3 Habits to Improve your Brain | Boost Energy and Willpower This Year


With the New Year coming up, let me share
with you three.. 3 1/2 simple things that would make good resolutions
by themselves, or will make it easier to complete your other new year’s resolutions as well. 1. Go to sleep as close to 10PM as you can
Improving quality of sleep overall is incredibly helpful for mood, focus, energy levels, and
health in general, but if I had to pick one thing that improved my sleep the most, it
would have to be this. Have you ever slept a perfectly reasonable
amount like 7 to 9 hours and woke up feeling groggy and tired? This is thanks to circadian rhythms. Your body runs on a biological clock that
dictates many physiological processes. We have a daily dose of cortisol in the morning
to wake us up and a rise in melatonin at night to put us to sleep. If you can act in sync with this rhythm, falling
asleep and getting higher quality sleep is much easier. What our body would prefer for us to do, is
to fall asleep just a few hours after the sun goes down. This differs depending on where in the world
you are, but for most people it’s around 10PM. The powerful anticarcinogen and antioxidant
melatonin as well as the restorative “youth hormone” -Human Growth Hormone are secreted
in their strongest doses between 10PM and 2AM. As Neurologist Kulreet Chaudhary says, “If
your body is chronically deprived of the regenerative sleep between 10:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m., then
you may still feel fatigued when you wake up in the morning.” I’ve found that going to sleep around 10PM
is always better. For example if I get six hours of sleep from
10PM to 4AM, I will feel much better than if I got eight hours of sleep from 1AM to
9AM. 2) Limit your usage of novelty at a click
websites Internet addiction is a real phenomenon and
more and more studies on this topic are coming out. But you don’t have to be technically addicted
to see detriments. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter responsible
for making you want to do things and is the reason drugs can be so addictive. Drugs cause a huge surge in dopamine. And, when someone becomes overexposed to dopamine,
the dopamine receptors down regulate meaning more dopamine is necessary to get the same
amount of motivation. Essentially, the receptors become desensitized. And, it doesn’t have to be surges of dopamine
to get you addicted, it can be frequent exposure. For example the rate of addiction to cigarettes
is surprisingly higher than heroin- the difference between the two is you can take puff of a
cigarette and get a dopamine rise dozens of times a day, but you’d be passed out or
dead before you get anywhere near that frequency with heroin. The thing with the internet is that websites
like reddit, imgur, facebook, twitter act like that puff of a cigarette. Swipe for a new picture and you get a bit
of dopamine. Scroll down and you get a bit of dopamine. Click on a link and you get a bit of dopamine.,
but you can repeat this hundreds of times throughout the day. This will desensitize your dopamine receptors
and it will be harder and harder to get motivated by activities that aren’t instantly gratifying. The gap between behavior and reward with the
internet is incredibly small – it can be half a second. Behavior: move thumb. Reward: funny picture. By using the internet too often, it’s harder
and harder for your brain to tolerate more time between behavior and reward. Imgur can reward you with a funny picture
in a couple seconds, but staying focused on a project can take several hours before you’re
rewarded with a sense of fulfillment. 2 and a half is Meditate
I’m lumping meditation in with this because it’s a great way to deprogram this kind
of anxious, instant gratification oriented brain. Meditation has a very long list of health
benefits, many of which have been scientifically documented. There’s far too many to talk about here,
but one huge benefit is that it quiets that constantly talking usually negative inner
narrator. The inner narrator is the one saying: I gotta
do this, I gotta do that, what should I eat for lunch? How come so and so hasn’t texted me back? And so on. There’s actually a network in the brain
brain called the default mode network that is generating this mind chatter. It’s responsible for thinking about your
self, thinking about how other people are thinking about you and ruminating about the
past and worrying about the future. Meditation has been shown to reduce activity
in this network. And, a major node in the default mode network
called the posterior cingulate cortex is responsible for emotional reactivity. For example, when someone is craving a cigarette,
the posterior cingulate cortex strongly lights up. By reducing activity in the default mode network,
meditation can help diffuse that anxious, impatient, unfocused and instant gratification
oriented mind that the internet helped create. 3. Do some exercise every day
I used to look at exercise as mainly just a way to build muscle or lose fat. But now, even if exercise didn’t change
the way my body looked at all, I would still do it every day. The positive effects on how it makes your
body look pale in comparison to the impressive mental and physiological benefits exercise
provides. Exercise has been shown to help people learn
much more efficiently, better deal with stress and drastically reduce anxiety. It improves mood to the point of lifting some
people out of depression and it strengthens focus to the point that some ADHD patients
elect to throw out their prescriptions. One big thing exercise does is it raises your
levels of brain derived neurotrophic factor – BDNF. Dr. John Ratey, associate clinical professor
of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School has nicknamed BDNF “miracle grow for the brain”
because it directly promotes the growth of new brain cells. Researchers found that if they sprinkled BDNF
onto neurons in a petri dish, the cells automatically sprouted new branches, producing the same
structural growth required for things like learning. A 2007 study found that subjects who did high
intensity exercise beforehand could learn vocabulary words 20% faster than those who
remained sedentary. Exercise will also give you more motivation
in general. Earlier I explained how excessive use of the
internet hampers motivation because it desensitizes your dopamine receptors, making it harder
to be motivated by regular activities that don’t provide large or frequent releases
of dopamine. Well, exercise actually triggers the creation
of new dopamine receptors meaning you become more sensitive to dopamine, making it easier
to be motivated. This will give a boost in willpower and focus
to do the things that you want to have had done, not just the things you want to do now. Going to sleep earlier, meditation and exercise. Pretty simple and straightforward things,
but deviously hard to turn into a habit. Though, once these 3 things do become habits,
they will generate far more motivation and willpower than they require.

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