5 Tips For Improved Brain Health In 2022
The new year is here! And maybe you are back at work adjusting to a post-holiday routine. You can feel your brain fogging up again as the minutes tick by. Your thoughts are scattered, your concentration is waning, and you’re unsure if it’s because of what just happened with that customer or because you haven’t taken much time for yourself lately.
What you do know is that you’re feeling moodier than ever – restless yet fatigued. And even in the moments where you try to unwind, all your mind seems to want to do is rewind and replay.
Without realizing it, you’ve wound up in a state of rumination. Before you know it, your worries and self-deprecating thoughts have swept you into a cycle of self-doubt and agitation. And when you try to suppress and avoid what you’re feeling and thinking, your mind burns out and affects your ability to make healthier, more productive choices for yourself – physical and mental.
So, what can you do to change that and feel happier, more focused, and less stressed in the upcoming year? Since the brain controls everything we do, commanding everything from our thoughts to emotions and movements, it’s up to us to take more control over the signals we send it.
If you are looking for ways to improve your brain health in 2022 that will positively impact all aspects of your health, here are five tips for incorporating into your life today!
Get adequate sleep
Sleep is the brain’s favorite food. When you don’t get sufficient sleep, your brain activity starts to slow down. This process prevents neurons from firing correctly, affecting how your body functions and disrupting your emotions and hormones. Since the brain is constantly working to process emotions, memories, and everything in between, sleep is critical for its rest. To get better sleep, don’t just aim to get more of it; focus on your sleep hygiene first, and think quality over quantity (but ultimately both).
Exercise pumps oxygen through your blood, nourishing every inch of you – including the weight you’ve been carrying on top of those shoulders! When we’re sedentary for too long, our brains start to break down just like any other muscle in our bodies would if we didn’t give it proper exercise. As they say, “we are only as strong as our weakest link.” So move around more often! Developing healthy habits now will have positive effects later as the year rolls on.
Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment. When you’re caught up in rumination, it’s tough to focus on anything else but the negative spiral of thoughts playing in your head.
However, when you’re mindful, you train yourself to be more aware and accepting of what’s happening around you – both good and bad. This allows for a greater sense of control over how you react to things mentally and emotionally.
Challenge yourself intellectually
“Use it or lose it.” It’s a saying that rings true when it comes to our brains! The more we challenge ourselves mentally (through puzzles, learning new skills, or taking on new responsibilities), our cognitive function improves. This is because our brains are plastic (as in, “neuroplasticity”), meaning they can change and grow based on our experiences and the things we learn.
This one may seem counterintuitive, but it’s essential to greater productivity! When you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, accept it as a message from your brain telling you to take a break. Taking short breaks throughout the day allows your brain time to rejuvenate so that when you return to your work, you’ll be able to do address it with a clear head and fresh perspective.
Implementing just one or two of these into your life today can make a big difference in your overall happiness and well-being. It’s never too late to get started on improving your mood and overall health. Start by downloading our COPE wellness app that can help improve your sleep, anxiety, depression, and monitor substance use.