"Why do you focus on brain health?", people sometimes ask me. And I tell them, "Your brain is important, it has to last you the rest of your life."
Since that is the case, we should take good care of our brains. We want to keep our brains to be in optimal health.
I have a personal stake in this. I have a gene called Apo E4 that puts me at 50% risk of developing Alzheimer's dementia over the course of my life if I don't take good care of my brain. Let me repeat, a 50% risk.
I'm now studying and practicing brain health to prevent dementia for myself. And I realized this knowledge could help so many other people. My mission is to prevent, stabilize and reverse cognitive decline.
But there are many things that can derail people from prioritizing brain health.
Our diet may not be optimal for brain health .
We may not be getting enough activity or exercise.
We may not be getting enough sleep or restful sleep.
But stress is a very common factor that can contribute significantly to decline in brain health.
I want to focus on stress in this blog because I have seen a significant spike in stress over the past year. Many people have developed bad habits such as eating more comfort food which contributes to weight gain, watching too much news, not getting enough sleep, and not exercising as much due to gym and fitness studio closures.
I believe NOW is the time to regroup and focus on our overall health and self care.
So, what can we do about stress?
Well, quite a bit actually. Here are five great ideas to help lower stress:
- Start a meditation practice. There are many apps out there for that. I had been unsuccessful at starting a meditation practice for 65 years. But I found a meditation app that works for me and now I meditate daily in the morning. I find it extremely refreshing. Studies show that meditation alters brain chemistry and brain waves in a healthy way.
- Take a yoga or Tai chi class. They might have to be online right now but the movement and focus are beneficial for both your body and your brain.
- Read a good book.
- Start a new hobby that engages your brain and keeps you focused.
- Schedule some self care into everyday. Take a walk. Take a bath. Go for a massage.
Do any or all of these. If one does not work for you, try something else. Eating better, sleeping better, managing stress, and being more active all sound so simple so most people do not give them the priority they deserve. But those simple steps can have a huge impact and are the foundation to improving the health of our brain. If we choose not to do those things, it will be harder to keep our brains healthy and in optimal shape.
Stay tuned for more information on brain health as Princeton Integrative Health rolls out our Functional Brain Health program in the coming weeks and months. Or call us at 609.512.1468 to schedule a free Health Strategy Session to receive more information on ways to improve brain health or reversing cognitive decline.