It’s something you may not have given much thought into. Today I am showing you five simple ways to keep your brain’s health in check!

In an age where we only see curated versions of people’s lives, it’s easy to get caught up with feeling a sense of inadequacy, dissatisfaction and loneliness. Social media has rewired our brains and altered the way we think to the point where most of us fear we’re missing out if we don’t check in every five seconds. The sad thing, five seconds isn’t even an exaggeration. Social media affects the way we feel, and even the way we dream. It also affects our memory, attention spans and sleep cycles. And to me that is terrifying. How can something so trivial have so much control on every aspect of our lives? When you add all of those things together, it makes me question the damage it is doing to us in the long-term and makes me want to make sure I am doing all I can to make sure I am looking after my brain – I mean there’s no point focusing on your physical appearance if the inside is crumbling, right?

Any of this freak you out?

I don’t think opting out of social media for extended periods of time is needed if you keep yourself in check. Have a healthy dose of it and balance it with real life. Yes, real life is still a thing. I like to keep my brain focused and healthy by doing these simple things throughout the day. Simple things like these can help mitigate some of the stress of constant interaction with the online world – and trust me, being a blogger and sharing a lot of my life online means I know my shit. Though, if you’d rather a complete social media detox, these things will work for you too!

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1. CHALLENGE IT

One of the first things you should know about your brain is that to keep it healthy you need to exercise it like a muscle. Anything that make you think, problem solve etc is fantastic, but obviously you need to get some enjoyment out of it. You will never see me completing Sudoku, that annoys the hell out of me. If there was a way to challenge my brain by burning all the Sudoku’s in the world, then I would definitely get on board with that.

Trade your phone in and try some of these:

  1. Read a new style of book: Read up on history, immerse yourself in something new. I lose countless hours on Wikipedia a week reading, but at least I am learning something in the end. I’m not sure what I will do with the information I am retaining, but at least my brain is continuing to learn.
  2. Learn a new language: For me, I would love to learn French…
  3. Take up a hobby: Paint, write or rekindle an old hobby which has fallen by the wayside. It is so good for your brain. You’ll also enjoy some down time.
  4. Talk: Have a conversation with a friend or work colleague about current events or something outside of your wealth of knowledge so you’re learning something new. Ask questions and listen. This is one of my favourite things to do.

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2. EXERCISE: IT’S A NO-BRAINER (PUN INTENDED)

Exercise increases the number of connections in the brain, increasing its capacity to store information. So get running, get jumping – just get moving, gal pal. Seriously, I can’t tell you how good you will feel if you just get out there and move for twenty minutes.

I train at about 4 times a week at Virgin Active Pitt St with a mix of cardio and strength training. For the days I don’t feel like it, I still try and get in there because it really helps be destress and helps my mental health. The atmosphere of being around the happy trainers is so motivating. If you can’t fit in a pre-work workout, try going on your lunch break or directly after work before you head home so you can destress from the working day!

The great thing about booking in a class, whether it be reformer pilates, body pump or the grid section, it holds you accountable!

Not only has research discovered that we can foster new brain cell growth through exercise, but it may eventually be possible to ‘bottle’ that benefit in prescription medication.

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3.MEDITATION

I still remember the first time I saw my eldest sister meditating. I was roughly 13 years old and I thought to myself “what the hell is she doing”. I didn’t think of it as anything beneficial to ones health and I thought that way until recently. I have been practicing on and off with Jonathan in recent months and it is still a skill I am yet to acquire. It’s a little hard to completely clear my mind sometimes, but hopefully one day soon I will be able to!

Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.

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4.FEED IT THE GOOD STUFF

Another big factor for healthy brain function is making sure your diet includes Omega-3 fatty acids. As we age, essential fatty acid deficiency can accelerate mental deterioration, so we have to make sure we’re eating foods rich in these good fats! These can be found in lots of (delicious) foods such as salmon, tuna, walnuts, flaxseed and legumes. Another essential part of a healthy brain-diet is antioxidants, so make sure you’re eating lots of fresh vegetables and fruit.

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5. BE PRESENT

The other day while on holidays Jonathan said to me, “let’s just enjoy the moment without worrying about getting the right images for Instagram, thinking about work or things along those lines”. It was so true though, in an instant I felt so much more relaxed and present in that moment. You will never get that moment in time again, so why ruin it for yourself?

How often do you catch up with friends? No, but really catch up. I bet when you go out for coffee / lunch with friends with that short space of time you will take a photo, check Instagram or Facebook, respond to a text message and emails simultaneously. We’re all guilty of it, but great friends and company are a gift, so we shouldn’t take advantage of their time. Your brain thrives on human interaction. In fact staying connected and engaged with other people is an essential element for keeping your brain healthy!

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I hope that today’s post helps you realise just how important keeping a healthy brain is for your overall well-being. If you have any questions for me, leave a comment below. If you’d like to see more of these posts let me know by hitting the “like” button on this post – I value your feedback so much.

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Author: Ally Carey

Hi, I am Ally, a writer and creative at Substance. I have worked in the fashion industry for 6+ years as a model and now on Substance. Substance is a lifestyle blog about fashion, beauty, health and self-improvement; hoping to inspire you to live a life filled with Substance. For more: @AllyMayCarey

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