As I have stated in previous newsletters, the quality of one’s life is directly linked to the brain’s ability to function.  The brain runs the show and therefore should be given top priority.  The brain, like other parts Along with increasing circulation to the part of the brain that deals with learning and memory, exercise also promotes production of nerve pathway protection and improves neuron development as well as decreasing cellular deteriorationof the body, can heal and improve if given the right resources to do so.  My previous newsletter focused on some nutritional ways to feed the brain.  The goal of this newsletter is to share some additional ways brain function can be improved.
1.  Movement
Along with increasing circulation to the part of the brain that deals with learning and memory, exercise also promotes production of nerve pathway protection and improves neuron development as well as decreasing cellular deterioration.  With exercise, the number of mitochondria within our brain cells are increased.  This is where energy is made.  Fatigue is the number one complaint of people today and it begins in the brain.  It has been shown that exercise can push back cognitive decline ten to fifteen years.  Another type of motion has been shown to be particularly beneficial to the brain and that is slow movement with focus.  Doing this stimulates the growth of new nerve pathways.  Automatic movements without focus does not accomplish this.  Tai Chi has been shown to be very effective at brain and nervous system enhancement because it is done slowly with focused attention.  Meditative walking is also good where one’s attention is on each step.

2.  Get enough rest
Forty million Americans suffer from a sleep disorder.  Americans today get 20% less sleep than people did 100 years ago.  Sleep deprivation decreases our cognitive function and affects our nervous system similarly to alcohol.  It can cause long term damage to brain cells and does not allow for repair to take place since most repair occurs during sleep.

3.  Take time for fun.
A playful attitude is good for our brains and our immune systems.  It increases our creative juices.  Play was an important component of Einstein’s formula for success.  Whenever he would get stuck on a problem he would play his violin or go boating.  Many times as he would do that the answers would come to him out of nowhere.

4.  Control stress
Whole books are written about the harmful effects of stress.  It increases the production of inflammation causing free radicals.  It interferes with the body’s efforts to make energy.  Stress hormones are toxic to the memory center of the brain and decreases the production of neurotransmitters, which are necessary for cellular communication.  They are also toxic to the liver and the kidneys which are the biggest players in the body’s detoxification systems.
5.  Learn daily
Learning new things is rocket fuel for the brain.  The brain thrives on it.  Taking classes, reading books, learning new recipes and doing new and exciting things actually helps form new brain pathways.  New brain patterns equates to an increased sense of aliveness.

6.  Make diversity a habit
Doing things routinely the same way all the time squeezes our vitality and restricts how we think and feel.  Doing things that are new and different does the opposite.  Diversity is essential for forming new brain pathways.

7.  Play music
Listening and playing music can be very good for the brain.  Music instruction has been shown to accelerate brain development in young children.  Why wouldn’t it also be beneficial to adults?  Music has been used as therapy for mental health issues and as a treatment for anxiety, depression, and chronic pain.  It seems logical that the regular use of music could help keep one’s brain functioning optimally.  The auditory system is one route to the brain and is stimulated by music which results in an increase in neuroplasticity (new nerve pathways).  It also covers some of the previously mentioned items.  Playing music can be fun, it can involve learning something new, and it can decrease stress.

Dr. Dennis K. Crawford
Crawford Natural Health Center
Call Us: 916-962-3101
10231 Fair Oaks Boulevard
Fair Oaks, CA 95628