Can You Build A Better Brain?
Cosmopolitan India|July 2020
Can You Build A Better Brain?
If you want to enhance your emotional resilience, become razor-sharp at work and lower your risk of neurological diseases, you’ll need to boost your brainpower. Here’s how...
Jennifer Savin

We hit the gym because we know it’s good for our body. We diligently cleanse each night to save our skin. But it seems we’ve forgotten about one body part, and it’s a pretty major one: our brain. But by adding a few simple habits into our routines, we can exercise our grey matter and see improvement in all areas of our life—from our performance at work to helping prevent neurological conditions later down the line. How? UK-based psychologist, Kimberley Wilson, whose new book How To Build A Healthy Brain delves into the subject, explains…

SLEEP

Tuck yourself in. “The journey to a more resilient brain and better mental health starts in bed,” says Kimberley, who has observed the detrimental effects of burning the candle at both ends first-hand, having worked in a law firm during her psychologist training. “A lack of sleep wreaks havoc on emotional wellbeing and decision-making. I had several lawyers tell me they’d go home and cry for hours due to exhaustion. They then felt shame at not being ‘tough enough’ to handle the intensely competitive environment.” Before artificial light existed, us humans were more in tune with being active during daylight hours and restful under the cover of darkness. This pattern is called a ‘circadian rhythm’, and our bodies work best when sticking to it—but modern life makes that tricky. Longer working hours, smartphones and side hustles all come into play, but there are ways to prioritise sleep, says Kimberley.

SEE THE LIGHT

Aim to get half an hour of direct natural light before work or during your lunch break. “It helps to anchor your circadian rhythm,” explains Kimberley. If the weather’s bad, even opening a window helps.

MATH-ZZZ

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July 2020