Since becoming aware of the Amen Clinic, www.amenclinics.com , brain scans, and treatment tools , I’ve been much nicer to my brain, and I hope this year you will consider practical tools to treat your brain better, so you can love your brain, and change your life.
Instead of chocolates this Valentines, cut the sugar and increase attention to doing great things for your brain. The founder of the Amen clinic is Dr. Daniel Amen and he has written a great book “Change your brain, change your life.” His recommendations have helped thousands of people get healthier and lose weight, besides being more supportive to their brains.
So here’s some of Dr. Amen’s tips to consider for you and your loved ones.
1. Keep learning something new every day. How about 15 minutes to learn French or Spanish ? Or ways to restore old cars?
2.Dance. Movement and cardio is great for getting more oxygen to your brain. I was a folk dancer, Highland dancer, and social dancer. I chose never to drink alcohol, even as a teen because I wanted all the brain cells I was given. Now that I have seen the brain scans of alcohol damaged brains that look like Swiss cheese, I am even more thankful that booze is not bugging my brain.
3.Shut off the TV and go do something ! Dr. Amen says that watching TV is a “no-brain activity !
4. Eat nuts instead of sugar. How we feed our brains is important. I cut back on the
Christmas baking this past year, and opted for peanuts and almonds as snacks instead. Buy mixed nuts instead of chocolates for Valentines !
5.Break the routine of your life to stimulate new parts of your brain. Write a love note with your opposite hand, hug your wife in a new way, or shoot your rifle sighting with your other eye. Challenge your brain to make new connections !
6. Give hubby a metal water bottle so he drinks more water on the farm. We have installed a water cooler in our farm office for staff and customers. Dr. Amen says that even slight dehydration can raise stress hormones that can damage your brain over time. I like to add lemon slices to my water as I work at my desk. Avoid artificial sweeteners, sugar, caffeine. If you are addicted to coffee, you might want to start the withdrawal process as part of your love pact to your family.
7.Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish, fish oil and flax seed can help boost brain function. We are adding ground flaxseed to our protein shakes, cereal and yogurt for breakfast. You grow flax, now grind it and eat it for your brain health !
8.Give your wife a fruit basket of blue berries, strawberries, blackberries, cranberries, raspberries , oranges, red grapes, cherries and kiwis. These fruits are high in anti-oxidants which reduces the risk of developing cognitive impairment.
9. Eat a rainbow of vegetables at the family supper table, and have a family conversation. Families that dine together do fine together in my books. The best antioxidant veggies are Brussel sprouts, broccoli, beets, avocados, red bell peppers, and spinach. I have almost stopped buying ice berg lettuce, and am okay with the fact that my family calls me a “salad snob”. Spinach is far more nutrient rich, and I can’t wait until the garden grows again !
10. Donuts are simple carbohydrates, and cause brain fog. Please stop serving them as the snack at farm events. Seriously. Spend the snack budget on veggie trays, yogurts, cheese, apples, bananas, and water with lemon or green tea. Almonds are expensive, but hemp heart snacks(www.manitobaharvest.com ) and peanuts would make a real impression with your clients !
Love your Brain:
1.Wear a helmet on the ATV, bike, and snowmobile.
2.Think positive healthy thoughts. Feed your mind great things.
3.Journal 5 things you are thankful for each night before sleeping.
4.Breathe fresh air deeply, and go for long walks everyday.
5.Solve conflicts, deal with the tough issues “the undiscussabulls™” , seek peace.
6.Exercise to stimulate the happy hormones to your brain…endorphins.
7.Enhance your memory skills.
8. Make beautiful music a part of your life..your playlist or your piano or guitar.
9.Take head injuries seriously, even minor ones. No more soccer ball head butting.
10. Take medications when needed, eg for depression.
11.Touch others often ( appropriately…shoulder hugs are good )
12.Make beautiful smells a part of your life…soft soaps are great ! Flowers, too !
13.Sing and hum whenever you can. Whistling can’t hurt either !
14. Stop trying to read other people’s minds.
16.Wear your seatbelt.
17.Stop judging difficult people, try to understand how their brain might function.
18.Embrace your problems and get help to solve them with professional expertise.
19. Be intentional about the plans you have and want for your love and life.
20 .Don’t focus too much on what other people think of you. Be special.
I have a coaching friend who was kicked in the forehead by her horse. She figures it will take 7 years of healing to get her back to her pre-accident status. Our brains are very plastic, and they grow and change based on how we treat them.
I think a lot of farm families would enjoy better social , emotional and physical health if they started paying more attention to the cells in their skull.
I also read the book “ The Woman who Changed Her Brain” by Barbara Arrowsmith-Young, which is a great encouragement to folks with learning struggles. She runs a school in Toronto, so seek her out. For farm families dealing with stroke, you will enjoy the book , “ My Stroke of Insight” by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor who rebuilt her brain from the inside out. As I have 2 friends who had strokes before the age of 60, this is also on my radar.
The books you read and the people you meet will have a profound effect on your life.
I wish for you to love your self, love one another, and love your neighbour. We all get to make choices on how we show that love, so get started by loving your brain, and see what changes transpire.