As college students, we often find ourselves surrounded with a lot of commitments – work, school, family, organizations, and the list goes on and on. We overbook our lives to such an extent that we forget about ourselves up until we get sick or burned out. more importantly, our awesome and super-smart brain starts to degrade.
While we think we can function perfectly by this method of living and manage the chaos, we often forget that there is a better and healthier way to do this. One of the several ways is through brain maintenance.
There are four major aspects of Brain Maintenance…
Nutrition is a major factor of body and brain management. As college students, a pizza at 4 am during an all-nighter and 1 meal a day routine might seem feasible but it is not healthy for the brain. The recommended meals in a day run from 3 timely big meals a day to 6 small meals spread out throughout the day. It is also recommended to have a high glucose intake levels as it is a major fuel source for brain activity. Antioxidants in foods such as broccoli, potatoes, leafy vegetables, fruits, and nuts are also highly recommended as they detoxify the brain and aid in better function.
Stress affects brain activity in a drastic way. With several commitments in our lives, we usually stress about everything which can damage the brain. Excessive stress causes prolonged release of hormones that can block neuronal activity which limits mental activity and our abilities to think and memorize. Stress management is a huge part of brain management. Some of the strategies of good stress management include time management, socialize, meditation, relaxation, exercise, and self empowerment to name a fe
Exercise is another essential component of brain maintenance. With the excessive commitments, we are often left with little or no time for physical exercise. Our fast paced and yet sedentary life are harmful for our brain. Physical exercise increases the blood flow to our brain which helps in creating new nerve connections and a smarter brain. Studies have shown that physical exercise leads to increase in the grey and white matter in the brain in turn increasing cognitive performance. Physical activity ranges from walking and jogging to sprinting and running. Aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, everyday has shown a positive impact on brain performance. Simple things like walking to class and between classes, or doing some aerobic exercise during lunch breaks can help achieve these goals as well.
Another aspect of a healthy brain is healthy mental stimulus. Along with our body, our brains need exercise too. Research has shown that training our brain and challenging it constantly helps delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and prevent nervous damage. A good mental exercise includes Variety, Challenge and Novelty. A mental exercise should have a lot of variety just like physical exercise. Different exercises should help train different aspects and areas of the brain. An exercise should always have an increasing level of challenge so that it does not become routine or too easy. Novelty refers to new activities that challenge new areas of the brain that have never been tested before. As college students, this is aspect of brain health is easy to achieve as we endure new information everyday. However, a positive and stress free attitude is required for it to make a positive impact on brain health.
Thus, To summarize –
HEALTHY YOU = Healthy Grain + Healthy Strain + Healthy Gain + Healthy Brain