Human brain is always the hot topic for discussion and maintaining the brain health is always a challenge. The most puzzling phenomenon of the universe is the development of the brain. Although the origin of species, formation of galaxies, the universe etc. itself are the process is very hard to explain even by science. Mostly science is working on assumptions to create theories for the brain. It is the only thing that help us to attain Happiness and Success in life.
In this we are going to see:
- What is mind or brain?
- What is the basic difference between mind and brain?
- How we can check our brain health?
- Why is happiness important for brain?
- How to keep our brain active?
- Which exercise is best for brain
- Yoga for Brain Power
- 12 Awesome brain exercises that make you smarter
What is the human brain?
The brain, a small part of the human body is the most fascinating thing. Its limitless capability of imagination is what makes him the most valuable and complex thing of existence.
The human brain contains one hundred billion neurons, which are connected by trillions of synapses. Building a map of these connections — the connectome — is not an easy task, but is progressing faster than predicted. Such a map is crucial to efforts to stimulate the brain in silico. But it is not the only requirement: we also need a better understanding of how the brain works. Scientists who work on memory are recognizing that forgetting is not an error but an essential process. The biological basis of consciousness is becoming a legitimate topic for research. And our evolutionary brethren the Neanderthals, through fossilized remains and genetic traces found in modern humans, are providing fresh insight into how our brains developed.
We often get confused between brain and mind. So it is necessary to distinguish them first. After all before we get into brain health, it is necessary to know them first.
What is the difference between brain and mind?
Mind is related to brain. Most people do not find any difference between the two words mind and brain. Most scientists and thinkers believe that the brain and the mind are one and cannot be separated. Most of the time these two words are used interchangeably. While brain is considered to be a physical thing, mind is considered to be mental.
The brain is composed of nerve cells and blood vessels whereas the mind is not like that. While the brain has a definite shape, the mind does not have one. We can see and touch the brain whereas it is not possible to do this with the mind.
As the brain is made up of several materials, it can be studied. On the other hand, it is hard to conduct studies on the mind as it is not made up of any material.
The brain is an important organ in the human body whereas the mind is not like that. It is in the brain that all the functions and activities take place. The brain, which is the centre of the nervous system, coordinates the movements, thoughts and feelings. But these are put forth or felt through the mind. We all use the mind to think, feel and respond. The Mind refers to a person’s understanding of things and also his conscience. Mind also refers to a person’s thought process.
The brain has a definite place in the head. But with regard to mind, it is only supposed to be in the brain. The brain health may be affected with diseases and can be diagnosed whereas mind does not have such complications.
How can I check my brain health?
Good brain health is a state in which every individual can realize their own abilities and optimize their cognitive, emotional, psychological and behavioural functioning to cope with life situations. Numerous interconnected social and biological determinants (incl. genetics) play a role in brain development and brain health from pre-conception through the end of life. These determinants influence the way our brains develop, adapt and respond to stress and adversity, giving way to strategies for both promotion and prevention across the life course.
Brain health conditions emerge throughout the life course and are characterized by disruptions in normal brain growth and/or brain functioning. They may manifest as neurodevelopmental and neurological conditions such as intellectual developmental disorders, autism spectrum disorders, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, dementia, cerebrovascular disease, headache, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, neuroinfections, brain tumors, traumatic injury and neurological disorders resulting from malnutrition. Health and social care for these conditions require multisectoral and interdisciplinary collaborations with a holistic person-centered approach focused on promotion, prevention, treatment, care and rehabilitation over the lifespan and the active engagement of persons experiencing the conditions and their families and careers, as appropriate.
There are numerous ways to check brain health. Researchers and scientists have developed tests to check Mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, they are common and treatable. And recovery is possible. Two mostly used platforms are:
- TestMyBrain : It is a not-for-profit initiative dedicated to collaborating with citizen scientists throughout the world by providing measurement tools that allow people to engage in science and learn about themselves.
At TestMyBrain, they have the same goal that you do – to understand more about your brain. All of their experiments are designed to provide personalized feedback that is specific to you and will help you learn more about your own mind and brain.
What they learn from your participation helps us understand more about how the brain works, how we change as we get older, and the mental and physical disorders that affect brain health.
- Mental Health America: It is the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and to promoting the overall brain health of all. Our work is driven by our commitment to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including:
- prevention services for all;
- early identification and intervention for those at risk;
- integrated care, services, and supports for those who need it;
- with recovery as the goal.
Why is happiness important for brain?
Ever wonder why we get a warm feeling when we come home? Or why laughter makes us feel so good? Or why, even though exercise is good for us, so many of us tend to avoid it?
If so, you may want to pick up Dean Burnett’s book Happy Brain: Where Happiness Comes From, and Why. Burnett, a neuroscientist and standup comic, explores some of the inner workings of our brains to reveal how our neural networks support us in experiencing happiness so we can move forward in life and love.
