Brain training at OptiMind Neurofeedback is fantastic for helping you to live your best life, and you'll make even better progress with brain training if you take care of yourself fully.
I talk to new clients about supporting their brain training as best they can with a "three-legged stool" metaphor. Imagine your brain is sitting on top of a three-legged stool, and let's label those three legs NUTRITION, EXERCISE, and SLEEP. If just one leg gets shortened, the whole stool goes out of balance and the brain starts wobbling.
Let's talk about the legs of that three-legged stool a little.
NUTRITION - You simply must have good nutrition to support your brain's optimal function. If you live on chips and beer, or ramen and soda, you have no nutritional support.
Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, have a clean source of protein, mix with a balance of complex carbohydrates and drink a lot of water.
It doesn't matter if you're Paleo, Keto, Caveman, Vegan or any other food plan, you can make sure you get these micronutrient categories covered.
Sure, have an ice cream sundae from time to time - we all have to live a little, but always make sure you have your nutritional bases covered.
EXERCISE - Exercise is key and this doesn't mean that you have to run marathons or lift weights like a bodybuilder (though both are excellent exercises!).
Getting adequate exercise can be as easy as making sure that you're simply not sitting at least 30 minutes every day. More movement is better.
Especially as many of us moved to Work From Home status during the pandemic, sitting still has become a way of life. And it's not good for you. It's been stated repeatedly that Sitting Is the New Smoking.
Stand up, take stretch breaks, and if you can, take a half hour walk just in your neighborhood to start.
The Japanese have a great term: shinrin-yoku. Shinrin means “forest,” and yoku means “bath.” Shinrin-yoku means you're bathing in the forest atmosphere. If you can walk in nature, taking in the beauty with all of your senses, you're giving yourself great exercise and you're giving your senses and your brain a feast at the same time.
Go to the green spaces whenever you can!
And finally, let's talk about SLEEP! American adults generally do not get enough of it and it's not helping their brains. Every time you autoload the next episode on the series you're bingeing at night, you're taking away from some serious brain work.
Wait, what? Work? While you're asleep? Heck yeah.
We think that when we close our eyes for the night, we're not doing anything, but sleep is when the brain is categorizing, filing, and decoding all the information it took in during the day.
It's cleaning up the place and re-setting it for a brand new day tomorrow.
If you're shorting your sleep, you're not allowing your system to properly reboot.
Best sleep hygiene practices include turning off screens at least 1 hour prior to bedtime (longer is better), keeping your phone outside of your bedroom so you won't be interrupted or tempted to turn it on in the night, no caffeine after 4 pm if you're reactive to it and keeping your bedroom a cool, dark space.
Keep your nutrition, exercise and sleep in balance to keep your brain balanced, too!