Don't Forget About Your Brain!

Jun 1, 2022

June is Brain Health month!

What a great time to ask: when you think about taking care of your health and well-being, does that include your brain??

Unfortunately, our brain health often gets overlooked because we can’t see our brain. No one has ever looked in the mirror and said, “Wow, I sure do have a beautiful brain!" OR “My brain is looking mighty sharp today.” 

The truth is we shouldn’t overlook our brain because it is crucial to our overall health and well-being. John Hopkins Medicine describes the brain as “a complex organ that controls thought, memory, emotion, touch, motor skills, vision, breathing, temperature, hunger, and every process that regulates our body.”

“Your brain is the organ of your personality, character, and intelligence and is heavily involved in making you who you are.” - Daniel G. Amen

Here are some brain facts from the Cleveland Clinic. Did you know...?

  • The brain works 24 hours a day. 7 days a week. Even when you sleep, it doesn’t.
  • The brain generates enough electricity to power a light bulb.
  • When you learn something new, the structure of your brain changes. It continues to grow and change throughout life. The more you use it, the better it gets.
  • The brain creates thoughts, drives emotions, stores memories, and controls your movement and behaviors.
  • Whenever you dream, think, see or move, tiny chemical and electrical signals race along billions of “highways” between neurons. In fact, neurons create and send more messages than all of the phones in the world.
  • Due to its “neuroplasticity,” the brain is able to adapt and respond to changes and compensate for injuries and diseases. Neuroplasticity allows your brain to be jump-started, fine-tuned, and remodeled throughout your adult life.

I think you’ll agree, our brain has a VERY big job to do so it’s important that we take really good care of it if we want it to stay healthy and function properly now and in the future.

As a Wellview Health Advisor who specializes in brain health, I often discuss with my participants the impact our behaviors have on blood flow to our brain. Since our behaviors are driven by our brain, having good blood flow to our brain is critical in making the right choices and decisions that work towards our personal and professional goals. Good blood flow enables nutrients and oxygen to get to the brain so it can function properly. When this happens, we are sharper, more focused, and can think more clearly. In turn, we have more energy to follow through with the right behaviors that are going to get us to where we want to go.

On the other hand, when we have low blood flow to the brain, it decreases our brain’s ability to make the right choices and decisions. Since our brain feels foggy, we may find it hard to resist something that’s bad for it. Therefore, we’re more likely to make choices and decisions that work against our personal and professional goals. 

For example, if I get less than 6 hours of sleep, I’ll be more inclined to skip my morning workout because I’ll be too tired. For lunch, I’ll probably turn to comfort food which may include a piece of chocolate cake because at that moment I will think it will make me feel better. Of course, it won’t. Instead, it will spike my glucose level and then decrease my blood flow even more. I will feel moody and irritable and won’t have the energy to finish that big presentation I was working on. Then, I will get upset with myself because I’m under a tight deadline. I will start to feel stressed and…you get the picture? One behavior that decreases blood flow to the brain can lead to another negative behavior, which can lead to another negative behavior and on and on. It can have a domino effect!

Anything that decreases or impairs blood flow to your brain, hurts your brain. According to Dr. Daniel G. Amen, double board certified psychiatrist and brain health expert, here are some behaviors and conditions that he describes as “blood flow robbers.”

  • Being sedentary or exercising less than twice a week
  • Getting less than 6 hours of sleep each night.
  • Drinking more than 2 cups of caffeinated beverages a day
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Having a history of cardiovascular disease
  • High LDL cholesterol
  • Having hypertension or prehypertension
  • History of a stroke
  • Pre-diabetes or diabetes
  • Sleep Apnea

So, do things that are good for your brain and keep the blood flowing. Exercise regularly, aim for at least 7 hours of sleep, eat a brain healthy diet, practice gratitude, learn a new language, decrease your sugar intake, manage your stress, meditate. And, be sure to get treated for any condition that impacts blood flow to your brain. Not only will you increase your brain function and improve your brain health, but you will be better able to achieve your goals and live the life you truly desire.

So...don’t forget about your brain! If you want it to work right now and as you age, you need to be intentional about properly caring for it. Interested in learning more on how you can improve your brain health? Click here to schedule with one of our experts today.

Click HERE to learn more about the Wellview services available to you. We can’t wait to work with you!

– Catherine Churchill, BA, NBC-HWC

Health Advisor | Email Catherine

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