- Brain Boost And Agendafinally Teach To Be Happy Birthday
- Brain Boost And Agendafinally Teach To Be Happy For You
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- Brain Boost And Agendafinally Teach To Be Happy Wishes
If you don’t keep your mind active, your brain can lose some of its functionality as you age, which causes memory loss, brain fog, and even Alzheimer’s, studies show. A well-stimulated brain elevates your mood, which helps you feel better on the inside.
Brain Boost Mrs. Eberst started her picture and got too caught up choosing her next book to read. Help her finish her picture! Agenda 12-5-13 Read Log: 20 min. How to be happy, according to scientists In 2014, two psychologists at the University of California, Berkeley, launched an online course with a lofty goal: teaching students how to be happy.
Brain-training efforts designed to improve working memory can also boost scores in general problem-solving ability and improve fluid intelligence, according to University of Michigan research from 2008. Many psychologists believe general intelligence can be separated into “fluid” and “crystalline” components. Fluid intelligence, considered one of the most important factors in learning, applies to all problems while crystallized intelligence consists of skills useful for specific tasks.
Here are 15 brain boosting activities that could help you maintain a healthy mind:
1. Play games that challenge and stimulate your mind
Although the evidence of brain benefits from game playing is sparse and often contradictory, engaging in mental challenges that you find enjoyable is a good way to spend some spare time, and surely can’t hurt.
Researchers at the University of Sydney have found that engaging in computer-based brain training can improve memory and mood in older adults with mild cognitive impairment – but training is no longer effective once a dementia diagnosis has been made.
The team, comprising researchers from the Brain and Mind Centre, reviewed more than 20 years of research and showed that brain training could lead to improvements in global cognition, memory, learning and attention, as well as psychosocial functioning (mood and self-perceived quality of life) in people with mild cognitive impairment. Conversely, when data from 12 studies of brain training in people with dementia was combined, results were not positive.
Try such things as:
Deduction Games (such as Clue)
2. Read A Good Novel
Reading stimulates the brain as it activates your imagination. Reading also helps with memory retention and problem solving, especially if you’re reading a mystery. Also, self-help books stimulate your brain by helping you to think for yourself, as well as find solutions in your mind.
In 2003, researchers published a paper demonstrating that reading literary fiction enhances a set of skills and thought processes fundamental to complex social relationships – and functional societies. These researchers performed five experiments to measure the effect of reading literary fiction on participants' Theory of Mind, the complex social skill of “mind-reading” to understand others' mental states.
Interestingly, the study showed that not just any fiction fosters Theory of Mind, rather the literary quality of the fiction is the determining factor. The literary texts used in the experiments had vastly different content and subject matter, but all produced similarly high Theory of Mind results. Literary fiction works were represented by excerpts from recent National Book Award finalists or winners of the 2012 PEN/O. Henry Prize for short fiction.
3. Exercising helps circulate blood that carries oxygen to your brain
Over the long-term, exercise is proven to increase brainpower and even create new neurons. MRI scans have revealed that endurance runners’ brains have greater functional connectivity than the brains of more sedentary people.
Researchers compared brain scans of young-adult cross-country runners to young adults who don’t engage in regular physical activity. The runners, overall, showed greater functional connectivity — connections between distinct brain regions — within several areas of the brain, including the frontal cortex, which is important for cognitive functions such as planning, decision-making, and the ability to switch attention between tasks.
Stimulate your brain with meditation. Meditation has been shown to increase your IQ, relieve stress, and promote a higher level of brain functioning.
Meditation also stimulates the prefrontal cortex of the brain, the area of the brain responsible for advanced thinking, ability and performance.
A 2012 report by UCLA researchers showed that long-term meditators have larger amounts of gyrification (“folding” of the cortex, which may allow the brain to process information faster) than people who do not meditate. Further, a direct correlation was found between the amount of gyrification and the number of meditation years, possibly providing further proof of the brain’s neuroplasticity, or ability to adapt to environmental changes.
Deep breathing helps deliver oxygen to your brain. Oxygen helps you be more alert and awake. As little as 10 to 15 minutes of deep breathing daily can increase brain functionality.
Controlled breathing at a slowed rate can also significantly reduce feelings of pain, according to 2010 research. Chronic pain sufferers, specifically fibromyalgia patients, also reported less pain while breathing slowly, unless they were overwhelmed by negative feelings, sadness or depression.
