Aptos psychologist: ways to grow a healthier brain & feel better …

grow healthy brain cells

Want to literally grow a more resilient, healthier brain and also feel better? You can do it. The following is based, loosely, on a class for mental health professionals given by licensed neuopsychologist John Preston, Psy.D. in Aptos, CA.

First of all, rule out possible medical problems. So —

Go to your MD and get a physical and appropriate blood work. See if your MD recommends that you seek professional help to implement the following:

Improve sleep: Learn how to maximize “deep sleep” so you are more rested. Get up at the same time every day. Let light shine on you when you get up. Get at least 10 minutes twice a day outside exposed to day light.

A light box: Some people who are clinically depressed benefit considerably from a light box which delivers 2,500 LUX from 2-3 feet away from the person. The cost is about $250 or equivalent to a couple sessions of therapy.

Minimize stimulants: Limit caffeine (coffee, tea, some soft drinks) so it does not interfere with going to sleep. One or two cups in the AM will not interfere.

Minimize alcohol:
Alcohol interferes with deep REM sleep patterns. So minimize alcohol use to what your doctor recommends. The Mediterranean Diet recommends one glass a day.

Improve your exercise program: Robert Thayer has examined the connection between low energy and high tension during a person’s typical day. Use some 30 second stretches to get you going, up and out walking. Depending on how in shape you are, get at least 10 minutes twice a day of moderate exercise. Sufficient that you “huff and puff” while walking. Make your goal, when physically able, 5,000 steps a day. A pedometer that costs less than $20 easily measures your steps.

Mental exercises: Engage in meditation an hour a day. Research studies show that an 8 week, six day a week program can change the way your brain functions. Use a simple form of meditation which focuses on breath . Exhale. Inhale. Pay attention to your breath. Push aside gently what comes to mind. Later, focus on what you feel, a hurt knee or pain in your shoulder. Notice it. Learn to focus on what your feelings are, notice them and become more aware of them.

Dietary supplements: Anybody can put anything in a bottle and sell it in a health store.

Know what you are buying — that it is what it say s and does not contain contaminants. Look for USP or NSF on the bottle. Go to www.consumerlab.com for information.

Dietary quick fixes: Feel fatigue or apathy? Ingest pure protein which increase tyrosine in your body. How: an egg, some tofu and nuts are excellent sources of pure protein. Don’t use in the evening as can keep you awake.

Carbohydrates — without protein — are excellent to get more triptophan into the brain in the morning. This releases insulin and helps control for diabetes. Oatmeal and bananas are excellent sources. It takes about an hour after eating to release the triptophan into the blood stream.

The Mediterranean Diet may help: It allows a glass of wine and studies show that persons on it long term have much less dementia, depression or diabetes.

We all want to sleep better, feel better and enjoy life more. These are some simple, well researched ways to do so. Try them out and let us know how they worked for you.



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