12 Steps To Set Yourself Up For Success – Why Brain Health Should Be A Priority

Written by: Dr. Petra Frese

Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

As the most complex organ, the brain is our control center. We take care of the rest of our body through exercise and regular medical check-ups. Brain health is immensely important. Your brain is in charge of your body, and you are in charge of taking care of your brain. Thanks to neuroplasticity, you can change and heal your brain. Below, find 12 practical steps to program your brain for success!

The brain is the most complex organ. It is our main control center. It is the control tower for our entire system, for our whole life. Many people get a haircut regularly and go to see a chiropractor, acupuncturist, primary physician, OBGYN, dermatologist, massage therapist, eye doctor, urologist, and dentist frequently. What about the brain check? Do you care for your brain as much as for your car?
Most people know about the importance of physical exercise. However, only about 20% of the American population exercises regularly. Are people aware of the importance of brain health? How many people actually take good care of their brains? Do you?

A few facts about the human brain

  • The human brain weighs about 3 lb.
  • It consists of about 60% of fat.
  • The human brain’s consistency is like soft butter.
  • The brain is not fully developed before the age of 25/27 years, especially the frontal lobe.
  • We have approximately 86 billion neurons and 1’000 trillion connections.
  • Information in the brain can travel at 268 miles per hour.
  • Our brain can generate 23 watts of electricity, which is enough to power a lightbulb.
  • Male brains are about 10% larger than female brains.
  • Gray matter receives, regulates, and processes information (men have more gray matter).
  • White matter facilitates communication between the gray matter areas and the body (women have more white matter).
  • We have approximately 60’000-70’000 thoughts per day.
  • 90% of our thoughts are repetitive.

The brain commands the body

As the main control center, the brain has high responsibilities and needs to be on top of things all the time. It is responsible for the organization and execution of all bodily functions. In other words, the brain commands the body. To be able to guide and control all functions accurately at all times, the brain needs to be taken good care of consistently. Building a solid foundation and maintaining a high standard is critical for a healthy and prosperous life. This is your responsibility. You are in charge of your brain. Your mind controls the brain, and the brain controls the body. If you do not take leadership, your brain will run on autopilot based on the previous programming. If the programs are to your liking – perfect. If not, you can and need to reprogram your mind and brain so that you can change your life according to your wishes and desires and, ideally, in alignment with your soul’s plan.

Why is brain health so important?

Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to change. Neuroplasticity, also known as neural plasticity, or brain plasticity, is the ability of the neural networks in the brain to change through growth and reorganization. It is when the brain is rewired to function in some way that differs from how it previously functioned.

Your brain can change and heal. Use the potential of your brain to recover from damage due to trauma, addiction, TBI (traumatic brain injury), unhealthy food choices, or sleep deprivation, just to name a few.

12 practical tips to improve and maintain your brain’s health

Please choose 3 out of the following 12 steps to start with. It is easier to develop 3 habit changes and integrate them before you add more. This way, the chances are higher that you create a rock-solid foundation of daily habits that support your brain. The final goal is to consistently focus on your brain’s health and make your brain-healthy choices your default.

  1. Love your brain. Do more of what is good for your brain, like eating healthy foods, mind games, positivity and laughter, sufficient and high-quality sleep, variety, curiosity, sociality
  2. Avoid harmful things to your brain. For example, avoid alcohol or drugs, malnutrition, traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by highly dangerous sports activities, sleep deprivation, monotony, negativity, and isolation.
  3. Rest and sleep. Sit in a darkened room, close your eyes, and rest for ten minutes after something you want to remember has happened. Resting improves both short-term and long-term memory. The quality of sleep is even more important than the quantity.
  4. Stimulating both hemispheres, e.g., place household items upside down, think of alternative uses for your household items, memorize new phone numbers, and make mnemonic phrases for your shopping list. Do non-dominant activities. Using your non-dominant hand, for example, stimulates the other half of your brain more than you usually do. For example, brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand.
  5. Make the ordinary the extraordinary, which means challenging your brain by behaving «unpredictably. » Your brain will process the new information, and you stimulate and train your brain.
  6. Maybe you take a shower in the dark, eat new foods, or choose a different chair than you normally would and observe how your perspective of yourself and the world may change.
  7. Tilt your head to the side and observe what you can see and did not see before. Discover the „hidden treasures.
  8. Roll down the windows while driving and take in new scents and sounds.
  9. Learn something new. Learn a new language, learn to sew, swim, fold origami, play an instrument, garden, or whatever you would like to explore. By learning something new, you keep forcing your brain to keep working instead of letting it freeze.
  10. Be creative. For many of us, the creative side of our brains does not get used as often in daily life. Arts and crafts are a great way to stimulate the creative side of our brains, and it is even better if you do it with friends and family.
  11. Engage in social interactions regularly. Interacting with others stimulates and trains our brain on many different levels, like listening, observing, and feeling emotions. Since we cannot predict what will be said or done next, we train our ability to adapt. By actively listening to what the other person is saying, you not only practice being an excellent conversational partner, you also train your brain to remember what is being said. When you observe other people while you are out and about, you can train your brain to observe four details about the people you meet, like items of clothing, and remember them later.
  12. Move your body. Go on a mindful swift walk. Use the entire body to support your brain’s health. Setting the intention to move and exercise for your brain health is just as important as the activity itself.
  13. Read, write, calculate. Expand your vocabulary and help your brain create new neuro-pathways. For example, reading aloud can increase the rate at which you remember what you have read later. By journaling, you can combine several healthy brain activities, such as making a list of things you are grateful for. Use pen and paper, which has been shown to improve your memory. Recall details from your day. Make associations between things that happened and smells, feelings, and people.
  14. A brain-healthy diet. Your brain needs proper fuel in order to do its work. Therefore, a brain-healthy diet is crucial for your entire well-being and success. Your brain needs healthy fats. Unfortunately, many American brains are starving for fat. Ensure that your diet contains enough fresh produce, healthy protein sources, and healthy fats like fish oil or MCT oil. Balance is key to a brain-healthy diet!
  15. Breathe consciously. Our breath is one of the most important and effective tools we have for managing our brains. Your breath is the conductor of the symphony of your body and life. Your brain needs the right balance between O2 and CO2. When you control your breath, you can control your brain. As an example, the so-called box breathing helps you increase focus.

Inhale to the count of four, hold to the count of four, exhale to the count of four, and hold to four. Repeat this ten times and notice how you feel. I am assuming you feel calmer and more focused and ready to tackle whatever you get done today and aspire to achieve in the grand scheme of your life.

How to program your brain for success?

Love your brain and use the great potential of your mind.

Assuming that you have established a brain-healthy lifestyle and maintain and nurture these habits, you can use the power of your mind to guide your brain to achieve what you desire. My clients discover this all the time in my practice, and it is beautiful to watch. The brain is your most loyal “employee.” With clear guidance, your brain commands your body, your feelings, and your actions precisely in the direction you require.

Reprogramming your thinking can redirect the course of your entire life and happiness. Remember, we think approximately 60’000-70’000 thoughts per day. 90% of our thoughts are repetitive. Initially, you need to consciously change your thought pattern, and then your brain will, over time, automatically repeat your new thoughts. I am happy to guide you through this process, so feel free to contact me if you are interested in starting the journey. So, you will be able to reprogram your thoughts and beliefs, and you are paving the path to your success.

Don’t listen to your brain. Make your brain listen to you!