BRAIN, HABITS AND LIFESTYLE CHANGES

The most important part of our body is our brain. Everybody has it even the seemingly stupid amongst us or the most intellectual ones. Taking care of our body by exercising and eating proper nutrition keeps us healthy but taking care of our brain works wonders. In today’s generation a lot of people are shifting their lifestyle and making changes to keep their body healthy but the brain is something that is least talked about. It’s like having a supercomputer rule our body which we don’t even discuss. All of us believe that the brain is something we are gifted with, that IQ determines our lives and there is almost nothing we can’t do to change our brains. 

Neuroscience has progressed a lot and there are many research studies and experiments that show that the brain is not unchangeable. The brain is plastic i.e. it can be changed. Nerve cells are called neurons. People believed that neurons, once formed, can’t be altered but neuroscience has proved it wrong. New neurons are formed by everything we do. All the activities we perform affect the brain and change it.

How do neurons work? 

There are 80 billion nerve cells in a human’s brain. They send signals called neurotransmitters through synapses (nerve junction). Let’s understand this by understanding our habits. Everyday we wake up and perform our routine tasks. We are able to do it because we have neurons that have formed connections to form a network that enable us to do those things, effortlessly. Whenever we pick up a new activity it is hard for us to perform because the neurons associated with that activity haven’t formed strong connections yet. That is also the reason we have to put efforts in establishing new habits. And that is the reason old habits die hard (because of the existing network). 

Tom Bilyeu, founder of Impact Theory and co-founder of Quest Nutrition has said if you want to make significant changes in your life learn about the brain. The elite in many fields – from businessmen to sportspeople – have the basic understanding of how the brain works. That’s the reason why they are able to perform at their best level by training their brain and setting up a life of good habits.

How to establish new habits? 

Neuroscience explains neurons that fire together, wire together. That means the more repetitively an activity is performed the more and more neural connections are formed. 

The mini-calendar method is a great way to establish new habits. According to research, it takes 28-30 days to form a new habit. That’s regular firing of the same neurons to form connections and a network. 

You can make a mini-calendar of 30 days in a diary or on a sticky note or even on a page and stick it on the wall. Do that activity daily and scratch off the date on which it is performed. Try to stick to it till the end of the month and review your results. It is advisable to be flexible and not try too hard that you give it up completely after 30 days. 

Creating a lifestyle

If you want to make a significant change in your life it has to be made a part of your lifestyle. Exercising for one month will not get you in shape. Reading a book for a month won’t make you better immediately. These activities have to be performed regularly to make it a part of your lifestyle. So, following the mini-calendar method for months together till the habits become subconscious and the activity becomes a part of your lifestyle is the way to influence your life. 

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