Make Your Brain Happy

There are many ways to help keep yourself physically and mentally well. The problem often is that we overdo it in one area hoping that it will help us in the other. In life, it is all about finding the right balance.

The Chinese talk of Yin and Yang, (sometimes said as Ying and Yang), two principles of which one is dark and negative while the other one is bright and positive. The two work together to complement each other. The mind and body is much the same, the brain focuses on the dark and negative while the body can be kept looking great through exercise which is bright and positive. The mind and body must work together to keep you well.

Because helping our brain requires concentration, we often turn to exercise as an easy option to help us. Exercise will indeed make you ‘feel’ better because endorphins are produced during physical exercise. Unfortunately, it won’t help your brain long-term.

If you have a mentally demanding day you must complete at least 30 minutes of exercise at the end of each workday. If you have a physically demanding day you must then exercise your mind once work is over to balance everything out. Sudoku has been found to give the greatest benefit to your brain, unfortunately for me I have a problem with mathematics so I undertake research for my work instead. I read, a lot.

What are some other things that you can do for your brain? Given that we have five deep emotions, four of which are negative, concentrating on joy (happiness) will provide the greatest benefit for your brain. (The others are anger, worry, fear, and grief). Guilt and jealousy are also emotions but they stem from anger, fear, and worry.

Here are five quick-fix things to do for your brain that are easy to do and take no effort whatsoever;

1.     Smile – when we smile there is a unique muscle in our face that sends a signal to our brain that we are happy.

2.     Think only happy thoughts – easy to say but harder to do. Try thinking about something good coming up in the future, a place you like to visit, a place you would like to go to, anything that makes you feel good inside.

3.     Help someone – I’ll bet you feel good when you have helped someone, we all do. This feeling is linked to altruism which is part of your emotional brain.

4.     Read fiction novels – for some reason this is most helpful for men, possibly because men often find it difficult to meditate. Reading fiction adventure novels lights up the same part of the brain as does meditation.

5.     Socialise – talk more, meet more, get out more. The benefits of talking are found to be as good as, or better than, physical exercise. It doesn’t matter what you talk about, just talk.