Welcome to this carnival edition of Brain Fitness, where NakedMedicine.com is a guest host. Those of you familiar with my carnival styles will know that I weave entries with my own comments and wherever possible, create a theme for a cohesive reading experience. Thus you will not find a mere listing of entries here, nor will you find every single entry that has been submitted to the carnival. Be assured that even if all entries are not selected for this carnival, I personally visit and read each article.
According to Rich, power naps help you reap the benefits of sleep in about 20 to 30 minutes without migrating into the “sleep inertia” zone that can render you sluggish and tired. Psychologist Deb Serani had also written about the benefits of power napping previously on NakedMedicine.com. I’m curious whether power naps have the same level of benefit for someone who gets enough sleep each day. I know this is a rarity – most of us seem to be sleep deprived on way or another – both on a quantitative and qualitative sleep level, but it will make an interesting experiment.
I also knew there is a perfectly reasonable scientific explanation on why multitasking is a myth! Now, if we can get the corporate world to stop embracing multitasking like it’s a virtue instead of the dangerous assumption that it is. Dr. JC also notes a NYT article that discusses the multitasking myth.
This a really interesting looking exercise for balance and posture. I have pretty good balance, but my posture can use a lot of work.
Caroline at Sharp Brains said that the 4 essential pillars for a healthy brain are: 1) Physical Exercise, 2) Mental Exercise, 3) Good Nutrition, and 4) Stress Management. I like the way this included a “if you could only do one thing, do this…” For physical exercise – do something cardiovascular. For mental exercise – learn something new every day. For good nutrition – eat more green, leafy vegetables. For stress management – take 5-10 minutes each day and breathe deeply.
Greg’s article on the physical aspects of brain aging is a good primer for those interested in understanding how their brain physically ages, and what may be done to manage the aging process. You’ll find this article complementary to Caroline’s article on brain fitness.
Mind Over Matter.
Dave Johnson claims that We Are Smart Enough To Make Ourselves Sick and cited a Stanford Neuroscientist who observed that baboons are good models for humans in self-induced stress. Given that baboons lead an otherwise idyllic life, one would be surprised that find that baboons can work themselves up into a stressful frenzy anyway. What is even more surprising is that it’s not only the “loser baboons” – those with low social ranking – that get stressed out. The type A baboons also get stressed out because they are threatened very easily. Another cited study looked at the linkage that can be formed between a concept and emotions associated with that concept; what is interesting is how easily this linkage may be manipulated to cause unfounded feelings (thereby eventually behaviors) of “like” and “dislike”. This is why I’m a big proponent of understanding how you truly think.
Now, if those baboons had read TherapyDoc’s essay, When the Little Things Go Wrong, they will realize that life is good, relatively speaking. The loser baboons will learn new things that can make them mentally smarter (per Caroline’s earlier advice). The type-A baboons can put things in perspective and realize that while the higher you go, the harder you may fall, at least you get the opportunity to go high enough to fall. Plus, from the looks of enlightened loser baboons, life looks enjoyable.
Hueina’s article on self-love is a comprehensive first look at what she calls “the most important relationship in your life”. What Hueina calls “gremlin messages”, I know first-hand. I even have an old book that personifies these critical self talk as gremlins (I forget the author’s name). What’s important to realize is that developing this relationship with yourself is going to take your commitment, which means it is going to take time and effort. This also tends to be most difficult when you most need it – for example – when you aren’t feeling good about yourself, you aren’t inclined to sit down and do exercises that develop your loving feeling toward yourself – yet this is when you need it the most.
Henrik shared a list of 14 ways to live a more relaxing life. My favorite tip is #7, watching your favorite TV show. I never used to watch King of the Hill when it was running, but now I watch re-runs of the cartoon. There’s something about a well-adjusted chubby kid and stoic work ethics (Hank Hill will not leave 10 minutes early on a Friday even if there are absolutely no customers, nothing to do, and a car full of friends waiting outside for him) that makes me feel like all is right with the world. I’d like to suggest a tip #15: “The World Will Go On, and So Will I.” I find this very effective on those nights when I toss and turn from lists of things I should have done and still have to do. I have to remind myself repeatedly that what I deem as critical from the filters of my stressed out mind won’t stop the world on its tracks, and that twenty years from now, I probably wouldn’t deem it as important, either.
Until next time – take care of yourself and your gray matter.