This article is adapted from AmenClinics blog.
The quality of our decisions determines our success in all that we do. Here are 8 tips you can use to help you make better brain healthy decisions every day:
- When your brain is troubled, you are much more likely to act in impulsive, careless ways that put you at risk for illness and early death. When your brain works right, you are more likely to act in thoughtful, conscientious ways that help you live longer. Prioritize your brain health and better behavior will follow.
- Nothing is more important to your health than the quality of the decisions you make in your life. And the quality of your decisions is a direct reflection of the physical health of your brain. Taking time to look at and upsize your brain health may be the most important decision you make to live strong and long.
- Decreased activity in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) has been associated with lack of forethought and poor judgment. When the PFC does not get enough blood flow, you don’t have a good working brake on your impulses. Increasing blood flow to this area with brain-healthy habits, along with supplements, such as green tea and rhodiola, will help a person make better decisions, leading to a longer and happier life.
- Head injuries, even minor concussions from the past, show up on SPECT scans and may affect your behavior and feelings years later. We often have to ask people many times, “Have you ever had any sort of injury to your head?” before they recall the incident that hurt their brain. Recognizing and rehabilitating these injuries will dramatically increase the quality of all of your decisions.
- Addictions, including drug, food and sexual addictions, are made worse when we literally “wear out” the brain’s pleasure centers by the constant exposure to highly stimulating activities, such as video games, text messaging, sexting, internet pornography, and scary movies. Take inventory of the adrenaline producing activities in your life: eliminate unhealthy ones, take breaks with activities (even good ones) that are becoming compulsive.
- An overly optimistic worry-free, attitude (without forethought and planning which are prefrontal cortex activities) lead people to underestimate risks and approach them in lackadaisical fashion, decreasing longevity. Be optimistic, as this is good for longevity; but balance this trait with a healthy level of anxiety and careful thinking.
- People who are persistent achievers with stable families, habits, routines did the best in longevity studies. Consider your daily and weekly routines: can you make them more brain-friendly? For example, can you walk somewhere that you always drive? Can you exchange an hour of TV for playing brain games?
- To make better decisions make sure to optimize the blood flow to your brain by stabilizing your blood sugar (make sure you eat healthy and often), getting good sleep, limiting alcohol and caffeine, and eliminating nicotine.
Because the quality of your decisions determines your success in all that you do, one of the 12 steps of the Amen Solution @ Home online program focuses specifically on improving the your decision making abilities. If you are interested in this program, be sure to use promo code ECENTER4 at checkout to receive 15% off.
Additionally, here are 9 more helpful tips you can use to make better brain healthy decisions every day:
- If we want our children to make better decisions for their lifetime we need to do a much better job of taking care of their brains. The brain is not fully efficient until we are twenty-five years old. To avoid disrupting early brain development, help young people avoid smoking, substance abuse, brain trauma, a lousy diet, stress and poor sleep.
- The Amen Clinic’s research shows a new burst of increased activity in the prefrontal cortex after the age of fifty. We become more thoughtful and more able to focus on what really matters in life. Have a few wise friends over age fifty who can give you valuable insight when making decisions.
- When fighting addictions or everyday temptations of any kind, always keep these two words in mind: “Then what?” Whenever you think about doing or saying something, ask yourself about the consequences of your behavior. This question can serve as a “slow down” or “stop” sign to a brain that is about take you down a bad path.
- A hallmark of intelligence and what separates us from other animals is our ability to think of the consequences of our behavior before acting on an impulse. It is the internal dialogue that accompanies “Then What?”
- A high percentage of people who struggle with addictions also have ADD or ADHD. When left untreated, a person has less ability to control his or her impulses, setting them up for significant health problems, poor decisions, and early death. Natural ways to treat ADHD, include intense aerobic exercise, a very healthy diet, a multiple vitamin, fish oil, and supplements (such as green tea, rhodiola, l-tyrosine) or medication (such as Ritalin or Adderall) to enhance prefrontal cortex function.
- Being overweight is damaging to your prefrontal cortex, and can have a negative impact on the decision making part of the brain. Get your weight under control, starting now, will help you enhance your health and longevity.
- Practicing self-control is a good exercise to strengthen your prefrontal cortex. The more you use it the stronger it gets. To develop your PFC, practice saying no to the things that are not good for you and over time you will find it easier to do.
- Low levels of omega three fatty acids have also been associated with ADHD, depression, Alzheimer’s disease and obesity – all brain issues that lead to poor decision-making. You can optimize your omega three fatty acid levels by eating more fish or taking fish oil.
- Keep a One Page Miracle. On one piece of paper write down the specific goals you have for all the main areas of your life. Then ask yourself every day, “Is my behavior getting me what I want?” This simple but profound activity can be of tremendous help in encouraging better daily choices that add up to a better life.
To learn more on how to make better brain healthy decisions, or to start optimizing the health of your brain right now, please contact us or visit www.theamensolution.com. As a Healing For The Soul/Healing For The Soul friend, use promo code ECENTER4 for a 15% discount and priority shipping.
Here’s to your (brain) health!