Brain – Overview – Point of Wellness #1

Point of Wellness #1: Brain

This post will cover 3 important points about the “Brain”:
  1. Where the Brain fits into Wellness.
  2. Why Brain health is important.
  3. What you can do now to improve your Brain.
First, where does the Brain fit into Wellness? Simple. The Brain is at the core of health.

 

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All other facets of health are regulated, modulated, and/or routed through the brain. The brain is placed at the core of health and wellness, with all other parts intersecting and interacting. If your brain isn’t healthy, neither is your body, bio-chemistry, and emotions/mind. However, the reverse is also true. You’re brain can’t be healthy either if you don’t take care of your body, bio-chemistry, and emotions/mind. However, given the advances in modern neuroscience and neuroplasticity (the ability to change your brain), making a brain-focused model gives the most logical focal point to understand health and wellness in modern times.

Second, Why should I prioritize my Brain Health? Why is my a healthy brain important? With a healthy brain, you will…

  1. Think better: A great brain means you you will have clearer thinking, have better memory, able to solve problems, and think long-term.
  2. More creative: A better brain means better creativity. When a brain is stressed, it goes into survival mode, not creative mode. If you want to be creative, then prioritize your brain health.
  3. Feel better: Your emotional centers are in your brain. If your brain is balanced and strong, then you’ll be calmer, happier, and more positive.
  4. Stand taller: Yes, your brain controls your posture, mostly through the frontal lobes (the big parts of the brain at the front) and the cerebellum (the small piece of brain in the back/bottom of the skull). Better posture is critical for optimal functioning of your organs. If your spine is bent, then the nerves traveling from the brain to your body get stressed, creating stress in your organs. Most people don’t realize that the curves of your spine and your posture are primarily controlled by the integrity and function of your brain.
  5. Feel less pain (if you are in pain): If you have a strong brain, then you feel less pain. Ever notice how when you’re engrossed in a project, a movie, a book, or something else, that you don’t notice aches and pains? A full engaged brain decreases your perception and experience of pain.
  6. Digest better: A highly functioning brain puts you’re body into “rest and digest” mode, pushing blood to the internal organs for digestion, healing, growth, and repair. If your brain is under stress or imbalanced, your body goes into “fight or flight”, pushing blood to arms and legs so you can fight or run from a perceived threat. A healthy brain redirects blood back to the organs for repair and optimal function.
  7. Build a stronger immune system: A strong brain means a strong immune system. Ever noticed how when you get really stressed out (when your brain goes into “fight or flight” mode), you are more vulnerable to sickness afterwards? If you get sick a lot, consider strengthening your brain instead of just fighting off sickness.

Third, What you can do right now to improve your brain: 

  1. Avoid Aspartame, one of the most prolific brain-poisoning substances in our food supply. Aspartame (known as additive 951 and 952 in New Zealand/Australia) is the artificial sweetener found in many, if not most diet, no-calorie, zero-calorie, and low-calorie products, such as diet soda, sugarless gums, breath mints, candies, and even children’s vitamins.
    • Aspartame breaks down into 3 major toxic substances: Aspartic acid, Methanol, and Phenylalanine.
      1. Aspartic acid: An amino acid that is similar to MSG that can overstimulate the brain and cause neuron death.
      2. Methanol: Known as wood alcohol, is toxic to the nervous system. Methanol can convert in your body into formaldehyde, the same substance to preserve dead bodies. Do you want this in your body?
      3. Phenylalanine: An amino acid that is normal in human metabolism but dangerous for rare individuals who have a disease (called phenylketonuria) that can’t properly process phenylalanine.
        • Tip: If a packaged food says “Contains Phenylalanine”, it probably contains Aspartame.
    • So avoid aspartame and its other trade names called Nutrasweet, Sweet’n Low, and Equal. While your at it, avoid other artificial sweeteners like Splenda and Sucralose.
  2. Learn how to nap. A quick nap can recharge the brain, particularly in our day and age with chronic sleep deprivation. Read my article on how to Nap without screwing up your sleep (or taking up too much time). You won’t regret it.
  3. Learn simple brain exercises: The brain can be exercised and trained just like other parts of the body. Learn how to quickly refocus your attention between tasks and projects with this simple 4-step brain exercise.
  4. Avoid brain-damaging activities: Imagine your brain as a squishy Nerf ball suspended inside a hard shell (your skull) with only a few millimeters of space in between. If you crash your head or something hard hits your head fast (like a high velocity soccer ball), your squishy brain crashes into the inside of your hard skull, causing brain damage.
    1. Consider avoiding any sports that require a helmet:  Post-concussive syndrome (PCS) is now finally coming to the forefront of American Football, complete with lawsuits over brain injuries. Rugby will soon follow…I guarantee it. Helmets may prevent your skull from cracking open, but it doesn’t stop your soft brain from slamming into the inside of your hard skull upon impact.
      • As Seinfeld put it, “We were participating in many activities that were cracking our heads. We looked at the situation…we chose not to avoid these activities, but to just make little plastic hats so we can continue our head-cracking lifestyles”. (From Seinfeld’s “I’m Telling you for the Last Time”).
    2. Just because many sports don’t require helmets, doesn’t mean they are safe for your brain. Rugby, soccer (hitting the ball with your head), and boxing are great examples of helmet-less, yet brain-damaging sports. Mohammad Ali, possibly the most famous boxer in history, now suffers from severe Parksinson’s, a disease common to head trauma. Though many cultures pride themselves on physical prowess in head-cracking activities (e.g. New Zealand and Rugby, the USA and Gridiron football), I’ve treated too many middle-age men in my clinic who regret all their sports-related head injuries.
    3. Post-concussive syndrome is no joke, leading to depression, emotional volatility, neurological disease, and aggression. However, if you want a comedic understanding of why men continue their ‘head-cracking lifestyles’, read my satirical article on “Blokitis”, aka “Bloke’s Disease”. Note, the first half of the article is a satirical description of this emerging disease amongst males. However, the middle portion of the article is not satirical, but in-depth analysis of how to treat post-concussive syndrome.

So I hope you understand where the Brain fits into Wellness, why it’s important, and what you can do right now to help your brain. Of course there are many other things you can do to help your brain, yet the above brain-friendly strategies are enough to get started.

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