6. Omega 3
Taking fish oil supplements is literally like membrane material for the brain. The two primary components in omega 3 fatty acid fish oil, DHA and EPA, strengthen the emotional center of the brain and boost focus.
Fernando Gómez-Pinilla, a UCLA professor of neurosurgery and physiological science who has spent years studying the effects of food, exercise and sleep on the brain, says:
“Food is like a pharmaceutical compound that affects the brain. Diet, exercise and sleep have the potential to alter our brain health and mental function. This raises the exciting possibility that changes in diet are a viable strategy for enhancing cognitive abilities, protecting the brain from damage and counteracting the effects of aging.'
Omega-3 fatty acids - found in salmon, walnuts and kiwi fruit - provide many benefits, including improving learning and memory and helping to fight against such mental disorders as depression and mood disorders, schizophrenia, and dementia, said Gómez-Pinilla, a member of UCLA’s Brain Research Institute and Brain Injury Research Center.
Synapses in the brain connect neurons and provide critical functions; much learning and memory occurs at the synapses, Gómez-Pinilla said.
“Omega-3 fatty acids support synaptic plasticity and seem to positively affect the expression of several molecules related to learning and memory that are found on synapses,” Gómez-Pinilla said. “Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for normal brain function
7. Add Some Music To Your Day
Studies have proven that listening to music strengthens the right hemisphere of the brain and actually changes the structure of it. Also, people who listen to music are shown to be more emotionally intelligent than those who don’t.
Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, a research team, led by Dr. Vinoo Alluri from the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, recorded the brain responses of individuals who were listening to a piece of modern Argentinian tango. Subsequently, using sophisticated computer algorithms, they analyzed the musical content of the tango, showing how its rhythmic, tonal and timbral components evolve over time.
This was the first time such a study has been carried out using real music instead of artificially constructed music-like sound stimuli. Comparison of the brain responses and the musical features revealed many interesting things.
The researchers found that music listening recruits not only the auditory areas of the brain, but also employs large-scale neural networks. For instance, they discovered that the processing of musical pulse recruits motor areas in the brain, supporting the idea that music and movement are closely intertwined.
Limbic areas of the brain, known to be associated with emotions, were found to be involved in rhythm and tonality processing. Processing of timbre was associated with activations in the so-called default mode network, which is assumed to be associated with mind-wandering and creativity.
Writing improves memory and thought expression. Writing articles, blogs, or journal entries stimulates thought processes, which also enhances brain function.
And writing by hand strengthens the learning process.
When typing on a keyboard, this process may be impaired. Neurophysiologists have examined research which goes a long way in confirming the significance of these differences.
When writing by hand, our brain receives feedback from our motor actions, together with the sensation of touching a pencil and paper. These kinds of feedback is significantly different from those we receive when touching and typing on a keyboard.
“Our bodies are designed to interact with the world which surrounds us. We are living creatures, geared toward using physical objects – be it a book, a keyboard or a pen – to perform certain tasks,'
explains asssociate professor Anne Mangen at the University of Stavanger’s Reading Centre.
9. Get Some Sleep
Sleep clears out brain clutter and reduces brain fog. When you don’t get enough sleep at night, your memory and normal brain function suffers.
Four days' exposure to a REM sleep deprivation procedure reduces cell proliferation in the part of the forebrain that contributes to long-term memory in rats, according to a 2008 study.
Brain Boost And Agendafinally Teach To Be Happy Birthday
Researchers have also found that a lack of sleep, which is common in anxiety disorders, may play a key role in ramping up the brain regions that contribute to excessive worrying.
10. Get Creative
Painting is shown to be an effective brain booster in that it sparks the creativity within you. Even if you’ve never tried painting before, give it a shot. You’ll find that you feel more creative and may actually enjoy it.
One possible explanation for the link between mental health and creativity was found in a study from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. By studying receptors in the brain, researchers managed to show that the dopamine system in healthy, highly creative people is similar in some respects to that seen in people with schizophrenia.
11. Don’t Skip Breakfast
Starting the day out with a good breakfast has been proven to supply energy to the brain and body for the whole day. When you skip breakfast, you’re missing out on a powerful edge, both physically and mentally.
Research from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing found that children who regularly have breakfast on a near-daily basis had significantly higher full scale, verbal, and performance IQ test scores.
