12 Prescriptions for Creating a Brain Healthy Life – Part 2

12 prescriptions for creating a brain healthy life-PART 2

In Part 1 of this blog series, you discovered how brain health is the key to a happy, successful, and fulfilling life, and we outlined the first 6 prescriptions for creating a brain healthy life.

Here are the remaining 6 prescriptions:

7. LEARN BRAIN HEALTHY WAYS TO DEAL WITH PAIN

Chronic pain can have a negative impact on a number of areas of life, such as sleep, mood, memory, and concentration. It can also change the way the brain functions. Brain SPECT imaging has taught us that the use of some chronic pain medications, such as opioids, may be harmful to brain function. Long-term use of these medications makes the brain look toxic, like people who drink too much alcohol.

This is not to say we must completely rule out pain medications, they can be necessary until other treatment options are available. Possible alternative treatments for pain are fish oil, acupuncture, music therapy, and hypnosis.

Pain and depression tend to go hand in hand. For some people, taking the natural supplements saffron or SAMe may be helpful for both.

Again, there are many natural ways to help the brain. Of course, you should talk to your doctor before starting or stopping any medications or supplements. If your physician does not know much about natural supplements, a naturopathic doctor or an integrative/functional medicine physician can be helpful.

8. YOU NEED A BRAIN HEALTHY DIET

Fuel your brain with foods that nourish it. What does a brain healthy diet include?
• Lean protein, such as turkey or chicken (choose antibiotic-free, hormone-free options when possible).
• Low-glycemic, high-fiber carbohydrates that do not raise your blood sugar, such as whole grains and green leafy vegetables.
• Healthy fats that contain omega-3 fatty acids found in foods such as tuna, salmon, avocados, and walnuts.

  • Adequate hydration. Anything that dehydrates you—such as alcohol, caffeine, excess salt, or not drinking enough fluids—is bad for the brain. Drink plenty of water to keep yourself well hydrated.

9. PHYSICAL EXERCISE

Physical activity is literally the fountain of youth because it boosts blood flow to the brain, plus it increases chemicals that are important for learning and memory and stimulating the growth of new brain cells. Research, including a 2014 study, show that physical activity improves mood, anxiety, and even cognitive health. In one study in the Archives of Neurology, exercise was shown to lower the risks of cognitive decline and dementia in older adults. Exercising for 30-45 minutes 3 or 4 times a week is all you need. One of the simplest exercises is to walk fast like you’re late to be somewhere.

10. MENTAL EXERCISE

When it comes to brain health, mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise. If you stimulate new brain cells with new learning, they connect to other cells and become part of the fabric of your brain.

Learning new dance steps is a great mental exercise because it involves learning, coordination, music, AND physical exercise. All those things are great for your brain. Crossword puzzles, learning a musical instrument, or exploring a new language can also help. The key is consistently finding new mental exercises to try.

11. NOTICE WHAT YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR LIFE A LOT MORE THAN WHAT YOU DON’T LOVE

Dr. Amen once did a study with psychologist Noelle Nelson on the power of appreciation. He scanned her twice: once when she was focused on what she loved about her life, and then again while she focused on what she hated about her life. The scans were radically different. The loving scan looked healthy, while the hateful scan showed negative changes in activity in several important areas of her brain involving emotions and memory.

Other studies have found that focusing on negative thoughts changes the brain in a negative way. Creativity, learning, and imagination all go DOWN with negative emotion while focusing on positive, happy, hopeful thoughts helps both the brain and you work better.

Here is a simple exercise: Write down 5 things you are grateful for EVERY DAY and then meditate on these things throughout the day.

12. NOTICE WHAT YOU LOVE ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE A LOT MORE THAN WHAT YOU DON’T LOVE

Spending time with family, friends, coworkers, and even acquaintances is a part of necessary social interaction as humans. However, with social interaction and with certain types of people in our lives, these situations can be stressful and anxiety-provoking. We’ve all been there. To start, it’s beneficial to surround yourself with positive energy and disassociate from the negative people in your life who don’t contribute to your overall happiness. Then you can focus on the people who truly benefit you and your development throughout life.

The next step is to also be a positive light in people’s lives—focusing on what you love about the meaningful people in your life and being a source of support for them when they need help.

Finally, when you think about the people in your social circle, focus on how they bring joy into your life. By directing your attention to what makes you happy, you will positively influence your brain function and be happier.

CONCLUSION

As you have seen in this 2-part blog series, there are many natural ways to optimize your brain and your mind. You CAN create a brain healthy life by learning how to love and care for your brain, and by focusing on what you love about your life. Take what you have learned here to develop your brain healthy life and teach it to others, including your family members, coworkers, friends, fellow churchgoers, and more. By creating brain healthy families, businesses, and communities, we ALL benefit.

If you’re having mental, emotional, or cognitive health issues, it could be a sign that your brain could benefit from optimization. During these uncertain times, your overall brain health and well-being are more important than ever and waiting until life gets back to “normal” is likely to make your symptoms worsen over time.

At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, remote clinical evaluations, and video therapy for adults, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.

20 Comments

  1. Please forward part 1 of this series

    Thanks Bonita

    Comment by Bonita — January 17, 2018 @ 11:24 AM

  2. Part One can be found here: https://www.amenclinics.com/blog/12-prescriptions-for-creating-a-brain-healthy-life-part-1/

    Comment by Amen Clinics — January 17, 2018 @ 12:07 PM

  3. Thank you so much for this topic.

    Comment by Maguy — January 22, 2018 @ 6:00 AM

  4. I ‘m worried about paying to get the treatment for arthritis, thyroid and lifelong depression. I enjoyed the series so much I would like to work for you.

