Did you know that certain everyday activities can change your brain-mind system for good or bad? The brain-mind is a fascinating process that captures new data every day and helps you make better decisions. Thanks to advances in neuro-imaging, scientists now understand that changes to the brain affect how we interact with the world. Those changes can either help or hinder your progress.
Today, we’ll show you five everyday activities you can adopt to improve your lifestyle and better serve the people around you.
1. Read novels
To most people, reading a novel seems like a waste of precious time. However, reading stories, especially ones with philosophical ideas, expands the mind, improving your brain-mind system. Research from Emory university established that reading a novel changes brain connectivity.
Anecdotal evidence shows that reading novels enhances critical thinking and deepens wisdom in the body.
Students who read philosophical works reported that it opened the wisdom centers in the neocortex. However, if the book was simply a didactic, linear, logical book stating those same philosophies in concept form, they didn’t stick unless each concept was followed by a case study, story, or an in-depth example.
In other words, stories change minds, a concept we’ve used at Mindstory Coaching Academy to help people reorganize their core beliefs into story form. As Plato once said, thousands of years ago, those who control the stories rule the world. By extension, Those who control their inner stories exert more power and control over their lives.
Other benefits of reading novels include:
● Improves your ability to connect with others
● Deepens empathy and the ability to make better mental models of other people
● Reduces stress by disengaging and redirecting the mind
● Improves sleep quality (another crucial everyday activity that enhances the brain)
● Slows down mental decline in later life
2. Learn new skills
Learning new things generates changes in neural connections. Acquiring new knowledge and skills activates new areas in your brain. For example, learning a new language, taking up a musical instrument, physical activity, and learning a new piece of software or tech improves brain functions through myelination.
Myelination is a process through which nerve fibers develop a fatty sheath that insulates and protects the brain’s messages to other muscles in the body, resulting in better or coordinated movement.
While myelination is especially important during childhood, it becomes less frequent and slower over the years. Learning new skills activates it again and boosts mental performance.
So, whether you learn as part of your work or pursuing a hobby, it prevents brain-mind ailments and keeps your mind youthful.
3. Get a good night’s sleep
Sleep dramatically affects your brain-mind system. At Harvard Medical School, scientists proved that sleeping only four hours a night for just three days causes the death of certain neurons.
During sleep, the body performs critical physical, mental, and emotional clear outs. Going without sleep is akin to letting trash accumulate in the house for a few weeks.
Sleep also helps you connect with your higher self and spurs spiritual rejuvenation. Dreaming, for example, enables you to process both past and present experiences, turning them into more profound wisdom for the future.
Among the benefits of a good night’s sleep include:
● Keeps your heart healthier
● Help reduce stress
● Reduces inflammation
● Improves memory and alertness
● Helps the body repair and heal itself
For better sleep;
● Go to bed and wake up at the same time (make it routine)
● Increase light exposure during the day, which helps adjust your circadian rhythm
● Turn off electronic devices in the evening to reduce blue-light exposure.
● Avoid caffeine later in the day.
● Consider supplements like lavender, glycine, Ginkgo biloba, magnesium, or a melatonin supplement.
● Optimize the bedroom environment by making it darker and cooler
● Try yoga inversion exercises where your head is below your heart for a few minutes.
4. Bring down your body fat percentage
Excessive body fat negatively affects the brain-mind system. According to Paul Thompson, a researcher at the University of California, a large percentage of body fat reduces the brain’s size in older adults.
After a certain age, overweight people seem to have a brain that’s 16 years older than it should be according to their chronological age. Fat tends to clog arteries, which means that less oxygen reaches the brain.
In contrast, losing body fat percentage to a healthy level increases brain size in adults and ensures all organs receive more oxygen.
One of the most effective ways to trim off the excess body fat is to create a positive body in the form of a “Mind Story”. Picture yourself stepping on the scale, weighing what you want to weigh. Imagine yourself measuring your waist or hips or wherever your body tends to store fat and seeing the measuring tape at the number you want.
Visualize fitting into a piece of cloth you cannot fit into right now. Imagine seeing yourself in the mirror at the lower weight. Visualization changes your reticular activation system — the way your brain filters what you see and experience day to day. It wants to match that with the images you feed your mind, so you will more naturally change life habits to reach your goal.
The trick is not to keep changing the images. Keep the same images and repeat the imagination exercise regularly for a few months, and then it will go on autopilot.
Additionally, find out your resting or basal metabolic rate. It might surprise you to learn that your body doesn’t burn that many calories when inactive. That should prompt you to adjust your diet. Try eating half of what you usually consume. Adopt an active lifestyle, and watch your body and mind improve.
Don’t worry if you can’t sit still in the lotus position. Let‘s’ redefine mediation. Numerous studies prove the excellent effect that a meditative state of mind, is more about maintaining a certain kind of brain wave. These brain waves change everything. For example, research conducted by Dr. Sara Lazar of Massachusetts General Hospital proved that half an hour of meditation for eight weeks produces lasting positive effects on the brain.
The clinical trials demonstrated that meditation increases grey matter density, the hippocampus, and other areas. Also, it leads to higher learning capacity, less stress, more capacity for introspection, etc.
You don’t have to sit in the lotus position to enjoy the benefits of meditation. Just bring more mindfulness to daily activities. Focus on the present moment and the task at hand. The opposite of this is multi-tasking, rushing, or doing something while wanting to be doing something else. That creates inner war, and a fracturing of your state of mind. Anything that puts you at harmony with the moment, is what you’re looking for. Walk in nature, play with your dog, do something creative, do a recreation activity that requires you to stay focused in the present moment, sit by the window and watch the birds.
Your brain-mind state significantly affects the quality of your life. As demonstrated above, a few vital everyday activities can substantially improve that state and change your life for the better.
So, read more fiction, meditate, increase physical activity to cut down on excessive body fat, make sleep a priority, learn something new every day. These are simple yet effective habits that should multiply your productivity, happiness, and general well-being if adopted and practiced consistently.
If you’d like more tools on how to improve your brain-mind functioning, get the “MindStory Inner Coach” book and sample neuro-blueprints for free here: