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Recent study says pregnancy and motherhood make women brainy for the reasons that hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy, birth and lactation remodel the brain, increasing the size of neurons in some regions.
But Men need not despair or develop envy over this feminine virtue, as following simple do’s and don’ts could make everybody brainy.
Exercise : : It boosts your brain power
Exercise increases oxygen flow into the brain, which reduces brain-bound free radicals. One of the most interesting findings of the past few decades is that an increase in oxygen is always accompanied by an uptick in mental sharpness. Exercise acts directly on the molecular machinery of the brain itself. It increases neurons’ creation, survival, and resistance to damage and stress.
WIRING : : Brain is wired based on what you do.
What you do and learn in life physically changes what your brain looks like – it literally rewires it. So, ensure that what you see, hear, speak, learn and whatnot are clean.
ATTENTION : : The brain is not capable of multi-tasking
We can talk and breath at the same time but when it comes to higher level tasks, we just can’t do it. Driving while talking on a cell phone is like driving drunk. The brain is a sequential processor and large fractions of a second are consumed every time the brain switches tasks. This is why cell-phone talkers are a half-second slower to hit the brakes and get in more wrecks.
SHORT-TERM MEMORY : Repeat to remember
- The human brain can only hold about seven pieces of information for less than 30 seconds! Which means, your brain can only handle a 7-digit phone number. If you want to extend the 30 seconds to a few minutes or even an hour or two, you will need to consistently re-expose yourself to the information. Memories are so volatile that you have to repeat to remember.
- Improve your memory by elaborately encoding it during its initial moments. Many of us have trouble remembering names. If at a party you need help remembering Krish, it helps to repeat internally more information about him. “Krish is wearing a blue dress and my favorite color is blue.” It may seem counter intuitive at first but study after study shows it improves your memory.
LONG-TERM MEMORY : : Remember to repeat
- It takes years to consolidate a memory. Not minutes, hours, or days but years. What you learn in first grade is not completely formed until your sophomore year in high school.
- How do you remember better? Repeated exposure to information / in specifically timed intervals / provides the most powerful way to fix memory into the brain.
- Forgetting allows us to prioritize events. But if you want to remember, remember to repeat.
SLEEP : Sleep well, think well
- When we’re asleep, the brain is not resting at all. It is almost unbelievably active! It’s possible that the reason we need to sleep is so that we can learn.
- Sleep must be important because we spend 1/3 of our lives doing it! Loss of sleep hurts attention, executive function, working memory, mood, quantitative skills, logical reasoning, and even motor dexterity.
- We still don’t know how much we need! It changes with age, gender, pregnancy, puberty, and so much more.
- Napping is normal. Ever feel tired in the afternoon? That’s because your brain really wants to take a nap. There’s a battle raging in your head between two armies. Each army is made of legions of brain cells and biochemicals –- one desperately trying to keep you awake, the other desperately trying to force you to sleep. Around 3 p.m., 12 hours after the midpoint of your sleep, all your brain wants to do is nap.
- Taking a nap might make you more productive. In one study, a 26-minute nap improved NASA pilots’ performance by 34 percent.
- Don’t schedule important meetings at 3 p.m. It just doesn’t make sense.
STRESS : Stressed brains don’t learn the same way
- You brain is built to deal with stress that lasts about 30 seconds. The brain is not designed for long term stress when you feel like you have no control. The saber-toothed tiger ate you or you ran away but it was all over in less than a minute. If you have a bad boss, the saber-toothed tiger can be at your door for years, and you begin to deregulate. If you are in a bad marriage, the saber-toothed tiger can be in your bed for years, and the same thing occurs. You can actually watch the brain shrink.
- Stress damages virtually every kind of cognition that exists. It damages memory and executive function. It can hurt your motor skills. When you are stressed out over a long period of time it disrupts your immune response. You get sicker more often. It disrupts your ability to sleep. You get depressed.
- The emotional stability of the home is the single greatest predictor of academic success. If you want your kid to get into IIT, go home and love your spouse.
- You have one brain. The same brain you have at home is the same brain you have at work. The stress you are experiencing at home will affect your performance at work, and vice versa.
Source : Brain Rules by Dr. John Medina