Unlock the Power of Your Brain: Simple Tips for Every Day Use
Activate Your Brain is a great guidebook for learning how to unlock more of your potential through simple lifestyle changes and practical advice.
Unlike some other guides, this book will not promise you unrealistic results in just a few weeks; instead, it takes a realistic approach that helps make the most of the brain you have.
The book is based on solid science and provides insight into why we’re so similar to chimpanzees, how back slaps can improve an entire team’s performance, and how jogging can help your brain repair itself.
And the best part is that all of this advice comes in an easy-to-read package filled with interesting facts and engaging stories.
In Activate Your Brain, you’ll discover simple strategies for unlocking more of your potential by maintaining healthy habits, being mindful about spending time online, eating nutritious foods like berries regularly, and taking time to exercise.
It also offers optimism when it comes to “stretching your limits” as it enables readers to get better acquainted with their brains’ capabilities and take steps towards becoming their best selves.
The Prefrontal Cortex: The Human Brain’s Preschool Teacher for Impulse Control
When it comes to our brains, humans only have very small differences compared to the brains of our closest relatives – the apes.
But make no mistake, those tiny differences are crucial!
Our brain is divided into three main parts, with two of those being almost identical between humans and apes: namely, the reptilian brain and the mammalian brain.
While the reptilian brain deals with our body’s most primitive functions like breathing and sweating, the mammalian brain is responsible for our emotions and memory.
Then there’s an additional part which allows us to be so much more than any other species on earth: the prefrontal cortex a.k.a.
‘the human brain’.
This part is responsible for things such as reasoning, analysis or controlling how we react to stimuli from all other parts of our brains.
If we were to use an analogy here, it would be that of a kindergarten where everybody is running wild – until their teacher (the prefrontal cortex) steps in and brings back order!
Ultimately, it’s because of these very small but significant differences between the brains of humans and apes that we’re able to control our impulses in order to act rationally – even if it involves restraining ourselves from instantaneous reactions like lashing out at someone who wronged us.
Taking Control of Our Brain Chemicals to Feel Better and Reach Our Goals
Our brain functions by releasing chemicals into our system that help regulate emotion and mood.
These chemicals work together – sometimes in a fine balance – to keep us feeling alert, motivated, and energized.
But the cocktail of chemicals needed can be altered daily due to things like hearing bad news or not getting enough sleep.
Adrenaline and cortisol are two major stress-related hormones released by the brain that can have a negative effect if present in high amounts over long periods of time.
Dopamine, norepinephrine, and oxytocin, on the other hand, are associated with pleasure, interest, trust, and bonding with others respectively—rewarding brain chemicals we want more of when it comes to feeling good.
We may not always be able to control our environment but we do have the power to influence how we react to it.
We either approach a situation or avoid it altogether when faced with something daunting—like starting a new diet for example.
Those who adopt an “avoid” mindset will focus on what they can’t have and are less likely to succeed than someone who looks at the same situation with an “approach” mindset—which encourages positive thinking and helps them achieve their goals by tricking their brain into releasing fewer stress hormones while simultaneously increasing those rewarding hormones.
Gain Control of Your Life by Changing Your Attitude and Preparing for the Worst
Being in control is essential for having a sense of confidence and contentment.
By taking charge of our lives, we can make decisions that positively impact our paths and give ourselves the best chances of success.
According to scientists, people either have an internal focus – feeling empowered to alter things and affect their fate – or an external focus – seeing themselves as helpless victims of circumstance.
When we emphasize the former, we can often navigate situations with ease, helping us succeed better and be happier.
One way to reignite your sense of power is to adjust your attitude.
When presented with a challenge or opportunity, focus on how you can seize it rather than looking to find flaws in it.
For example, if a job listing requires an MBA but you don’t have one, consider talking to HR about alternatives instead of immediately counting yourself out.
Building up this perspective will gradually increase your feeling of self-reliance and set the stage for greater happiness and fulfillment.
Another way to combat fear or uncertainty is by preparing for every possibility – both good and bad.
If there’s something you’re stressing about such as giving a presentation, take the time to imagine potential scenarios that could happen so that you’re aware of how you’ll handle them when they arise.
This will further build your faith in yourself and help your brain release reward hormones such as dopamine that enhances our moods instead of stress hormones like cortisol which affects us negatively in multiple ways.
The Power of Willpower and Focus: Achieving Success Through Setting Attainable Goals
Achieving your goals is not an easy undertaking and the key to success lies in having the proper tools: willpower, focus, and realistic goals.
The famous study conducted by psychologist Walter Mischel from the 1970s showed how those who had strong willpower were more successful as they focused on their task until completion.
Those children who refrained from eating a marshmallow placed in front of them grew up to be more successful and healthy than those with weaker willpower.
It’s also important to remember that our brains aren’t built for multitasking – it can only focus on one activity at a time.
Multitasking is usually ineffective, wastes time and increases chances of making errors.
Finally, we need to set reasonable goals that are achievable in the short term.
Enough motivating dopamine will be released by our brain if we complete them.
And don’t forget to share your goals with your friends so they can hold you accountable when you most need it!
How We Generate Trust and Bond with Others: A Look at Our Brain’s Role in Building Connections
Our brains are hardwired to take an interest in other people, but when it comes to forming relationships and trusting one another, we don’t have complete control.
This is because our brain actually changes every time we meet someone new, which also explains why the number of social relationships you can keep is only so high (usually around 150).
When you first meet someone, your brain elicits a defense reaction which can make you anxious or eager to give a great impression.
But with more interactions, that defense response lessens and oxytocin increases.
Oxytocin plays a huge role in allowing us to trust others and build an emotional connection with them.
So what factors help us form these connections? Reliability, generosity, humour and shared memories are all contributing elements; a reminder that there are things we can do to enhance mutual trust.
For example having meaningful conversations with people where you thank them and make positive comments.
Even something as simple as high-fiving team members has been found to generate oxytocin within the group – making their performance even better!
Reach Goals Together to Reap the Joys of Collaboration
It’s no secret: when you work together with others, you have a greater chance of success.
What’s even more interesting is that working together isn’t as difficult or daunting as it may seem.
Multiple studies have shown that when you collaborate and work with others, the results can be better than if working alone.
Sharing information while in the same office space is one way to increase happiness and productivity.
But if you want to take it further – meaning communicating and working towards a common goal – the rewards are huge!
To up your collaboration game, start by asking your teammates for their input on any project.
Not only will their ideas help improve the outcome, but they’ll also appreciate that you asked for their opinion – building trust and closer relationships along the way.
At the same time, don’t be afraid to encourage open communication and dissent without singling out individuals; this helps find the optimal solution for any situation.
If someone has constructive criticism to offer, just make sure it stays respectful and offers actionable suggestions!
Make the Most of the Health Benefits of Mental and Physical Exercise for a Healthy Brain
It’s no secret that you can improve your brain health in many ways and almost all of them have a positive effect on your general health too.
Mental exercises like solving cryptic crosswords or sudoku are great for helping to reshape the brain and increase its efficiency, reducing the risk of dementia.
Physical exercise is also beneficial, as it stimulates the release of brain-derived neurotrophic factor which can help repair damaged cells, promote growth and create better connections between neurons.
Plus, you get an extra reward of feeling more relaxed, confident and motivated after doing some physical activity.
Good nutrition is essential too – your brain needs glucose, oxygen and fat to stay energized while micronutrients keep it functioning optimally.
As much as 75% of our brains are made up of water so staying hydrated is very important to help your gray matter work properly.
Eating natural food instead of processed food is advisable for optimal brain functioning as well as consuming certain foods that offer special benefits like berries for improved memory and cocoa which reduces the risk of strokes.
To summarize; with regular mental and physical exercise combined with a healthy diet containing plenty of fluids, vitamins and minerals – you can easily improve both your overall health as well as your brain’s health!
Taking Time for Rest and Mental Wandering Is Essential for Brain Health
Having a good night’s sleep and taking regular breaks to allow your mind some rest and relaxation can do wonders for your brain.
Stress is one of the main risk factors for many brain diseases, depression, and even dementia — so reducing it can have immense benefits to your overall mental and physical health.
During sleep, the brain processes information from that day, storing the relevant bits into memory.
Getting adequate sleep also boosts our mood and cognition which helps our creativity flow more freely and makes learning new things easier.
Unfortunately, lack of proper rest causes the release of cortisol in the brain — this hormone is damaging to our memories and decreases our ability to learn certain skills surprisingly quickly.
The Activate Your Brain book is a must-read if you want to get the most out of your life.
The author emphasizes that bonding with others, reaching goals and increasing productivity all begin by understanding how your brain works and how to handle it.
A key takeaway from this book is that, to maximize your potential and keep your brain healthy, you should learn something new!
This can involve learning a new language or another creative skill like painting or drawing.
The best way to learn something new is through heuristics and practice; so don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
Lastly, the author recommends rationing technology usage such as disabling popup notifications or checking emails twice a day.
Doing so helps eliminate distractions and allows you to stay focused on important tasks.
All in all, Activate Your Brain is an easy-to-follow guide for getting the most out of your life!