dDespite feeling like the greatest in the world when you solve your Wordle puzzle of the day in two tries, do you really know how to keep your brain healthy?
The first step is to determine the definition of brain health, and neuroscientist Hayley Nelson, PhD, likes the World Health Organization’s definition best: “Brain health is a state in which each individual can perform their own capacities and optimize their cognitive, emotional, psychological and behavioral functioning capacities to deal with life situations”.
To put it bluntly, “taking care of your brain is essential [for your] overall health and well-being,” says Dr. Nelson, because the organ plays an important role in nearly every system in the body, from thoughts and emotions to digestion, hormone regulation, and more.
So how do you support your noggin? Start by considering the list of amazing things to look for from Dr. Nelson, which he shares below. (And, of course, see your doctor if you have any pressing concerns.)
If you’re still looking for a little extra support, you can try supplementing your diet with ingredients like vitamin B6, B12 and coffee cherry extract, which are found in Neuriva Plus capsules. The formula is designed to help support holistic and proactive brain health through six key cognitive indicators: learning, memory, focus, reasoning, accuracy and concentration*.
But remember: While using the signs and suggestions of Dr. Nelson, don’t forget that there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to the brain. Because it’s part of what makes you unique.
Keep scrolling for 5 surprising signs of brain health with tips on how to support it.
1. You know how to relax
Prioritize sleep is the ever-present line on your list of intentions. Consider this again. “If you can fall asleep easily, stay asleep all night, and wake up rested and refreshed, that’s a good indicator of overall health and well-being,” says Dr. Nelson.
Beyond daytime fatigue or sluggishness, sleep quality also affects concentration. According to Dr. Nelson, your ability to focus, respond to situations easily and quickly, and stay focused while completing a task (ahem, all areas Neuriva Plus is formulated to target*) are signs of health brain, and can be significantly improved. with better sleep
2. You can regulate your emotions
Dr. Nelson notes that “being able to calm yourself during times of high stress through deep breathing, exercise, or meditation demonstrates your ability to control your nervous system.” Another factor that affects emotional regulation is the ability to apply reasoning skills in high-stress situations.
On the other hand, repetitive thoughts (especially negative ones) prove the opposite, according to Dr. Nelson, and can be precursors to depression or anxiety. “Being able to ‘let things go’ easily, have healthy relationships and manage stress well are signs of a [brain health]she says. So go ahead, book that yoga class, start a journal, or sign up for therapy—whatever helps you feel (and maintain) that healthy balance.
3. You learn quickly and retain what you learn
Have you picked up a guitar lately? Have you tried your hand at sourdough? According to Dr. Nelson, learning new things is vital, and it’s never too early — or too late — to start training your brain.
“Keeping your brain active is just as important as keeping your body active!” says Dr. Nelson. “Having a reliable memory and the ability to learn new things are great indicators [brain health].”
4. You have a healthy gut
Did you know you have a second brain? It’s true, according to Dr. Nelson, and it’s called the enteric nervous system. “[It] it processes sensory information in the gut and relays it to the brain, which in turn sends signals back to the gut to adjust its function,” says Dr. Nelson.
“When the GI system is irritated, it can send signals to the central nervous system to cause mood swings,” he continues. “Certain strains of probiotics have been shown to have positive effects on psychological symptoms … and perceived stress in healthy human volunteers.”
5. You have a comfortable—thriving, even!—social life.
Extroverts, rejoice. Dr. Nelson notes that people with closer relationships live longer and happier lives, and have shown slower cognitive decline during aging.
Socialization requires strong perception, good judgment, and strong decision-making skills, which are key to cognitive accuracy, according to a 2014 study. In general, relationships also increase healthy behaviors and positive emotions, he says Dr. Nelson. “This social support leads to … less stress hormones and thus greater longevity and brain health.” An excuse to plan a trip with a group of friends? Yes, it’s a no-brainer.
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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.