as the World Wide Web. Stor­age is not an is­sue.

All this cere­bral ac­tiv­ity re­quires a lot of en­ergy and our brain con­sumes a dis­pro­por­tion­ate 20% of all the body’s en­ergy in­put, with con­scious thought us­ing a whop­ping 80% of our men­tal juice.


Bet­ter brain health pro­vides the foun­da­tion to smarter think­ing by el­e­vat­ing an aware­ness of how our brain can work against us and to eval­u­ate which of those non-ne­go­tiables i.e. sleep, ex­er­cise, nu­tri­tion and stress man­age­ment re­quire your most ur­gent at­ten­tion. Bet­ter brain health and clearer think­ing is vi­tal, so here are five changes to adopt:

1. Your daily ap­point­ment with you.

Tak­ing 10-15 min­utes out of your busy day to press pause and de­ter­mine your top three pri­or­i­ties helps to al­le­vi­ate the stress of, ‘it’s all too much’.

Be­fore bed write down what needs to be done to­mor­row be­fore you go to sleep, to en­able your sub­con­scious to start sort­ing those items overnight. You’ll sleep bet­ter and be bet­ter pre­pared for your day.

2. Give your brain a break.

Sched­ul­ing in short breaks across your day pro­vides the per­fect men­tal recharge. That’s the time to stop think­ing, grab a cuppa, go for a walk or me­an­der off for a lit­tle day­dream.

When re­ally tired, a 20-minute pow­er­nap after lunch is the per­fect cog­ni­tive

re­fresher, im­prov­ing your abil­ity to stay alert and at­ten­tive. Even if you only doze, the ben­e­fits are the same. Sleep is a must to con­sol­i­date mem­ory, im­prove re­call, reg­u­late emo­tion and keeps the brain clean.

3. Tune out reg­u­larly.

Work­ing too hard and stay­ing on-line for too long is detri­men­tal to mood, pro­duc­tiv­ity and your abil­ity to switch off. Try a dig­i­tal detox to re­duce stress and cor­ti­sol lev­els and el­e­vate your mood and over­all hap­pi­ness.

Be mind­ful to what is hap­pen­ing around you with­out the bur­den of fu­ture plan­ning or wor­ry­ing about the past us­ing a mind­ful­ness med­i­ta­tion prac­tice or three slow breaths to in­duce a feel­ing of calm, con­fi­dence and well­be­ing.

4. Recharge your re­new­able en­ergy re­sources.

Ex­er­cise is the primer for higher men­tal per­for­mance. What­ever your pref­er­ence, it’s time to move more and boost your at­ten­tion, mood and mem­ory.

5. Bet­ter brain health & clearer think­ing through food choices.

We are what we eat which is why choos­ing healthy op­tions as found in the Mediter­ranean diet pro­vides the cog­ni­tive stamina to power you through your day. A more re­li­able mem­ory and get­ting more out of your life be­gins with clearer think­ing and bet­ter brain health, be­cause your cog­ni­tion de­pends on how well you think, learn and re­mem­ber.

Dr Jenny Brockis is a Med­i­cal Prac­ti­tioner and spe­cialises in the sci­ence of high per­for­mance think­ing. Jenny’s ap­proach to over­com­ing life’s chal­lenges is based on prac­ti­cal neu­ro­science which en­ables peo­ple to un­der­stand their thoughts and ac­tions lead­ing to ef­fec­tive be­havioural change. Jenny is the au­thor of ‘Fu­ture Brain - the 12 Keys to Cre­ate Your High-Per­for­mance Brain’ and may be con­tacted via her web­site.

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