12 Prescriptions for Creating a Brain Healthy Life – Part 2

12 prescriptions for creating a brain healthy life-PART 2

In Part 1, we outlined the first 6 prescriptions for creating a brain healthy life. Here are the remaining 6:


Pain is one of the most frightening symptoms that we can have. Chronic pain affects everything in a negative way, such as sleep, mood, memory and concentration. Brain SPECT scans have taught us that the use of chronic pain medications, such as Vicodin or Oxycontin, 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, using the natural supplement SAMe or the antidepressant medicine Cymbalta can help both problems.

Again, there are many natural ways to help the brain. Of course, you should talk to your doctor. If your physician does not know much about natural supplements, a naturopath can be helpful.


What does that mean?
• Lean protein, such as turkey or chicken.
• Low glycemic, high fiber carbohydrates, which means carbohydrates high in fiber that do not raise your blood sugar, such as whole grains and green leafy vegetables.
Healthy fats that contain omega three fatty acids, found in foods such as tuna, salmon, avocados and walnuts.

Since the brain is 85% water, anything that dehydrates you is bad for the brain, such as alcohol, caffeine, excess salt or not drinking enough fluids. Drink plenty of water to keep yourself well hydrated.


It 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. Thirty minutes 3 or 4 times a week is all you need. If you don’t know what to do, walk fast, like you’re late to be somewhere.


Once you exercise and boost blood flow to your brain, you then need mental exercise. In one study, exercise was shown to improve memory function and maintain brain health as we age. If you stimulate new brain cells by using them, by learning something new, 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.


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 decreased activity in several important areas of her brain, involving emotions and memory.

Other studies too 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 EVERYDAY and then meditate on these things throughout the day.


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 cause anxiety. We’ve all been there. To start, it’s beneficial to surround yourself with positive energy and disassociate with negative people in your life that don’t contribute to your overall happiness. Then you can focus on the people that 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 be a guiding force for them during their shortcomings just as they hopefully are for you. In this way, we can truly learn and grow together.


There are many 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. By creating brain healthy families, businesses and communities ALL of us benefit.

If you, or someone you love, could benefit from an evaluation at Amen Clinics, call our Care Coordinators today at 888-288-9834 or tell us more online.


  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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