All of your body’s operations are controlled by your brain. It controls your breathing, heartbeat, and a variety of other critical functions.
Despite this, the majority of people cause injury to their brains on a daily basis. And the majority of the time, they are completely unaware of it.
I’m not going to discuss apparent brain-damaging practices like smoking or binge drinking in this article. Instead, we’ll disprove some of the more subtle practices that could be damaging your brain on a regular basis.
Not utilizing your brain is one of the most underappreciated ways you can injure it.
Consider your brain as a muscle: if you don’t use it, it will deteriorate.
The human brain is built to think. Developing neuroplasticity, or the brain’s ability to adapt can be stimulated by challenging thoughts, new skills, different languages, engaging conversations, reading, new experiences, or even puzzles and crosswords.
Your brain, like any muscle, has to be utilized and flexed to keep in form.
What to do:
Brain workouts have been shown to improve our cognitive capacities in studies. So, what do you have to lose? Consider what you could do to strengthen your brain this week.
Consider picking up a new book in a subject you’re not familiar with. Or about enrolling in that French or Spanish class you’ve always wanted to attend?
What is one item that seems a little frightening but yet appealing? Find out what it is and establish a strategy to begin as soon as feasible.
Our biggest enemies
The bad news is that your best friend has turned against you.
The good news is that you can beat him.
I’m referring to your monitors. Your phone, laptop, tablet, and other electronic devices are all designed to keep you addicted to your screen. What’s beneficial for social media behemoths like Facebook, however, is bad for your mental health.
You should pause and take a break if your eyes begin to hurt and feel dry while staring at your screens. However, the difficulty is that most of us aren’t even aware of these clear warning indicators.
Instead, we keep scrolling because the Instagram feed tempts us or we think we have one more email to respond to.
Despite this, research has found a direct correlation between screen time and depression. It’s no surprise, given that the majority of the stuff we consume online is negative and harmful to our health.
We first have to deal with mental overstimulation.
Then there’s the fact that our eyes hurt.
Third, most media and negative news have a detrimental impact on our emotions and our thinking.
If that isn’t enough to convince you to limit your screen time, research suggests that excessive screen time damages brain structure and function.
What to do:
You don’t have to completely avoid social media or technology. It’s simply a matter of establishing healthy limits and maintaining control over your media consumption, rather than the other way around.
You can track your screen time on most smartphones to discover how much time you spend on your device.
The average American spends 5.4 hours each day on his phone, according to TechJury.
Consider what you could accomplish, create, or study if you had an extra five hours per day.
Analyze your screen usage over the next several days and ask yourself how you might reduce it so you have more time to invest in important activities.
Please don’t remain seated
Despite the fact that sitting appears to be one of the most natural activities, it can be hazardous to both mental and physical health.
We often forget that we were created to stand upright and neglect the significant expenses of an inactive lifestyle, such as heart disease, obesity, depression, and dementia.
However, a study discovered that a sedentary lifestyle has harmful consequences for our brains. It has a bad impact on our memory, for example.
There’s nothing wrong with relaxing on your favorite couch for a while. The issue is that millions of individuals all over the world are victims of a sedentary lifestyle.
We’ve all experienced the discomfort of a stiff neck, lower back pain, or shoulder stiffness. Yet, because sitting feels natural, we frequently fail to prevent these uncomfortable sensations.
What to do:
It’s largely about implementing everyday action into your life to overcome your sedentary lifestyle.
It’s not about getting up for a few minutes, doing short walks, and standing upright; it’s about getting up for a few minutes, taking short walks, and standing upright.
According to studies, even high levels of physical activity and exercise are unable to counteract the negative consequences of prolonged sitting. This may sound discouraging, but it’s actually fantastic news since it suggests that modest, daily improvements can have a big impact on your (brain) health.
Adding extra daily movement to your life can sometimes be a game of deception. Set a timer on your phone to remind you to stand up and take a walk every 30–50 minutes, for example.
Alternatively, use small glasses for water or coffee so that you have to get up more often to refill them.
Pick activities you truly enjoy and integrate them in your weekly agenda on top of those minor daily modifications. Join a dance class, join a local yoga club, or do anything else you enjoy.
Life is sweeter when you eat less sugar
What you eat has an impact on how you think, according to Fernando Gomes Pinilla, a UCLA professor of neurosurgery.
A high-sugar diet also slows down our brains and impairs memory and learning, according to research.
Sugar cravings are, for the most part, a natural response to stress. When we’re feeling overwhelmed, we crave more energy, and the quickest way to obtain that boost is through sweets.
And that’s exactly what the majority of junk food provides: Minimal nutrients, a lot of sugar, and a lot of salt. As a result, we’re quickly satisfied yet soon hungry again.
The issue is that malnutrition not only affects your weight but also your cognitive development.
