Once you stop doing sports your muscles will tell you that it’s high time to do a few sad squats in front of the mirror. You brain, however… It’s safely contained inside your thick skull and not so easily activated. There are ways, of course, but the price… So here is a list of things that will help you keep your brain fit, your mind clear, and your IQ high at all times. I bet you didn’t even realize that you lack all that, huh?
- Sunlight aka vitamin D
- Essential Oils
- Binaural beats
- Tidying up is not just putting stuff in order
- Get rid of garbage light
Sunlight aka vitamin D
“What do you mean I lack sunlight? There it is, shining brighter than ever!”
Exactly. Everybody except for California dwellers, who spend about 5 hours under the sun daily, should brace themselves for some bad news. Sunlight helps the body synthesize vitamin D, and living without it gets cloudy like a November evening. For a long time, it was thought that only kids need vitamin D. It helps deliver calcium to muscles and bones and they develop correctly: muscles get the necessary strength and tone, and bones get density so that a child doesn’t get rickets. The necessity for the adults to take this micronutrient wasn’t even discussed: it was considered that a grown-up cannot have a vitamin D deficit because all people of 18 years old and over are constantly subjected to ultra-violet rays. Not quite so. The body can synthesize vitamin D only if the rays fall on your skin under a certain angle, you’re not wearing any sunblock and not living in a polluted city, and you spend no less than two hours in the sun daily to top it all off. That means that basically nobody’s body can synthesize a sufficient amount of vitamin D. And without it we become frustrated, think slower, easily fall into dismay and get sulky, and our brain gets really worked up.
It is an amazingly healthy natural product, easy to apply and available any season. Essential oils are concentrated pleasure of a variety of scents… and stimulate the brain to work, mind you!
They improve our mood and make us feel better. Therapeutic experience of using essential oils counts thousands of years. Sophisticated aroma-therapeutic formulations with burning candles and aroma lamps should be left to professionals. We suggest a different view on these evaporating floating substances. They can really help you concentrate and think better. A sense of smell is something we inherited from our ancestors, which influences our brain activity, which used to be a matter of life and death. So, here’s an incomplete list of brain-friendly aromas:
- Purple sage is aromatic tree resin used in churches for censing. You can purchase a piece of incense, light it up and cense the room you work in. Incense essential oil contains serotonin, on of major neuroеtransmitters, which improves the mood and emotional background. It’s not called the happiness hormone for nothing.
- Grapefruit stimulates sensual and creative dreams.
- Ylang-ylang calms you down, brings optimism, and activates mental processes.
- Patchouli moderately tones you up, activates sexuality, gives you confidence and courage.
- Anise calms you down, brings optimism, and activates mental processes.
- Jasmin stimulates brainwork.
- Peppermint increases concentration abilities and improves memory. It also helps with mental fatigue.
- Lemon helps attention concentration, improves memory, increases mental work accuracy and brain’s speed. Wormwood has the same properties.
- Carnation activates memory and clears the mind.
- Balm – sharpens the mind, improves memory and allows for quick adaptation and decision making.
- Verbena oil – eliminates mental chaos and clears the mind.
- Cinnamon boosts fantasy and imagination.
Millions of electric impulses are generated in the brain every second, which creates fluctuations called brain beats. There was a method developed in the 50’s called electroencephalography (EEG), which allowed to observe brain activity and register certain frequencies specific for it in different states. Up until now, there are several types of brain activity: betta, alpha, theta and delta. The brain reflects their combined activity. However, during different periods just one of them starts dominating.
- Delta-beat has a frequency of less than 4 Hz and occurs during seep sleep.
- Theta-beat (4-7Hz) is connected to deep relaxation.
- Alpha-beat (7-13Hz) occurs on EEG the moment when a person feels strong sleepiness or relaxation during staying awake.
- Betta-beat (13-40Hz) is registered during arousal, increased concentration of attention or anxiety.
Use audio-video stimulation or just download an app on your phone and test this marvel of science yourself. It is perfectly safe after all.
“I knew that coffee is healthy!”, say you and without any guilt buy your fifth cappuccino, but… Caffeine is indeed healthy for the brain. And not only. Coffee can save from pain. It is known that those who spend 6-7 hours at the computer experience unpleasant sensations in the neck vertebra, shoulders and wrists. The researchers compared the levels of discomfort between workers, treating themselves to cup or two during office hours and those who abstain from coffee.
The scientists found out to their surprise that people who don’t drink coffee experience more suffering. And if the body isn’t used to caffeine, you can use coffee or coke to help even with a strong headache. So, coffee soothes pain, but that’s pretty much where its usefulness for office workers ends. It turns out that apart from caffeine it contains trigonelline – another alkaloid helping regeneration of dendrids and axons – arms of neurons, which connect neural cells of the brain with each other. That means that regular coffee consumption, as paradoxical as it may sound, keeps brains working abilities in the best possible shape. But don’t rush to chug coffee yet. No more than three cups a day, ladies and gentlemen, otherwise there would be no benefit.
Tidying up is not just putting stuff in order
The fact that a messy house affect quality of life is intuitively understandable, though furiously denied buy slobs. But can a mess affect the brain activity? Yes, it can. Stephanie McMains and Sabine Kastner, psychologists at Princeton University discovered that the more junk you got in the house, the lower the ability to concentrate on the current task. We get more anxious and the stress levels increase. A mess can even make us eat less healthy food! At least that’s what scientists think. The dirtier was the kitchen, the more cookies the participants of the experiment ate.
Besides the fact that tidying up is a physical activity, which is good for the brain itself, neat and clean room helps the brain categorize and organize information. Marie Kondo, an acknowledged specialist in the world of tidying up (her books and shows had instantly become bestsellers) says, “When you clean up the house, you also clean up your life and even your past.”
If you often watch messy piles of junk, your cognitive resources are wasted not on work useful for brain, but on your own “passive” exploration of the said junk, which leads to using up your resources, heightened level of cortisone and increased absent-mindedness. Neat surroundings and no mess will help your brain stay clean, concentrated and stress-free.
Get rid of garbage light
Light can be as harmful as fast food. Artificial light is a comparatively new invention in the history of mankind, and our brain isn’t used to it, of course. The brain feels depressed and cheerless because of the fact that we have to work all days long in unnatural conditions. Plus, it doesn’t get enough sunlight – a necessary condition for working. You don’t feel it, but it’s true. And the moment you try to cut down on the artificial light and its disadvantages, you’ll feel the difference.
Photodiode and fluorescent lamps are a straight way to mitochondrion aging, which means that same for the entire body. Luckily, you don’t need to quit the office work to avoid the downside of artificial lighting. Try to minimize its harm.
Go out under the sunlight during the brakes. Put some red photodiode red lamps over your computer, which will balance out the extra blue color coming from the screen, or put special glasses when you get to work at your computer.