How To Have A Healthy Brain – More And Less

The activities that lead to a strong, healthy body give us a strong, healthy brain as well. Unfortunately, some experts have found that about 1/2 the activities we engage in lead to improved brain health but the other 1/2 are detrimental to a healthy brain. Doing a little more of the healthy activities and a little less of the unhealthy ones, add up over time to major improvements.

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Family Curse

My mother died from dementia, more or less. That wasn’t the official cause of death but a few days before she passed, a doctor told us how her brain had shrunk. She forgot how to swallow so she could no longer eat or drink anything and, then, she forgot how to breathe.

Her dementia was genetic, caused by a specific recessive gene, which can lead to hyperhomocysteinemia – too much homocysteine in the blood. We found that out years before her passing when she first began showing the signs of memory loss. Once we discovered that it was a genetic trait, I went to my doctor to be tested. I have the same recessive gene. I found it interesting that, in the report, the doctors labeled it “the family curse”.

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Making Healthy Choices

We are told it is “up to us” to make the healthy choices. But our culture and environment are typically slanted to make the healthy choices the most difficult. In the end it is up to us — we simply need to be aware of what we are up against.

“This Is A Football”

On December 26, 1960, the Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles met for the NFL championship. (This was before the Super Bowl’s debut.) In a heartbreaking loss, the Packers ran out of time when they were stopped nine yards short of the goal line as the clock ran out.

Now it was July, 1961. The Packer players had had the entire off-season to mull over their humiliation in that final championship game. They assembled at training camp, eager to polish their skills, advancing them to a higher level, ready to avenge their loss and show the world how great they really were.

Vince Lombardi, the Packers’ head coach, had other plans.

“Gentlemen,” he said, holding up the object they knew intimately well, “this is a football.” [Maraniss]

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Excelerated Fundamentals

If you want to pitch a tent, you don’t need to think about a foundation. But if you want to build a lasting structure, you need a solid foundation. Do you want your life to be like a tent or a tower? [1]

Sharpen The Saw

Imagine you are walking in the woods and you come upon a woodcutter busily sawing at a tree. As you watch, you can see he isn’t making much progress. It’s obvious that his saw is dull.

“Why don’t you take some time to sharpen your saw?” you ask.

He glares at you. “Sharpen the saw!? Can’t you see I’m too busy sawing?!?” [Covey]

Stephen Covey shares this story in his book, The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People, to illustrate the 7th habit, which he calls “sharpen the saw”. This habit encircles the other six habits and enhances them. It is a focus on the fundamentals of self care.

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Move!

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” ~ Jim Rohn

Choose to be active.

Researchers tell us that there are certain actions we can take to increase feelings of happiness and well-being. One way you can increase positive affect is to take care of your body by engaging in physical activity. Continue reading “Move!”

Eat Food

Food is fuel. Excellent food, excellent fuel. Good food, good fuel. Poor food, poor fuel. What are you fueling your wonderful body with?

Michael Pollan is one of the leading thinkers and writers in the field of food and nutrition. Pollan has stated that his findings after extensive study can be summed up in these 7 words: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” Continue reading “Eat Food”