Out of all the organs in our body, the brain is by far one of the most sensitive and important ones. Without it we wouldn’t be able to think, move or interact with the world. We only have one brain and can’t ever get another, which is why we must do our best to nurture it. This means that we need to be aware of any bad habits we might be engaging in that could be making our minds duller. Here are five ways that you may be unintentionally hurting your brain.
1. Burning the Midnight Oil (a Little Too Much)
We’ve all had those moments where we stayed up way past our usual bedtime. The average adult needs about seven to nine hours of sleep, but due to the demands of life, most people barely clock in seven hours. Our brains use this time to remove toxins and to form new memories and pathways. But not getting enough sleep has some lasting effects on the brain. It won’t be able to effectively do any of the things mentioned earlier and this can lead to depression, insomnia and an increase in appetite.
2. Being A Homebody
Spending time alone is relaxing and therapeutic in its own way, but as we already know, too much of anything isn’t good; we need to keep doing things in moderation. Besides, socializing keeps our brain healthy and reduces the risk of dementia, as well as depression. So if you’re too much of a hermit, then you’re doing yourself a disservice. Your cognitive skills will diminish, your memory will become fuzzy and you’ll become way too idle from staying at home so much. So, try to keep your brain active by interacting with people a bit more.
3. Not Exercising Enough
Your brain loves it when you exercise. That’s because as we get older, the brain decreases in size, which leads to lower oxygen levels. By keeping our heart rates up, we’re constantly supplying large amounts of oxygen to our brain, which helps maintain our cognitive functions. You don’t necessarily have to hit the gym to be active because there are so many ways to stay active like taking the dog out for a walk, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or simply jogging at the park for a few minutes.
4. Can’t Get Enough of Those Cigarettes
Everyone knows how dangerous cigarettes are: the lungs get blackened and the brain gets flooded with so much nicotine that it has to build more receptors to handle it all. If we fail to keep all those new receptors happy, then they’ll go into withdrawal and that’s basically how smoking addiction works. It also makes the cerebral cortex thinner and this region of the brain processes, language, perception and memory. And if the cortex continues to shrink, so does the brain’s ability to carry out those functions.
5. Lost in a Daydream
A little daydreaming is generally harmless as it helps stir up the imagination. But the problem is when it’s done in excess. Then the brain doesn’t get the new input and information it needs so it can continue to build new connections and strengthen the old ones. And in older brains, it becomes especially harder to switch between focused and unfocused states. According to research, daydreaming has a sort of amnesic effect that causes the mind to travel farther from where you are now. So try to engage in more activities that require your full attention.
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