Sally Mathrick spoke about keeping your brain healthy on Saturday March 2nd 2019, at the annual Seven Sisters Festival.
Brain Health and Disease
Dementia related diseases kill more women than any other disease (ABS 2017).
Currently 20% of people over 60 years of age have dementia symptoms, and TWO THIRDS of them are preventable through correct health and lifestyle choices.
We need to protect our precious brains, enhance our clarity and consciousness, and do everything we can to ensure that we are compos mentis until the day we die. There are many small ways to do this, which add up to effectively reducing the damage imposed on the brain and enhance the regenerative capacity of the brain.
The 6 tips Sally provided in her talk were divided into 2 groups – actions that challenged the brain and actions that allowed for repair and mapping of neural circuits. Here they are:
There are many elements of dance that support new neural circuits to be formed, and for the brain to be enhanced. Evidently, it brings all the benefits of exercise, increased circulation and fitness, but also other aspects. Firstly the asymmetrical actions of dancing are great for the brain, the creative improvisation and the novel movements are all superb for enhancing neuroplasticity. Secondly, listening and responding to music in physical and mental ways are complex responses that are rewarding for brain health. Thirdly, interrelating with others in dance is a challenge that enhances brain health. And it’s fun!
Fasting is wonderful for many reasons, and in terms of brain health, fasting has been shown to increase the energy generation in brain cells (increases mitochondria in neurons, to make us smarter), it enhances stem cell production and levels of Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) which both support laying down new ways of thinking. Additionally, it’s also about the things you’re NOT eating!
When we are engaged in an adventure, we’re more present. We use more of our senses and awareness to figure out what to do and where to go, rather than simply following the same old routine. Routine certainly has its rightful place for brain health, however the freshness and presence that is required whilst adventuring lends to a more supple and flexible mind.
Allowing the mind to wander without direction is akin to letting your imagination run free. The richness and depth of our neural circuitry is enhanced when we take time out to daydream. Not daydreaming in front of a screen or facebook though. Day dream as you fold the laundry, or wash the dishes or water that garden. Daydreaming can also allow forgotten thoughts to resurface and can help with coming up with new solutions (certainly something radically needed now a days!).
Sleeping is sooooo beneficial for the brain. And taking a nap is too. Your day time naps shouldn’t be more that 20 minutes long though (set an alarm and airplane mode on your phone before you lay down). If you dip into sleep, you can a nice dose of melatonin, the sleep hormone, and best antioxidant for the body. If you need to get some big work achieved when you wake up, drink a coffee before you lay down and the caffeine will begin to peak just as you wake up.
“The currency of wellness is connection” – Jack Travis’ quote is one of my favourites. Connect and relate with those you love and who love you regularly, and enjoy the brain benefits. Connect inside of your self too, feel into how your body mind is going. Also relate to the world around you, and in particular to the natural world. We are bio-philic and benefit from connecting with nature.
There are so many changes afoot now, and we all have the opportunity to decide how to steer the Earthship out of dangerous waters.
Fresh and creative ideas are needed now, more than ever! So keep your brain healthy, with these and many other actions, so that you can contribute your unique gifts.
For some fresh ideas on how to do keep your body-mind fresh, check out Sally’s Sparkle Courses – Detox, Nourish and Vital