Nothing in our brain is carved in stone. It is dynamic, adapting, healing, renewing and reprogramming itself. What you do or don't do every day affects how your brain works better and worse. But the good news is that improving, rejuvenating and reconstructing it, if you will, is possible. But to do that, you have to start working out now. Because the longer you sit idle, the smaller your gray mass becomes, and one day it may be too late to start maintaining and improving it.
Yes, it's not just for entertaining the public and pleasing one's ego. Recent studies have shown that juggling improves brain function. Learning to juggle promotes the development of certain areas of the gray matter. The study found that volunteers who performed juggling exercises had improved function in areas responsible for vision and motor activity, and new white matter appeared.
A month after the experiment, the scientists found that the white matter had not gone anywhere, and the amount of gray matter had even increased. Juggling is a complex skill. However, it is the complex tasks that help the brain to develop.
2. “Stretch” your brain muscles
The muscles of the brain, like the muscles of the body, need to be kept toned and exercised so that they don't degenerate. It is especially important to exercise your brain, focusing on areas you use less often than others. Learning a new language, trying to speak it, would be a good workout. Or perhaps mastering some kind of musical instrument.
Also for “stretching,” make it a rule not to go to bed until you've learned at least one new thing. It doesn't matter what. The day should end with you getting information you didn't know before, seeing something you haven't seen before. In general, the point of stretching is to do something you wouldn't normally do.
3. Stay in shape
Even if you pedal on an exercise bike for half an hour, it's a great boost for your brain. A study on the effects of exercise on hippocampal enlargement found that physical activity had a direct proportional effect on hippocampal enlargement. On average, people who participated in the study had a 16% increase in hippocampal volume after physical exercise.
Exercising different areas increases the heart rate, therefore more oxygen goes to the brain. Any kind of exercise that gets your heart pumping in more oxygen is a good start. You don't have to run to the gym to get a membership – at least start with daily walks, or better yet, jogging.
4. Take care of the quality of your sleep
Poor sleep contributes to a decrease in brain volume. That is, the worse your sleep habits are, the more your brain shrinks. This is the disappointing and surprising conclusion of a study examining the relationship between sleep quality and cortical and hippocampal volume.
The results showed that poor sleep causes a buildup of protein in the gray matter that attacks brain cells. Sleep is all about repair, repairing the brain. Improving the quality of sleep is one of the most important ways to improve the health of your gray matter. Without sleep, there will be no growth. And the above tricks won't do you any good if you continue to sleep 3-4 hours a night while doing them.
5. Learn to be conscious
The idea is quite simple: in a conscious state we perceive life differently. We are more mindful, more inclined to accept and therefore take the stress off the brain. It's also very helpful for improving one's mental health. Try to come to being in a state of meditation throughout the day. Meditation is basically able to increase levels of happiness by reprogramming the brain.
Over the past decade, research on mindfulness has shown that it helps reduce stress, improves concentration, enhances working memory, increases cognitive flexibility, and gives higher levels of relationship satisfaction.
Most of the time our brains are in autopilot mode. Start paying attention to the world around you, awaken your senses to it. Remember, adopting healthy habits will not only increase your gray matter, but it will also slow cognitive decline and speed up memory.