Despite the fact that our brains only make up 2% of our body weight, they consume 20% of the resources. That’s why the food you eat has such a big impact on how you think and make decisions.
What to do:
Instead of eliminating sugary drinks and foods, try substituting healthier options that will benefit your (brain) health.
These include berries, whole grains, almonds, and green leafy vegetables, to name a few.
When feasible, choose whole food meals that include healthful vegetables and high-quality protein sources.
If you’re craving something sweet with your coffee, try a piece of unsweetened dark chocolate. It may not taste exactly like your favorite chocolate bar, but it satisfies your cravings and is beneficial to your brain, so it’s worth a go.
Don’t forget to eat plenty of healthy fats and omega-rich foods like nuts and seeds. According to the UCLA study, supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids can even assist to mitigate the negative effects of excessive sugar consumption.
Last but not least, make sure you get plenty of water.
Even if you eat largely nutritious meals, if you’re dehydrated, your body won’t be able to work at its optimum, and you’ll find it difficult to stay focused or remember crucial information.
Your Facebook friends don’t count
Good relationships, according to the Harvard Study of Adult Development, make us happy and healthy.
We’re wired for true social relationships as humans. However, the problem is that we frequently try to replace true relationships with Facebook friends and Instagram likes. Even while they provide an immediate adrenaline boost, they do not provide us with a genuine sense of connection.
When you’re surrounded by hundreds of individuals with whom you don’t have a genuine connection, it’s the same.
Loneliness has nothing to do with being alone. It all boils down to the caliber of your relationships.
According to research, a lack of high-quality social contacts might cause mental and physical health problems. Human relationships have the power to make or break our mental health, and digital communication will never be able to replace the benefits of face-to-face conversations.
What to do:
Your brain health and overall quality of life are influenced by the quality of your relationships and social interactions.
Your to-do list may seem more important than spending time with your loved ones in everyday life, but in the long run, you’ll be better off choosing humans over computers.
Even a ten-minute face-to-face interaction every day can boost memory and cognition, according to a 2007 study from the University of Michigan. According to Oscar Ybarra, the study’s lead author, socializing is just as helpful as more traditional forms of mental exercise.
You don’t do enough of this
When was the last time you didn’t get enough sleep yet still felt wonderful and performed well?
Let me guess: that has never happened.
We all know that not getting enough sleep causes us to lose focus, reduces our attention span, and has a negative impact on our mood.
Despite the fact that sleep is an essential aspect of our lives, we frequently regard it as a necessary evil. Many people strive to reduce their sleep in order to have more time to work in today’s productivity-driven world. Sleep deprivation, on the other hand, can be disastrous, resulting in everything from dementia to death.
In the worst-case scenario, a lack of sleep might result in brain cell loss, early memory loss, or even Alzheimer’s disease. These side effects may impede your thinking, damage your memory, and make learning more difficult. Sleep deprivation has even been linked to brain shrinkage in studies.
Your brain recovers and processes what you’ve learnt and experienced throughout the day when you sleep.
What to do:
Sleep quality and quantity have a significant impact on brain health and memory. To feel and function at their best, most people require seven to eight hours of sleep.
It’s also crucial to pay attention to the quality of your sleep.
Having regular sleeping hours and going to bed at the same time is one strategy to achieve more high-quality sleep.
In an ideal world, you’d also have a bedtime ritual that helps you rest and unwind at least an hour before bedtime.
Don’t let music damage your brain
Loud noises, particularly through headphones, are another underappreciated way you can be hurting your brain every day.
30 minutes of loud music (or any other type of noise) is enough to permanently destroy your hearing. Worse yet, evidence shows that hearing loss is linked to brain issues and cognitive decline.
If you live in a big city, you may already be subjected to loud noises. In that situation, it’s even more critical to look after your hearing.
What to do:
I understand how tempting it is to put your headphones in and shut out the rest of the world. I wear headphones for several hours each day, primarily when working and exercising.
Nonetheless, I make certain that the volume is controlled so that it does not cause me any harm in the long run.
Make careful to check the volume of your gadgets on a frequent basis if you wear headphones for long periods of time.
Most of the time, we become accustomed to the loud noise to the point where it no longer feels loud – this is when it becomes really harmful since we end up hurting our hearing without even realizing it.
At least once an hour, take your headphones off to evaluate the noise level and adjust the volume.
Because our hearing naturally adjusts to noise, performing those regular tests helps you discover that the volume was greater than necessary.
Remove your headphones and hold them out in front of you at arm’s length as another quick check. If you can still plainly hear the music, it’s time to turn it down.
Instead of filling your thoughts with negative stimuli and allowing yourself to become a victim of subtle brain-damaging behaviors, look at each day as a new chance to restart and nourish your brain.
Although the majority of these habits can have substantial long-term consequences, the good news is that they’re all simple to avoid, and you can begin right now.