How do you love your brain?
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I wanted to make this ‘kwik’ episode to remind you to romance and care for one of your most attractive assets: your mind. You can only love a person to the degree that you can love yourself. And a great place to start is loving your brain. After all, your brain is the control center for your body and is key to how we do everything from eating to learning to sleeping. We’ve learned more over the past decade about our brain than we have over the past millennium, so here are a few amazing facts about your brain.
Kwik Brain Facts
- Your brain contains about 100 billion brain cells. That’s on par with the number of stars in our galaxy.
- Each of these neurons can transmit about 1000 nerve impulses per second and make tens of thousands of synaptic connections with other neurons.
- A piece of your brain tissue the size of a grain of sand contains 100,000 neurons and 1 billion synapses – all of which are communicating with one another.
- If you laid out the blood vessels feeding your brain end to end, they’d stretch almost halfway to the moon!
- Brain information travels at about 260 miles per hour. Most F1 race cars top out at around 240 miles per hour.
- Your brain generates 12 – 25 watts of electricity — enough to power a low wattage LED light.
- The average brain has about 50 – 60,000 thoughts per day. Of course, the challenge (according to Deepak Chopra) is that 95% of those thoughts are the same ones you had yesterday.
- Your brain is capable of over 1,000 processes per second, making it more powerful than any existing computer.
- Your brain’s memory capacity is virtually unlimited.
How to L.O.V.E. Your Brain
L stands for Learn
- The science of neurogenesis and neuroplasticity state that in order to be able to create new brain cells and connections, you need two things: novelty and nutrition.
- Your brain loves novelty, so teach it new things.
- How are you improving you learning? What are you learning right now? How often do you read, listen to podcasts, or go to classes or conferences?
- I read 30 – 60 minutes a day and listen to an audiobook or podcast 30 – 60 minutes per day, generally when I am commuting or exercising.
O stands for Oxygen
- By oxygen, I mean anything that’s nutritious for your brain — including the air you breathe, the water you drink, and the foods you eat.
- The typical brain comprises about 2% of the body’s total weight but uses 20% of your energy.
- What you put in is what you take out.
- Make sure you are deep breathing (which we discussed, here) and taking brain breaks.
- Your brain is over 70% water, so stay hydrated.
- Eat the right brain foods as discussed in this Kwik Brain episode.
V stands for Vacation
- Both the mind and body need to disconnect every now and then so you can reconnect.
- There are many benefits in taking a break, including greater relaxation, a boost in productivity, increased creativity, and reduced long-term risk of potentially fatal ailments like heart disease.
- Even if you can’t take a vacation, make sure you take some time away from your digital devices regularly.
- Sleep is also critical for you to rest your brain and allow it to clear out the plaque that can lead to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Daily breaks will give you the rest and rejuvenation you need.
E stands for Exercise
- As your body moves, your brain grooves.
- Exercise increases your heart rate, pumps oxygen to your brain, and aids in the release of positive hormones which provide nourishing environments for the growth of new brain cells.
- Exercise stimulates neurogenesis and neuroplasticity.
- A recent UCLA study found that exercise increases growth factor in your brain, making it easier for your brain to create new neural connections.
The key to loving your brain is to schedule these four things
- If you don’t schedule it, it won’t happen!
- Remember that self-love and self-care are not selfish.
- What you appreciate, appreciates, grows, and flourishes. So follow your heart this Valentine’s Day — but take your brain with you.