In one of the first studies to examine IQ and breakfast consumption, researchers examined data from 1,269 children six years old in China, where breakfast is highly valued, and concluded that children who did not eat breakfast regularly had 5.58 points lower verbal, 2.50 points lower performance, and 4.6 points lower total IQ scores than children who often or always ate breakfast after adjusting for seven sociodemographic factors.
12. Go Take A Walk
Walking allows you to clear your mind and thoughts. Not only is it good exercise for your body, walking gives your brain a chance to wander freely, clearing it of any troublesome thoughts.
In one of the first studies to examine the effect of nature walks on cognition and mood in people with major depression, researchers in Canada and the US found evidence that a walk in the park may provide some cognitive benefits. Participants showed a 16 percent increase in attention and working memory after the nature walk relative to the urban walk.
Interestingly, interacting with nature did not alleviate depressive mood to any noticeable degree over urban walks, as negative mood decreased and positive mood increased after both walks to a significant and equal extent. This suggests that separate brain mechanisms may underlie the cognitive and mood changes of interacting with nature.
13. Juice Up
Drink a serving of pure fruit juice. Fruit juice contains nutrients that revitalize and refresh the brain. Juices to drink are pomegranate, blueberry, and cranberry as they deliver more focus and energy.
One study found that blueberries, one of the richest sources of healthful antioxidants and other so-called phytochemicals, improve memory.
In the study, one group of volunteers in their 70s with early memory decline drank the equivalent of 2-2 l/2 cups of a commercially available blueberry juice every day for two months. A control group drank a beverage without blueberry juice. The blueberry juice group showed significant improvement on learning and memory tests, the scientists say.
“These preliminary memory findings are encouraging and suggest that consistent supplementation with blueberries may offer an approach to forestall or mitigate neurodegeneration,” said the report.
14. Coffee Cure
Students who drink some caffeine before an exam typically have higher scores than those who don’t. This is because caffeine stimulates activity in the brain, which produces better focus and thinking ability. Don’t overdo it though.
In a 2011 report, Annia Galano and Jorge Rafael León-Carmona described evidence suggesting that coffee is one of the richest sources of healthful antioxidants in the average person’s diet.
Some of the newest research points to caffeine, also present in tea, cocoa, and other foods, as the source of powerful antioxidant effects that may help protect people from Alzheimer’s and other diseases.
15. Drawing Comfort
Draw a picture. Like painting, drawing stimulates the creative side of your brain. So get out some colored pencils and start boosting your brainpower.
Researchers at the University of Waterloo have found that drawing pictures of information that needs to be remembered is a strong and reliable strategy to enhance memory. Participants often recalled more than twice as many drawn than written words.
To get the most out of these brain boosting activities, mix them up and do a variety of them at different times. Just trying one likely won’t boost your brainpower. However, combining and alternating them just may give your brain the added boost you need now and in the long run.
For future updates, subscribe via Newsletter here or Twitter© Provided by CNET Donald Iain Smith/Getty Images
Brain Boost And Agendafinally Teach To Be Happy For You
In 2014, two psychologists at the University of California, Berkeley, launched an online course with a lofty goal: teaching students how to be happy, through both science and practice, in just eight weeks. No big deal, right?© Getty/Donald Iain Smith
The amazing thing: It seemed to work. Thousands of students took the Science of Happiness course (which is still free to audit on edX, a provider of open online courses) and learned about the science of connection, compassion, gratitude and mindfulness. Perhaps more importantly, they also completed a series of simple activities that research suggests increase happiness.
Those who fully participated saw their positive feelings increase each week. They reported feeling less sadness, stress, loneliness, anger and fear, while at the same time experiencing more amusement, enthusiasm and affection, as well as a greater sense of community. During the course, students' happiness and life satisfaction increased by about 5%. And that boost remained even four months after the course ended (though it's difficult to fully untangle that result; it could've been from doing the activities, the students' new understanding of the psychology of happiness, or something totally different).© Provided by CNET
How does this work? Can you really change how happy you are that easily?
According to the research, yes. Even during challenging times, like the coronavirus pandemic.
The malleability of happiness
'There's a misconception that happiness is built-in and that we can't change it,' says Laurie Santos, a professor of psychology at Yale University who teaches a free Coursera class called The Science of Well-Being.