    Comment by Lorelei Horan — January 28, 2018 @ 6:32 PM

  5. Hi

    I am reading Dr. Amens book about brain warrior. He mentions a “Brain Assessment Questionnaire ”

    A more in depth way to determine your type.

    I have searched your site and get no returns on this?

    Comment by Fred — January 30, 2018 @ 3:55 PM

  6. Hello Fred, we hope you’re enjoying the book! Here is a link to our Brain Health Assessment: https://brainhealthassessment.com/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — January 30, 2018 @ 3:58 PM

  7. Where do I start?

    Comment by Lorelei horan — February 7, 2018 @ 9:09 PM

  8. Hello Lorelei, thank you for reaching out. To start, our Care Coordinators can give you information about our treatment options and services. They can be reached at 888-288-9834 or by completing this form – https://www.amenclinics.com/schedule-visit/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — February 9, 2018 @ 9:19 AM

  9. I heard Dr. Amen on PBS/TV and I think he mentioned Blood Donation as being beneficial for the Brain Health.
    Can you please let me know if that is correct?
    Where can I find more information about this topic?
    Thanks, Lichi

    Comment by Lichi Munoz — April 20, 2018 @ 10:04 AM

  10. Hello Lichi, here is an article related to blood donation: https://www.amenclinics.com/blog/donating-blood-may-be-a-good-deed-for-your-body/. For more information, please call our Care Center at 888-288-9834. Thank you for reaching out!

    Comment by Amen Clinics — April 20, 2018 @ 10:14 AM

  11. I j just recently had back surgery
    deep a fusion
    I have been having panic attacks and anxiety since the surgery
    I think my brain has been altered from the surgery
    Can you tell me what supplements you might recommend
    I understand this is common after surgery

    Comment by Donna Parr — September 17, 2018 @ 9:27 AM

  12. Have you done any clinical studies with patients before and after using CBD oil and could you see any noticeable differences? Thanks Mark

    Comment by Mark — October 25, 2018 @ 3:38 PM

  13. I’d be very interested to know Dr. Amen’s feedback re: CBD oil both internally and externally. Is it of benefit as an alternative to other pain and anxiety meds, or are there harmful side effects we are not made aware of because it’s such a new topic?
    Thank you

    Comment by Amy — November 16, 2018 @ 3:03 PM

  14. I have seen Dr. Amen several times on PBS. I so wish I could come to his clinic, but my income does not allow that. I have had two severe head injuries in the last two years and I am in a state of stress most of the time. I will be 72 next month. I am still working part time because I must. My memory is very poor. I fear the future.
    Can you recommend one of more of Dr. Amen’s books that could give me some help? I am so worried about what seems to be happening to me.
    Thank you for any suggestions. Dr. Amen is such a wonderful man.

    Comment by Pamela Boggs — January 21, 2019 @ 11:32 AM

  15. Pamela, I like you am so worried about what is happening to me. Losing one’s memory is a form of torture. My husband’s brain is sharp and he doesn’t understand the difficulties I have with my memory issues. I have to fake remembering. I have researched and researched for a cure for this cruel illness of an aging brain. I am also 72. Alzheimer’s runs in my family. I am trying to eliminate sugar from my diet….. sugar is in so many food items! I am on Crestor Cholesteral medication which is thought to cause short term memory loss. I am tempted to stop it to see if my memory improves but then am I at high risk for a stroke or heart attack….. you can’t win. I am scared and depressed.

    Comment by Cynthia Haller — July 11, 2019 @ 5:23 AM

  16. This info shared certainly makes for interesting reading… I have also been losing my memory – one day at a time.. or so it seems and am writing to speak to others… I have also had heart issues in the past and have been on certain medications the “play games”, or so to speak, with the brain or “aging brain” as some call it… Now being 66 and soon to be 67, I am certainly concerned about the food we eat and the chemicals that they use to produce that food as well…
    We have had a Certified Organic Farm for a long time and try to eat the most organic, home grown and herbicide free food as is possible – or to our best ability, and I encourage all others to do this as well…

    David Ring
    Buffalo Mountain Farm
    Hardwick, Vermont USA

    Comment by David Ring — January 10, 2020 @ 7:10 AM

  17. I have this rather snarky theory:

    On the first day of med school, they teach students to recommend to their future patients some variant of all of the 12 “prescriptions” listed above. The remaining four years are spent learning about all the cool stuff like wedge pressures, heart medications, oxygen saturation, EKGs, suturing techniques, osteoporosis, and all the other things doctors need to know to treat all the patients who have failed to follow this advice!

    Comment by Joe D'Agostino — February 13, 2020 @ 7:24 AM

  18. Hi-
    Need your help for my 30 yr old son.
    I have been following your work for awhile and I believe you can really help him.
    Is it even possible to schedule an appt with you –
    Dr Amen, or is the wait time like a yr. long?
    We live in NY state, so we would have to travel.
    Please reply, desperate for answers.
    Thank you,

    Comment by Barbara keane — February 14, 2020 @ 2:57 PM

  19. Hello Barbara, thank you for reaching out. Our team would be happy to contact you directly with information on appointments, consultations, and evaluations. We have 8 clinic locations, and we have one in New York – https://www.amenclinics.com/locations/new-york/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — February 14, 2020 @ 4:09 PM

  20. I feel like I need a brain scan. I had a Brian contusion and haven’t felt the same since.

    Comment by Kat — March 15, 2020 @ 7:01 AM

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