Listen to “Invisible Risks: Daily Habits that Damage your Brain”.
The brain is the most vital organ in our body. However, most of us fail to give it the exercise, training and nutrition it needs to function well. Forming good habits and avoiding the bad ones will prevent brain damage and keep you happier and healthier for longer.
Here are just some of the surprising things that can damage your brain and how you can prevent them:
Eating processed and refined foods
Eating foods that are processed or contain refined/artificial sugars will inhibit your brain from sending you positive vibes.
Stay away from processed and refined foods and keep your diet as “whole” as possible to keep your brain happy. High intakes of fruit, vegetables, fish, and whole grains may lead to a reduced risk of developing depression.
You’ve likely heard that multitasking is bad for your productivity. It turns out it’s a habit that also rewires the brain and can make you far less effective.
Earl Miller, a neuroscientist at MIT and one of the world’s leading experts on divided attention, says that our brains are “not wired to multitask well… When people think they’re multitasking, they’re actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly. And every time they do, there’s a cognitive cost in doing so.”
Multitasking also increases the stress hormone cortisol and the fight-or-flight hormone adrenaline. These can overstimulate your brain and cause mental fog and scrambled thinking.
Obesity has adverse effects on all aspects of your health, including your heart and lung function. If you don’t exercise and eat a low-quality diet high in calories and processed foods, then your brain will also suffer.
Lack of Exercise
Exercise doesn’t just keep your body healthy, but it also strengthens your brain, heart and lungs.
Exercise makes you more flexible and increases your mobility. Without enough exercise, the brain’s power to process movement decreases, reducing both your stability and motor skills.
Studies have shown that exercise helps to keep us younger by releasing happy hormones called endorphins.
Listening to loud music
If you consistently blast your music too loudly, you can obviously damage your hearing. However, it’s not just your ears you should worry about. Hearing loss in older adults is also linked to brain problems such as Alzheimer’s and loss of brain tissue.
The World Health Organisation suggests a maximum volume of 85 decibels for headphones, especially if you’ll be listening to them for long, consecutive periods.
Limit the amount of time spent with your headphones in and get regular hearing check-ups to ensure you’re not causing any damage.
Not sleeping for long enough
Sleep deprivation leads to cognitive issues. Without enough sleep, certain brain cells die, and it will gradually become harder and harder for you to remember things.
Psychological issues can also crop up due to poor sleep or sleep disturbances. To combat this, make sure you get your daily dose of 7 hours of sleep per night.
The sheer amount of information we have to take in on a daily basis can be overwhelming. We have emails, social updates, notifications, phone calls, video conferences and many more. The constant stream of content takes a huge chunk out of our lives and, if it’s not managed properly, it can cause stress and overload.
To help your brain cope, you can use tools and settings to filter information throughout the day. Be proactive about how you consume media and prepare your brain to ignore unnecessary information.
When you organize your day with these principles in mind, you will begin to increase your brain’s efficiency significantly.
Try to find time for meditation, if only for a few minutes a day. To reduce the negative effects of information overload, the best times are in the morning or before going to sleep.