6 Habits to Improve Your Memory and Boost Your Brain Health

Thursday, February 18, 2016

From thought patterns to emotions, every facet of human expression dwells within the extraordinary capacity of our gray-and-white matter. How does this mysterious three-pound organ called the brain hold such sway over the matters of life, death, consciousness, perception, sleep and so much more?

And, does this brain we were born with achieve its optimal state, then fail, little by little, and inevitably, as each year passes?

Sandra Bond Chapman, Ph.D., founder and chief director of the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas and author of Make Your Brain Smarter, addressed these questions in an interview I held with her for my book Kensho: A Modern Awakening a few years back. I recently caught up with her again and learned even more about one of my passions: preserving and improving the brain's capacity.

Chapman is quick to point out that our life expectancy is longer than ever before. Yet, while we take steps to look after our physical health, we rarely pay enough attention to maintaining brain health. The good news, she believes, is that there is hope for us all: When you develop new interests, pursue hobbies or perform specific brain exercises, you enhance your brain's ability to become more proficient, and at the same time, expand memory.

The science of neuroplasticity confirms this rule. Simply put, you have considerable control over your own brain function, since much depends on what you experience, and how you use your brain.

"Maintaining productivity as an effective decision-maker, innovator, strategist and planner necessitates continued development and sharpening to take advantage of the brain's vast capacities," Chapman said. However: "Neglecting your cognitive health and allowing your brain to lose its mental edge with routine [life activities] rather than innovative thinking has unnecessary and deleterious economic, social and personal ramifications.

"The longer we are living," Chapman continued, "the more competitive the marketplace becomes, the more complex our social fabric grows, the more imperative it becomes that we leverage our most precious resource, our brain."
 

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