Our brains are incredible creations, stronger than any machine in the world! The brain’s processing is more powerful than we can imagine. God certainly wired up humans with an incredible gift of thinking.
Unfortunately, it’s often out of sight, out of mind (no pun intended) when we talk about brain health. It too easy to neglect our brains and suffocate the possibility of our clearest and best thinking.
I’ve been reading a book called Think, a light-hearted read about those things which we might want to question, for example, popular conspiracy theories. Near the end of the book, the author states common-sense ideas for taking care of our brains.
Your brain responds to the food you eat. If you fill your brain with leafy greens, veggies, beans, lean meat, nuts, and plenty of water, it will work with power and clarity. If you do the opposite, you’ll notice a major drop off. Eating well is tied to thinking clearly and to our moods and attitudes. A season without sugar and processed foods can help curb a tendency toward depression or anxiety.
Sleep is underrated in our society. We burn the candle at both ends, often for no reason. We stay up too late watching stuff. We leave lights on. We don’t have an evening routine. We overbook ourselves and stress ourselves out. In general, North Americans don’t have good sleep habits.
Sleeping well is the best thing you can do for your brain. My suggestions for good sleep are: 1) Charge your phone outside your bedroom and buy a cheap alarm clock if needed. 2) Lay out your clothes and shoes the night as a reminder that it’s bed time. 3) Remove the TV and laptop from your bedroom. 4) Drink hot tea early in the evening. 5) Don’t get stressed if you have a bad night of sleep; try again the next night. 6) Always pray before bed.
Most active bodies nurture a healthy brain. The brain was not designed to be sedentary and non-creative. Change the rhythm of your day. Take a walk during lunch. Do something with your hands. Look outside and dream. Find ways to be active in things you enjoy. The possibilities are limitless: hiking, nature photography, traveling, talking a walk with friends, and the list goes on. When I need to really think about something, I take a walk and things become clear.
Learning is another key to keeping your brain healthy. Just like a muscle atrophies without use, our brains become dull when we aren’t working hard to “exercise” them. Read, ask questions, solve problems, create solutions, make predictions about the future, and do anything you can to keep your brain active.
I’m writing this during the most unusual season I can remember, the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic and shutdown. Taking care of our brains becomes more important during this time when so many people are adhering to the shelter-in-place.
Consider how important your brain is to life and treat it kindly. Unlike cars that stop when they run out of fuel, our brains are amazing enough to operate a long time under strenuous and terrible conditions. Learn your brain’s signals of need and do all you can to help the most amazing machine in the world give glory to God!