Neuroscience is a fascinating field, but, as Burnett warns, it’s also a relatively new science, and many of its “findings” are exploratory in nature rather than conclusive. He points to the expense of running MRI studies, which limits the number of study participants and the certainty about results. And, as so much of our brain activity and brain health can be influenced by individual personalities or environmental circumstances, it’s hard to make any grand proclamations about what happiness looks like in the brain.
Add to that some pretty weird anomalies—like the neurotransmitter serotonin, which modulates mood, being produced primarily by our gut bacteria—and it becomes clear that we don’t understand everything about our brains and happiness. Much of it may be out of our conscious control.
“Just embrace the important point: The things that influence our brain’s ability to make us happy extend far beyond just our experiences and personal preferences,” warns Burnett.
How to keep your brain active?
Every brain changes with age, and mental function changes along with it. Mental decline is common, and it’s one of the most feared consequences of ageing. But cognitive impairment is not inevitable. Active brain is the foremost thing to live happy and successful life. Here are 12 ways you can help keep your brain active and maintain good brain health.
Through research with mice and humans, scientists have found that brainy activities stimulate new connections between nerve cells and may even help the brain generate new cells, developing neurological “plasticity” and building up a functional reserve that provides a hedge against future cell loss.
Any mentally stimulating activity should help to build up your brain. Read, take courses, try “mental gymnastics,” such as word puzzles or math problems Experiment with things that require manual dexterity as well as mental efforts, such as drawing, painting, and other crafts.
Research shows that using your muscles also helps your mind. Animals who exercise regularly increase the number of tiny blood vessels that bring oxygen-rich blood to the region of the brain that is responsible for thought. Exercise also spurs the development of new nerve cells and increases the connections between brain cells (synapses). This results in brains that are more efficient, plastic, and adaptive, which translates into better performance in aging animals. Exercise also lowers blood pressure, improves cholesterol levels, helps blood sugar balance and reduces mental stress, all of which can help your brain as well as your heart.
Good nutrition can help your brain health as well as your body. For example, people that eat a Mediterranean style diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, unsaturated oils (olive oil) and plant sources of proteins are less likely to develop cognitive impairment and dementia.
Blood pressure control
High blood pressure in midlife increases the risk of cognitive decline in old age. Use lifestyle modification to keep your pressure as low as possible. Stay lean, exercise regularly, limit your alcohol to two drinks a day, reduce stress, and eat right.
Maintaining blood sugar
Diabetes is an important risk factor for dementia. You can help prevent diabetes by eating right, exercising regularly, and staying lean. But if your blood sugar stays high, you’ll need medication to achieve good control.
High levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol are associated with an increased risk of dementia. Diet, exercise, weight control, and avoiding tobacco will go a long way toward improving your cholesterol levels. But if you need more help, ask your doctor about medication.
Consider low-dose aspirin
Some observational studies suggest that low-dose aspirin may reduce the risk of dementia, especially vascular dementia. Ask your doctor if you are a candidate.
Remove all kinds of tobacco
Tobacco has a vastly negative impact on the brain. So it completely from the life is necessary.
Excessive drinking is a major risk factor for dementia. If you choose to drink, limit yourself to two drinks a day or you can completely wipe out alcohol by adding healthy drinks.
Observe your emotions
People who are anxious, depressed, sleep-deprived, or exhausted tend to score poorly on cognitive function tests. Poor scores don’t necessarily predict an increased risk of cognitive decline in old age, but good brain health and restful sleep are certainly important goals.
Shield your head
Moderate to severe head injuries, even without diagnosed concussions, increase the risk of cognitive impairment.
Become a socialize person
Strong social ties have been associated with a lower risk of dementia, as well as lower blood pressure and longer life expectancy.
Which exercise is best for brain health?
1. Yoga For Brain Power
Your brain is a muscle and needs exercise for better functioning.
Yoga is the best form of exercise that improves brain function.
Stress and anxiety can cause your brain to malfunction, and that is what yoga can help avert. Yoga regulates the vagus nerve that deals with your body’s mood and stress levels. It differs from other brain improving exercises in its ability to facilitate proper breathing patterns that help a great deal in calming your body and invigorating your brain health.
7 Effective Poses To Increase Brain Power
- Padmasana (Lotus Pose)
- Vajrasana (Diamond Pose)
- Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Spinal Twist Pose)
- Paschtimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
- Halasana (Plow Pose)
- Mayurasana (Peacock Pose)
- Sirsasana (Headstand)
1. Padmasana (Lotus Pose)
Padmasana or the Lotus Pose is synonymous with the great fables associated with the lotus. Lotus is considered a symbol of purity, enlightenment, and detachment. Padmasana is a meditative pose that works best when done in the morning and not necessarily on an empty stomach. Hold this intermediate level Hatha Yoga pose for at least 1-5 minutes.
