In this day and age, we are beginning to move down a very conscious path in regard to overall health. With information available at our fingertips and tons of research papers to read through, your average Joe knows more about what is going on inside his body than ever before!
One region of health that is getting a lot of attention in particular is brain health. We know that brain health and physical health go hand in hand, so using methods that improve physical help also tends to improve mental health. If we are healthy, we are typically happier.
While focusing on bodily health is essential for longevity, using some of that focus on your brain’s health can be just as essential. In this article, we will be looking at a few natural methods that can help you improve your brain health! Let’s get started.
Get in touch with Nature: How Nature heals
By now, most of us are aware of the benefits of spending time in nature. Different areas of nature (for example, water, mountains, woodland, etc) offer different well-being benefits. However, we will be using woodland as our example in this article. The forest is a great place to go to help improve brain health. Being in the forest can help to reduce stress, increase alertness and improve cognitive function. Being in the forest is also beneficial for mental health, as it can help to boost serotonin levels, positively affecting one’s mood.
The fresh air in the forest is beneficial to both the body and mind. The oxygen in the air can help to improve cognitive function and reduce stress. The sound of nature, such as birds chirping and the wind rustling through the trees can help to put the mind at ease, relaxing the nervous system.
Did you know that being around the colour green can also help to boost serotonin levels? The brain taking in outer signals of the colour green will provide a soothing effect and can help to improve mood. Being around trees and plants can also help to increase endorphins, which can help to improve well-being.
The next time you are feeling low and are in need of a mental boost-head for the woods! You won’t regret it.
Reconnect with yourself through critical thinking and reflection: The power of journaling
Journaling is a great way to help improve brain health. Writing down your thoughts, feelings and experiences can help to reduce stress, process emotions and boost cognitive function. Writing can help to organize thoughts and create clarity. This can lead to improved decision-making.
Not only can journaling improve your mood, but it also improves the physical health of the brain. When we write, all parts of the brain are actively engaged, according to studies. This can improve cognitive function and neuroplasticity in the brain. Two things that are essential for promoting longevity. Additionally, slowing down your thoughts to write and thinking critically before writing your thought(s) on paper is a great exercise for the brain.
Thinking about the way that we think is an effective mindfulness and mind-expansion practice.
Journaling has also been proven to improve memory and many other areas of the brain that need to thrive in order to reduce factors and chances of brain diseases later on in life. Using your hand to hold a pen and practise neat writing has also been demonstrated to improve motor skills, which are the result of neural firing in the brain.
Bonus points if you practice using your non-dominant hand every once in a while! This is a fantastic brain training exercise.
A clear space = a clear head space
Keeping a clean and tidy home can be beneficial for one’s brain health. Clutter can be overwhelming and can lead to increased stress levels, which is not good for a happy and healthy brain. If you are feeling stressed, maybe it is time to stop and take a look around you. Is your space in order? Does your space translate into how your mental space is? Do you hold onto unnecessary clutter?
If you do not have physical space around you, you will not have mental space to think. It may sound cliché, but it is true! When there is less clutter in the space, easier it is to concentrate on tasks. Keeping a clean home can also help to improve your mood and help you feel accomplished and on top of things. Studies have shown that being surrounded by a clean and organized space can help to increase endorphins, which can have a positive effect on mood!
If your home is not a good reflection of how you want your headspace to be, it may be time for a change!
Move your body: Movement is medicine!
Exercise has been proven to be an effective tool in improving brain health since day one. Regular physical activity helps to increase the flow of oxygen to the brain, which can help to improve cognitive function. Exercise has been shown to help reduce stress, improve mood, and increase focus, all of which are beneficial to brain health. Moving your body regularly can also help to improve memory, concentration and attention span.
Exercising has been found to increase the production of a protein in the brain called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which helps to promote the growth of new neurons. This can lead to improved learning and memory. Exercise also helps to improve the connections between neurons, leading to better communication between brain cells.
The more we look into the positive effects that movement has on brain health, the more we find. Many neurologists claim that the #1 most effective practice you can partake in for improving brain health is exercise!
Magic mushroom medicine: A gift from Nature
Microdosing is the act of ingesting tiny doses of psychedelics, typically LSD (Lysergamide) or Psilocybin (magic mushrooms). If you are looking to keep your methods ‘natural’, then we can suggest using Psilocybin, found in magic mushrooms and magic truffles, for your microdoses.
One of the main reasons why individuals choose to microdose is the brain-boosting benefits that follow the practice. Not only can microdosing can help to reduce stress/anxiety, but it can also help with improving brain health. More specifically, many believe that microdosing increases cognitive function. Cognition is the ability to learn, solve problems, recover memories and appropriately use stored information. This is a key brain function that declines as we age, making it a very important asset in need of protecting and prolonging. Taking other cognitive-improving medicinal mushrooms alongside your microdoses, such as lion’s mane mushroom, can enhance these benefits! Additionally, matching your doses/supplements with other brain health practices, such as yoga and/or meditation, can also widely improve your brain health, which leads us to our next point…
Meditation: Hygein for the brain
Meditation has been linked to numerous benefits for the brain, including improved mental clarity, enhanced memory and concentration. Practising meditation on a regular basis can also help to reduce stress and increase overall brain health. Remarkably, studies have shown that regular meditation can increase the size of certain areas of the brain associated with memory, learning and emotional regulation! Yes, you read that correctly. Meditating can quite literally make some parts of your brain grow. Taking ‘expanding the mind’ to a whole new level!
Meditation can also reduce stress, which is a major contributor to poor brain health. By decreasing levels of the stress hormone cortisol, meditation can help to improve cognitive function and reduce feelings of anxiety. Additionally, meditation can help to increase the production of endorphins, which can help to improve mood and reduce stress.
Moreso, meditation can help to improve the way the brain processes information. By increasing the connectivity between different areas of the brain, meditation can help to improve communication between different neural networks, leading to improved mental clarity and focus. This can help to improve problem-solving and decision-making skills. Paring meditation with yoga is a great way to increase the benefit.
Finally, meditation can help to improve the overall health of the brain by increasing oxygen flow to the brain. This can help to improve blood flow and reduce inflammation, which can help to reduce the risk of age-related cognitive decline and other conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Make sure you try to meditate daily, even if it is only for 3 minutes a day! Remember: meditating for 3 minutes a day is better than not meditating at all.
The best way to promote longevity is to practice a cocktail of methods instead of navigating all of your focus onto one method. We are part of nature and nature thrives with diversity!