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BellaOnline's Mental Health Editor
 

Brain Health

The brain is a complex organ, and serves us in many ways. The surprising thing about the brain is that whatever we focus on or do repetitively, we strengthen the associated area of the brain.

However, it is possible to over develop some areas and lose ability in others. Whenever we do anything it sparks a network of neurons that all fire together, and in doing so we strengthen the neural pathways connected to that specific network. It can be thought of a creating a well worn groove as you would if the tread the same path everyday.

The areas we do not use as much start to lose their connections to each other and abilities we once had can be lost. The good news is that it is never too late to create new pathways, by creating new habits and behaviours; therefore starting a new groove in the brain.

When you decide to learn a language for example, you have to engage a new neural network that will support the learning, that is why it can feel like you’ll never understand of 'get it' because you are starting from scratch. Once you get into the habit of it, it doesn’t take long before it becomes second nature.

It is the same as learning anything, it is always difficult at first until it becomes ingrained in us. There are different aspects of the brain that use different neurons; meaning that you may be good at quizzes but have not spatial awareness, or you are good at math and seeing patterns but cannot think logically.

The brain is so adaptable that we can alter it and rewire it by doing different activities that can prevent the brain from ageing, increase creativity and enhance your memory by doing certain exercises that help to stretch and expand the mind.

Here are a few ideas to help boost your brain health:

Count backwards from 250 minus 7 every time. You should be left with 5 by the time you get to the end. This helps to boost numerical ability.

Test your memory by covering the keyboard and writing the letters out on a piece of paper in the same format as the keyboard to test your memory skills.

Solve these anagrams to find a theme and your test verbal ability:

rageno

imel

rotcar

palep

alpinepep

(ideas taken from Neurobics; Chris Maslanka and David Owen)

Watch quizzes on the television, or do crosswords regularly to keep your brain active and always learning. The key to good brain health is staying active, testing yourself in ways that challenge you, learning new things and having a curiosity for life which makes you think about things in new ways that expand your mind and develop your ability to think logically and critically.

If you want to see more exercises check out the book on Amazon

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