What can we do to protect your mental health while living everyday life? What if we told you the answer was brain fitness? Just like physical fitness can strengthen your body, brain fitness can strengthen your mind, resulting in improved productivity, sleep, and performance. To discuss this in greater detail we interviewed Dr. Patrick Porter, neuropsychologist, and founder of BrainTap. Dr. Porter has spent the last three decades working in the field of brainwave entrainment, and one of his many focuses is educating people on the benefits of brain fitness. Keep reading to learn more about brain fitness!
Here’s What Brain Fitness Is and Why It’s So Important
What is it and how does it work?
Brain fitness is the ability to build neuroplasticity. Brain training represents the capacity of our brain to do work, including concentration and focus. When you think of brain fitness and how it works, anything that gets the brain to stress and build neuroplasticity would be considered brain fitness. Like physical fitness, when you go to the gym and exercise different muscle groups, brain fitness works out different brainwaves.
What are brain fitness techniques a student can use to improve test scores and academic performance?
Play classical Baroque music in the background while studying. This type of music increases brain synchronization and intelligence. They call it the Mozart effect.
Drink plenty of water, especially while studying. Our brains are hydro-engines and require lots of water to work correctly and stay free from inflammation and stress.
When doing a reading assignment, it’s always best to read over all bold and italicized words first and note the pictures. Doing this creates an experience of what you’re about to read. Then, close the book, take a few deep breaths, open the book back up, and begin reading the chapter. Then your brain can format the information the way a computer formats new files. You’re giving the brain adequate details on the subject matter before diving deeper to read for comprehension and recall.
If you’re tired before studying, it’s always good to use a relaxation technique or a tool such as BrainTap to reboot the brain and give you energy for learning and studying. It’s also important to do mindfulness exercises after studying as well, like breathing exercises, meditation, or BrainTap because you’ve just created a neuroplastic change in the brain. You want to hardwire that information so you can recall it later. This takes short-term memory and makes it long-term to have perfect memory and recall of the information during the testing situations.
What are the best practices for a mentally fit mind?
The mentally fit mind begins first thing in the morning. You should get up and drink at least 22 ounces of water first thing in the morning. Your brain shrinks up to three-quarters of an inch at night as part of, the overnight detox process. You need to hydrate the brain to get it working efficiently.
Create a wellness or mindfulness practice that allows you to tune up your body, including things like stretching, yoga, breathing exercises, BrainTap, or anything that will help you focus on having your best day possible. This enables you to build optimistic thinking about your future by taking this time to plan out what you’re going to accomplish, how you’re going to achieve it, and what you’re going to feel like at the end of the day when you’ve completed the goals that you’ve set for yourself.
Eating healthy foods and eliminating as much sugar as possible is also key to a mentally healthy mind. Detoxing the body is one of the best ways to ensure that your mind will function at peak performance for longer periods. Again, water is very important for the brain. Throughout the day, you should be drinking more water. I recommend consuming at least half your body’s weight in ounces of water. When possible, eat healthy fats. Your brain is made up mostly of fat and water. So, the more healthy fats and water you consume, the better your brain will work and serve you.
At night, when you’re getting ready for bed, you should adopt a sleep routine. A few of those components should include stopping the use of cell phones and computers one to two hours before bed. Most people will need two hours to wind down from the day’s stresses. This will allow your body and mind to reach a deeper level of sleep, and you’ll awaken each morning more rested and relaxed. Make sure that you eliminate all alcohol at least four hours before bedtime so your body can enter into a deep state of relaxation. You should discontinue solid foods at least three hours before sleep so your body can focus on detoxing the brain and not digesting food while you’re sleeping.
Your room should be as dark as possible with minimal electronics in the room. To the best of your ability, try to eliminate the need for an alarm clock. Alarms are damaging to our nervous system. If you must use an alarm to wake up in the morning, try to find one that will wake you to peaceful music instead of something that will jar you out of sleep. Loud alarms set your nervous system on fire first thing in the morning, and for some people, it’s challenging to regulate back to a naturally relaxed nervous system after a jolt like that.
What are the best times of day to practice brain fitness?
Morning is always a great time to start practicing brain fitness. Doing tai chi or yoga first thing in the morning to get the body warmed up and stretched, and then doing a mindfulness practice such as BrainTap will assist you in accelerating your brain fitness first thing in the morning. In the middle of the day, many people reach for their coffee, tea, or chocolate. This is because everyone’s body temperature drops two degrees around 2:00 – 3:00 pm every afternoon and we experience a physical dip in energy. It is a good time to reboot the brain or train the brain to encourage more Alpha/Theta activity. This helps with rest and recovery and helps offload the stress of the day, which then allows us to have more flexibility and energy for our evening activities.
Doing brain fitness at night before sleep helps you go into a deeper and more relaxed state of sleep. Starting the day off right always begins with a deep, restful sleep the night before. Breathing exercises are a great way to build brain fitness before sleep. One of my favorites is breathing into the mental count of four, which triggers your sympathetic or fight or flight response, and then breathing out to the mental count of eight, connecting the breath at the end. As you breathe out, you’re exercising your parasympathetic system, or what we call the thriving brain.