How to Build a Leader’s Brain and Keep It Healthy
As a leader who’s eager to make a difference, you want to do all you can for your brain. These ten tips get you started on a brain-healthy life to reach your highest potential.
Eat nutritiously. Your brain is about 78 percent water. Keep it hydrated for optimal performance. Make sure that you eat fresh fruit, nuts, vegetables high in antioxidants, lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and good fats like omega-3 fatty acids in some seafood.
Move it or lose it. Just 30 minutes of aerobic exercise twice a week increases blood flow and provides more oxygen to the brain. Exercise also gets rid of stress chemicals that have built up in your brain while releasing a chemical that helps neurons grow.
Rest. Brain science believes that you learn while you sleep. The process is called consolidation, and interruptions to your sleep at specific times affect what you remember. Even naps can increase performance and attention.
Relax. According to some researchers, stress hormones can actually disconnect a network of neurons in your brain. When that happens, you begin a thought and you can’t remember how to finish it or start to do something and forget what it was. Stress costs businesses money every year.
Keep your memory in shape. If you want to improve your memory and your brain, you have to use it. Put away your smart phone and dial phone numbers from memory. If you don’t like memorizing numbers, try a poem or some funny stories. These are great workouts for your working memory.
Pick up a book. Reading is good for your brain, and it increases your vocabulary. Reading helps you build new connections in your brain and may even cause new neurons to develop. It also gives you something to talk to people about.
Be upbeat. Make sure you find time to do those things that truly make you feel good. Optimism in a leader builds confidence in employees and customers. You can train your brain to be more optimistic. Optimists know they have good brains, and they work to maintain them.
Make a few changes. Try a new route to work or a new hobby. Breaking your routine causes you to be more aware of how your mind is working. The brain likes novelty. Give it something new to think about, and you make some new connections.
Name that tune. Learning how to play a musical instrument excites your brain. Playing music activates several areas of the brain and so gets blood and oxygen flowing in various structures, making an overall healthier brain. If you don’t play an instrument, at least play Name That Tune.
Teach someone else. Research has suggested for years that teaching others is the number-one way to learn information yourself. Think about something you’re good at and you haven’t had much time for. Find someone who is interested in learning. You’ll renew some brain patterns, help someone else, and probably have a good time as well!