Your brain is the command center for every aspect of your life. The brain maintains the whole body in an optimal state relative to the environment in order to maximize the chances of a healthy life physically, mentally, and emotionally; yet in holistic health writings (including mine) it receives the least attention of all human functions. The brain guides and directs all activities of the body, mind (cognition ), perception, and emotional experience. It sorely needs some attention in order to do its job. A heathy brain can aid in the restoration of broken physiological processes, and has a central role in helping you create a more fulfilling existence through how you perceive the environment, the activities of your life, and through the way you process your emotions.
Step One, in caring for your brain is to feed it what it likes; and avoid feeding it what it does not like. It likes vitamin rich foods found in produce. It is particularly fond of the B vitamins. Since the fuel that it actually runs on is carbohydrates, it needs some complex carbohydrates. I know this sounds like really good news to those of us who love pasta and pastries, but too much of a good thing is never really a good thing. (There is actually no proof that the brain likes jelly fish nor anything found in jelly fish.)
Another fact is that the use of alcohol actually shrinks the brain. So lay off the booze for optimal brain functioning. And, as much as culture, politicians, and big corporations want us all to ignore decades-old research, marijuana use is also associated with decreased brain size. And, yes, “size does matter.” Looks like my ultra-conservative parents were right on these points. (However, I still doubt that I’ll go to hell for dancing.)
Step Two is to Move! (Maybe even dance.) Your brain likes aerobic exercise. So, get your heart pumping and your muscles moving as much as possible. Your brain will increase in size and function.
Step Three is to feed your brain the Information that it needs. The brain processes vast amounts of information. Too vast to be processed consciously; however, the brain does process, register, and store information on an unconscious level. This unconscious information is still directing the brain’s actions, therefore unconscious information is directing the actions of the body and emotions. That is one of many reasons why meditation is growing exponentially in popularity. It reaches the unconscious level of brain programming, so that you can reprogram any misinformation you might have taken in and stored up. Essentially letting your body, mind and emotions know that you have a lot more power than the manipulators in our culture want you to believe, and that there is really nothing to fear. With this information on your subconscious level your mind and body will relax, your blood pressure will stabilize, along with numerous other health and well-being benefits. Repeating to yourself affirmations of your worth, personal power, and well-being is also a powerful tool in programing the brain.
Some other facts that are helpful to know about the brain include the fact that aging in and of itself does not cause brain cells to “die.” You can kill cells from alcohol and other drug use, but not from just aging, eating healthfully, and exercising. Another interesting fact is that the claim, “we only use 10% of our brains” is absolutely false. We use the whole brain. Just make sure you are doing all you can to make it a healthy whole brain.
I am glad to report that the brain can regenerate. I have put mine to the test, to the extreme. The last neurosurgeon to take an up-close look at my actual exposed brain stated categorically that my brain was shot-through with rocks and bones (the tragic result of a very massive landslide in which my brain was trying to stop a boulder the size of a sofa); and that nothing could be done to fish those rock and bone fragments out. My response was to take a few days off from straining my brain (in a coma), then take an IQ test a few weeks later qualifying me for Mensa; then eventually getting a Ph.D. I do believe the brain is able to regenerate. To prove the brain’s regenerating capacity for yourself I highly recommend NOT trying to stop a boulder with your head, as I did. Instead, research has shown that learning new skills and new information helps your brain cells grow and regenerate. Do that.
May you always have the best possible life and the healthiest possible brain!
Christopher Knippers, Ph.D., 11/20/2019
Recommended Reading on the Brain: The Human Brain Book (Carter, R. Et al., 2019, New York, DK Publishing)