5 S.M.A.R.T Ways to Strengthen Your Mind

Uncategorized Sep 24, 2018

When it comes to making decisions in your daily life, it is important that your decisions are made with clarity and come from a higher perspective. The stronger and healthier your mind, the better thought through and measured your decisions will be.

Check out the 5 S.M.A.R.T Ways To Strengthen Your Mind TODAY!

S – Socialize  

It makes such a difference in our mental and emotional states when we have positive and loving connections with other people. A recent study examined people’s brain activity using MRI scans showed that when people experienced rejection, loneliness or emotional disconnection, their brain lights up in the same way it does when they experience actual physical pain!  Think about it! We can strengthen our limbic system when we build and develop positive and supportive connections with other people. Make a concerted effort to socialize more.

However, be sure that the people you are socializing with are pouring goodness into your life. The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:33 “Don’t be fooled. Bad company corrupts good character.” It is very important to note that researchers also have found that we tend to mirror each other. So whoever we spend time with, chances are that we will become like them. Just try yawning around a few people and see how many of them start yawning too . . . What we do and how we feel can be socially, morally and ethically contagious. “By beholding we become changed.” Socialize well!

M – Menu

You are what you eat. What are you feeding your brain? The food you eat can affect your mood, the clarity of your mind and your physical health! Did you know that there is a connection between your ‘gut’, which by the way, is the largest part of your body at more than 30 feet (9 metres) long with a surface area 20 to 100 more than your skin? It is estimated that your gut contains a humongous 100 TRILLION bacteria . . . Talk about FOOD FOR THOUGHT!!

Scientists now say that your gut and brain are connected by nerves that go from the gut to the brain and chemicals produced by your gut bacteria that pass through your bloodstream to your brain. So if your diet is poor, guess what? Your brain can be affected too.

A healthy gut means a healthy mind and you can absolutely take steps to ensure the bacteria in your gut are the ‘healthy’ and ‘happy’ kind by choosing to consume foods that are conducive to your gut health. Now more than ever before, the benefits of wholesome, plant-based foods are being ‘discovered’ as optimal food choices for the gut, brain, and general whole body health. 

What do you have on your menu?

A – Action

“Exercise is the most potent, underutilized antidepressant” Bill Phillips

Did you know that physical activity affects how we feel? In a study conducted in New Zealand, it was shown that people’s body positioning affected how they felt and how they expressed themselves. People who sit for long periods of time in a slumped posture were less motivated, fearful and their mood and stress levels had been negatively affected.

Have noticed the increase in the popularity of ‘sit to stand’ desks in the workplace? These are desks that can be raised and lowered so that you can change from a prolonged sitting position to a standing position while you work. ‘Sitting’ for long periods of time is now said to be the new ‘smoking’ as it relates to your health and your mood.

Physical exercise, on the whole, has also been acknowledged to improve your mood and chase away depression as exercise releases a range of chemical neurotransmitters. Some of the chemicals released are endorphins, which triggers positive feelings in your body as well as dopamine, and serotonin, which also plays a major role in regulating your mood.

Another reason why exercise is a good way to strengthen your mind is that exercise burns up the chemical cortisol which is produced under stress such as anger, anxiety or fear. The cortisol inflames and will damage your organs but when you exercise, this chemical is reduced or negated and your mind and body in a much healthier state.

R – Rest 

When you don’t get enough rest your limbic system is impacted. The limbic system in your brain has several functions and is the seat of your emotions, memory, motivation and several automatic bodily functions, including your immune system. So when you don’t get enough sleep all of these functions are negatively affected. New brain cells are generated in the limbic system during sleep. However, when you are sleep deprived this process is slowed down considerably.

Studies by the National Sleep Foundation show that the average adult needs to have 7-9 hours of sleep each night, teenagers need 8 to 10 hours and school-age children 9-11 hours. So let me ask you, are you getting enough sleep? Are you one of those people who say, “I only need a couple of hours sleep. ” If you are, you might just want to take some time to think about the role sleep has in generating new brain cells and strengthening your mind.

Did you know that lack of physical activity, caffeine, and even night lights can be contributing factors for those who have problems sleeping? Exercising at some point during the day is a great way to aid sleep. Consuming caffeinated products blocks a chemical called adenosine in our brain that causes you to feel sleepy. The effects of the caffeine actually stay in your body for up to 14 hrs!

In addition, did you know that artificial light can have a really hurt your ability to sleep? And guess what some of the biggest culprits are? Electronic gadgets and tv! Be honest, do you take your smartphone to bed with you? Do you sit in bed checking your messages or catching up with news before you go to sleep? If you do, then you should reconsider because these devices give off a blue light that throws your circadian rhythms (this determines when we feel bright eyed and bushy tailed and when we feel tired) off its 24-hour cycle.

T – Talk To Yourself

Not only are we what we eat but we are also what we tell ourselves. We are what we think. Have you ever wondered how your limbic system knows which emotion to feel? Think about this for a minute . . . Your skull and scalp have pain receptors running through them so before a neurosurgeon begins to operate, the patient has to be given an anesthetic. BUT, once the surgeon gets to the inside of the brain, no anesthetic is needed!!

Wait, no anesthetic? No, this is absolutely true. Your brain is numb – it has no feelings whatsoever so you can prod it, poke it or even cut it and there would be no feeling. Dr. Darren Morton in his book Live More Happy, asks this thought provoking question to get to the point of why this matters, “If your limbic system has no feelings itself, how does it know what emotion to excite and when?” This is one of those $6 Billion questions in response to which a light bulb should be flashing.

The simple answer to this question is that you actually tell your brain what to feel! How? Well, your emotional system – the Limbic system is hard-wired to a couple of other parts of your body and it receives messages from them. Firstly, your Limbic system listens to your language and it takes its cue from what’s coming from this area of the brain located in the higher level thinking part. So, your self - talk is going to be critical to how you feel.

What you say to others is also being registered in the limbic system too, so it is important that you speak positively to others – it’s a win-win situation.

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