Benefits: Padmasana relaxes the mind and calms the brain. It gives a good stretch to your ankles and knees, makes your hips more flexible, and improves your body posture. Padmasana awakens the chakras in your body and increases your awareness.
2. Vajrasana (Diamond Pose)
Vajrasana or the Diamond Pose is a kneeling exercise, usually accompanied by breathing exercises. Practicing the Vajrasana enables your body to become as strong as a diamond. Unlike other yoga asanas, Vajrasana can be practiced after a meal. Hold this beginner level Vinyasa Yoga pose for at least 5-10 minutes.
Benefits: Vajrasana aids proper digestion and with regular practice, eliminates constipation. It fights stomach disorders and combats acidity. The pose helps your body relax and increases blood circulation. It also improves the flexibility of the lower body and tones your muscles.
3. Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Spinal Twist Pose)
Ardha Matsyendrasana or the Half Lord of the Fishes Pose is named after the sage Matsyendranath. It is a half spinal twist with numerous variations. The pose is part of the 12 basic Hatha Yoga asanas. Practice this asana either early in the morning on an empty stomach and clean bowels or 4-6 hours after a meal in the evening. Hold this basic level Hatha Yoga pose for at least 30-60 seconds.
Benefits: Ardha Matsyendrasana relieves stiffness in the back and invigorates the spine, which has has a therapeutic effect on the mind besides improving digestion. This pose increases the supply of oxygen to the lungs and detoxifies the internal organs. It also purifies the blood and improves its circulation.
4. Paschtimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
Paschimottanasana or the Seated Forward Bend is a classic Hatha Yoga pose that is very simple to do. This asana gives your body a good stretch and concentrates on the back. Practice the pose in the morning on an empty stomach and clean bowels. If not possible in the morning, do it in the evening after 4-6 hours from your last meal. During practice, hold this basic Hatha Yoga pose for 30-60 seconds.
Benefits: Paschtimottanasana relieves mild depression and stress, gives your shoulders a good stretch, and activates your kidneys. Since this is a seated forward fold, it stimulates the spine and good for human health. The asana reduces headache and fatigue and cures insomnia and high blood pressure. It also increases the appetite and reduces obesity.
5. Halasana (Plow Pose)
Halasana or the Plow Pose uncovers the hidden capabilities of your body. The plow is a farming instrument used in many Asian countries that churns the soil in preparation for sowing seeds. The pose represents the shape of the plow and is an advanced yoga pose. Practice the pose in the morning on an empty stomach or in the evening with a gap of 4-6 hours from your last meal. Hold the pose for 30-60 seconds during practice.
Benefits: Halasana regulates metabolism and normalizes the blood sugar levels. This pose releases the strain in the back and enhances your posture. It also reduces stress and calms the brain. It gives your shoulder a good stretch and stimulates the underworking thyroid gland.
6. Mayurasana (Peacock Pose)
Mayurasana or the Peacock Pose resembles a peacock when it walks around with its feathers down. It seems like a complicated pose to do, but with a little practice, it gets comfortable. It is best to practice this pose in the morning on an empty stomach as your body has the energy generated from digesting the meal of the previous night. Hold this pose for 30-60 seconds during practice.
Benefits: Mayurasana detoxifies the body and keeps fever at bay. It strengthens your abdominal area, energizes your kidneys, and fights diabetes. It makes your spine stronger and improves posture. The asana improves concentration and coordination between the mind and the body.
7. Sirsasana (Headstand)
Sirsasana or the Headstand is the king of all yoga poses. It requires complete inversion of your body and good upper body strength. Sirsasana needs a series of preparatory exercises over a period to do the asana. It is necessary that your stomach is empty and bowels clean to practice this asana. Try to hold the pose for at least 1-5 minutes. For beginners, it is safe to attempt the posture using the support of a wall.
Benefits: Sirsasana instantly calms your body. It stimulates the pituitary gland, strengthens the lungs, improves digestion, and cures asthma. It makes the arms and legs stronger and tones the abdominal organs.
Have you ever considered any of these poses in yoga for brain power? These yoga asanas broaden your mind and declutter your brain.
2. 12 Awesome Brain Exercises That Make You Smarter
Giving you new experiences that will keep brain healthier. Try these mini mental workout exercises to prevent memory loss and sharpen your mind.
“Neurobic” exercises are like cross-training for your brain
Giving your brain new experiences that combine physical senses—vision, smell, touch, taste, and hearing—with emotional “sense” stimulates more connections between different brain areas, causes nerve cells to produce natural brain nutrients that dramatically help memory, and makes surrounding cells stronger and more resistant to the effects of aging. Try these brain exercises—devised by neurobiologist Lawrence C. Katz, PhD, and Manning Rubin for the book Keep Your Brain Alive—during your morning routine or your downtime and see if you feel the difference.
Brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand
Research has shown that using the opposite side of your brain (as in this exercise) can result in a rapid and substantialexpansion in the parts of the cortex that control and process tactile information from the hand. Brain exercise: Brush with the hand you wouldn’t normally use, and don’t forget to open the tube and apply toothpaste in reverse, too. Here are more morning brain boosters to do before work.
Shower with your eyes closed
Your hands will probably notice varied textures of your own body that you don’t “see” and will send messages back to your brain. Brain exercise: Try using just your tactile senses (but use common sense to avoid burn or injury). Locate the taps solely by feel, and adjust the temperature. Then wash, shave, and so on with your eyes shut.
Switch around your morning activities
Brain imaging studies show that novel tasks exercise large areas of the cortex, indicating increased levels of brain activity in several distinct areas. This activity declines when the task becomes routine and automatic. Brain exercise: Get dressed after breakfast, walk the dog on a new route, or change your TV or news station. Even watching a kids’ program like Sesame Street, for example, may arouse the brain to notice how much of what you take for granted is explored in depth by children.
Turn familiar objects upside down (literally)
When you look at things right-side up, your left “verbal” brain quickly labels it and diverts your attention elsewhere. When they’re upside down, your right brain networks kick in, trying to interpret the shapes, colors, and relationships of a puzzling picture. Brain exercise: Turn pictures of your family, your desk clock, or an illustrated calendar upside down.
Switch seats at the table
In most families, everyone has his or her “own” seat, but your brain benefits from new experiences. Brain exercise: Switch seats to change which position you occupy, who you relate to, your view of the room, and even how you reach for salt and pepper. Serve some of these 25 brain-boosting foods for an even smarter meal.(keto)
Make a new connection with your nose
You probably don’t remember when you “learned” to associate the smell of coffee with the start of a day. However, by linking a new odour—say, vanilla, citrus, or peppermint—to an activity, you’ll alert new neural pathways. Brain exercise: Keep an extract of your favourite scent near your bed for a week. Open it and inhale when you first wake up, and then again as you bathe and dress.
Open the car window
The hippocampus, an area of your brain that processes memories, is especially involved in associating odours, sounds, and sights to construct mental maps. Brain exercise: Try to identify new smells and sounds on your route. Opening the windows provides these circuits with more raw material.
Play with spare change
Because our brains regularly rely on visual cues to distinguish between objects, using touch to identify subtly different things increases activation in cortical areas that process tactile information and leads to stronger synapses. (Similarly, adults who lose their sight learn to distinguish Braille letters because their brain devotes more pathways to processing fine touch.) Brain exercise: Place a cup full of coins in your car’s drink holder. While at a stoplight, try to determine the denominations by feel alone. You can also put coins in your pocket during a walk, and identify them when you stop at a corner.
Play “10 Things”
Forcing your brain to think of alternates to the every day will help keep it strong. Brain exercise: Someone hands you an ordinary object, and you must demonstrate 10 different “things” that the object might be. For example, a fly swatter might be a tennis racket, a golf club, a fan, a baton, a drumstick, a violin, a shovel, a microphone, a baseball bat, or a canoe paddle.
Scan at the supermarket
Stores are designed to have the most profitable items at eye level, and when you shop, you don’t really see everything there. Brain exercise: Stop in any aisle and look at the shelves, top to bottom. If there’s something you’ve never seen before, pick it up, read the ingredients, and think about it. You don’t have to buy it to benefit; you’ve broken your routine and experienced something new.
Do an art project in a group
Art activates the nonverbal and emotional parts of the cerebral cortex. When you create art, you draw on parts of your brain interested in forms, colours, and textures, as well as thought processes very different from the logical, linear thinking that occupies most of your day. Brain exercise: Ask each person to draw something associated with a specific theme like a season, an emotion, or a current event.
When we read aloud or listen to reading, we use very different brain circuits than when we read silently to ourselves. Brain exercise: Read aloud with your partner or a friend, alternating the roles of reader and listener. It may take a while to get through a book, but in addition to giving your brain a workout, you’ll also get to spend some quality time together.
Eat unfamiliar foods
Your olfactory system can distinguish millions of odours by activating unique combinations of receptors in your nose. There’s a direct link to the emotional centre of your brain, so new odours may evoke unexpected feelings and associations. Brain exercise: Choose a cuisine unfamiliar to you, and browse the variety of novel vegetables, seasonings, and packaged goods.
Get more brain workouts
But wait—there’s more! Check out Keep Your Brain Alive for dozens of other neurobic exercises that will increase your mental fitness and help prevent memory loss.