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In “Staying Sharp” these docs tell us what to do today to have a healthy, vibrant mind tomorrow with nine keys for a youthful brain through modern science and ageless wisdom. Dr. Emmons is a psychiatrist who integrates mind-body and natural therapies, mindfulness and compassion practices into his clinical work.
Dr. Alter is a psychologist with thirty years experience in health psychology, neuropsychology, and clinical hypnosis. Want that youthful brain? Okay. A youthful brain is:
1) ACTIVE. Staying in motion makes the brain bigger, stronger, and faster while protecting against harmful effects of stress. Exercise and moving the body mindfully (yoga is great for this) improves brain health, energy, and emotional resilience.
2) RESTED. Sleep is among the most powerful means to promote mood, memory, and healing. Sleep problems, although more common as we age, are preventable. The mind can be recharged through safe and natural mind-body approaches, including accessible self-hypnosis.
3) NOURISHED. Nutrition has a vital impact on brain health. A brain-supporting approach to diet encompasses whole and plant-based foods, healthy fats, fiber, probiotics, and emphasizes nutritional diversity to nourish and protect the mind.
4) CURIOUS. Novelty, play, and wonder act as potent brain “fertilizers” that reboot the brain, keeping it fresh and vital by balancing knowledge with a desire to know more. People who remain curious and open to new experience tend to lead longer, healthier, and more fulfilling lives.
5) FLEXIBLE. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s amazing ability to rewire in the face of new experiences. Learning to adapt and respond more flexibly to change, through meditation and other means, allows people to thrive despite the challenges faced in the second half of life.
6) OPTIMISTIC. Higher levels of optimism lead to measurable physical and mental health benefits. Cultivating the inner quality of optimism supports greater resilience against age-related challenges and set-backs.
7) EMPATHIC. Our brains are wired to be compassionate and generous. Practicing empathic skills regulates one’s own mind and behavior, promotes contentment, calmness, and satisfaction…and influences the brains of those with whom we interact.
8) CONNECTED. It is important to connect meaningfully with others and develop a sense of belonging in the world. Mental and physical health depends on how well social connections provide meaning, purpose, and direction.
9) AUTHENTIC. The true self may be found in all of life’s experiences…triumphs and failures. By discovering one’s true self through awareness, honesty, and discernment, we become fully embodied authentic individuals. Learn to stop “wearing other people’s faces” or living out others’ expectations to simply please them.
Isn’t it amazing? I’m sure common sense reigns supreme as we look at these ideas, but we sometimes ignore that common sense. If you want more information on their book “Staying Sharp” you can go to www.StayingSharp.org.
Guess the old saying . . . ”if you don’t use it, you lose it” rings true. Guess we were not meant to be couch potatoes without a thought rolling around in our brains. Remember . . . STAY SHARP ALWAYS!
From the files of Mary Jane Popp at KAHI Radio in Sacramento, California
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