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Energy & the Power to Direct Brain Change

14 Jun

I don’t start many sentences with “I believe”. It feels like an irrevocable moral contract of some kind – something never to be taken lightly. Right now, I have a couple of those rattling around.
I believe in energy and the body’s power to gently guide that energy to get results.

Let me explain.

We live our lives in these things made mostly of water, fueled by chemical and electrical activity – that’s energy. With all things that run on energy, the right mix of elements – all those key components to fire the mechanism properly—is pretty important for optimum functioning. If our goal is to maintain a mixture that supports living in a particular way, tracking those balances, as if watching a monitor, is necessary. Not too much and not too little but always fluid and flexible.

I believe that we can reset those balances by doing course corrections, big and small, along the way.

Note the studies examining BNDF – a little protein that we know is released during exercise. This little protein has the power to tap into DNA and make something happen. BNDF actually unlocks a rule programmed in DNA, found specifically on chromosome 11, and triggers a particular sequence of events that tells the body to create new cells – researchers believe that that sequence triggers the creation of new neurons.

Think about that for a second.

Every time I step on the elliptical or go out for a vigorous walk I am telling my body that I want more neurons… I want to grow. That is not just energy but that is power.

That is one protein and one tiny set of instructions in our DNA but one that can be seen in the lab – today. Not science fiction. Not voodoo or mysticism. One we can activate personally every single day.

Just imagine the possibilities as this branch of research deepens and scientist continue to unlock the mysteries of the relationship between our behaviors and our bodies. Goose bumps, right?

This piece was originally published on www.rollingmulliganpublishing.com/blog. 

Being Brain Healthy: Be Mentally Engaged

31 Mar

I’ve talked, a lot, about how engaging your brain is as easy as thinking about a sensory experience – dive in more deeply and tap into more of your senses. Those thoughts can activate your brain in very distinct and nourishing ways.

spices

 

Another really cool way to be mentally engaged is to actively direct your thoughts – guide your thoughts both to and away from just about anything. This can take many forms but the most common methods are through some kind of focusing or centering activity like practicing yoga, meditation, mindfulness, or other directed/guided techniques.

How meditation and mindfulness changing your brain is a pretty hot topic in research right now. There is growing evidence to support that directing your thoughts through a variety of methods can help you:
• Reduce stress
• Increase both focus and creativity
• Reverse memory loss
• Maximize feelings of well-being
• Decrease depression symptoms
• Boost energy
• Improve mood
• Improve quality of sleep
• Control inflammation
• Elevate outlook on life
• Create feelings of personal control

That is a pretty attractive bundle of benefits. Since meditation and mindfulness have no known adverse side effects, honestly, there is no downside.

Pause on the rocks

I believe that the key factor behind all the evidence is this: practicing a method that allows you to direct how you are thinking makes it possible for you to control chemical releases in your brain. Think about that. You can change your brain chemistry by directing your thoughts…. That is a pretty big concept.

The more actively you participate (the more engaged your efforts), the more likely you are to feel both the short term quality of life benefits and long term brain protective and building benefits.
Sometimes I have a hard time staying focused on one thing and find it difficult to keep my mind from drifting off. If you feel yourself drifting, bring your thoughts back to your breathing. Feel the rush of the cool air in through your nostrils and the warm feeling of an exhale. Your future brain thanks you!

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