One popular theory that suggests we can affect our feelings is the happiness pie chart, proposed in a 2005 paper (PDF) published in the Review of General Psychology. At the time, researchers suggested that while 50% of your happiness is determined by your genes and 10% by your life circumstances, 40% is determined by your daily activities. Though this breakdown has faced criticism (that it's too simple, and doesn't take into account how your genes and environment interact), it taps into an idea that's fairly widely accepted: At least some of your happiness is within your control.
'The science shows that our circumstances -- how rich we are, what job we have, what material possessions we own -- these things matter less for happiness than we think,' Santos says. (Research does show that wealthier people are happier than poorer people -- but not by a ton.)There's a misconception that happiness is built in and that we can't change it.
Another big misconception? That happiness is the same as a consistently positive emotional state, says Emiliana Simon-Thomas, who co-teaches Berkley's The Science of Happiness course and is also the science director of Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center. Being happy doesn't mean you feel pure joy and cheerfulness every hour of every day. Humans aren't designed that way (and think of how annoying you'd be if you were). You experience setbacks, problems, the loss of loved ones. And those negative feelings are an essential part of your emotional life, too.
Happiness, experts say, means accepting negative experiences, and having the skills to manage and cope with them, and to use them to make better decisions later.
'We think happiness is like a Facebook reel of vacations and achievements and checkboxes for life goals,' Simon-Thomas says. 'But people who pursue happiness in that sort of belief system end up being less happy than people who define happiness in a more overarching, quality-of-life way.'© Provided by CNET Nuttapong Charoenarparussamse/Getty Images
How to make yourself happier, according to science
The appealing thing about being able to control at least part of your own happiness is you can do it from home, or anywhere, for free. Here are five exercises that clinical studies have shown improve your feelings of happiness and well-being.
(An important caveat: For people with clinical anxiety, depression or other mental health issues, these exercises aren't a replacement for therapy, medication or other professional interventions. However, some research suggests they can be beneficial as a supplement to those services.)
1. Enhance your social connections
Social connection is the biggest factor affecting happiness, multiple studies have found. One of the most convincing is the Harvard Study of Adult Development which, for more than 80 years has followed the lives of hundreds of participants and, now, their children.
Close relationships (with spouses, family, friends, community members) are the biggest factor keeping people happy throughout their lives, researchers discovered. People with strong relationships are happier, and physically and mentally healthier, than those who are less well-connected. (The researchers are still studying the connection between relationships and physical health -- there's evidence that good relationships result in lower levels of stress hormones, and less chronic inflammation.) Quality relationships (not quantity) are better predictors of a long and happy life than social class, IQ or genetics, according to the study.
Just how important relationships are came as a surprise, says Robert Waldinger, the current director of the study, whose 2015 TED Talk on the subject has been viewed more than 34 million times. 'We figured that if you have good relationships, you're likely to be happier, but we did not believe at first the data showing us that good relationships actually keep our bodies healthier and help us live longer. And then other studies began to find the same thing.'Good relationships actually keep our bodies healthier and help us live longer.
These relationships require work, Waldinger says. You have to keep up with people, which means giving them your time and attention -- especially during the pandemic. Call them, video chat with them, take a socially distanced walk if you can. Deliberately choose to spend time together.
Other ingredients for a long and happy life include not smoking or abusing alcohol, exercising regularly and finding work-life balance, the Harvard study found. 'Rather than just being your grandmother's good advice, there's real science behind this,' Waldinger says. 'You can quantify the number of years you'll live longer, if you do these things.'
Brain Boost And Agendafinally Teach To Be Happy Hour
2. Engage in random acts of kindness© Provided by CNET Sonja Lyubomirsky, a UC Riverside professor, found that purposefully engaging in random acts of kindness can make you feel happier. Josh Blanchard
Find ways to perform small, random acts of kindness during your day. These acts can be incredibly simple, from complimenting a stranger at the grocery store on his or her shirt to making your spouse coffee before work to engaging a co-worker you don't usually talk with in a friendly Zoom chat.
Deliberately performing random acts of kindness can make you feel happier and less depressed and anxious, according to a series of studies (PDF) from Sonja Lyubomirsky at UC Riverside. Varying those acts you do for others has a longer-term effect on your own happiness.
This works because these acts tap into your natural prosocial behavior, or the basic human impulse to help others, Simon-Thomas says. When you invest your own resources in the welfare of others, it activates your brain's reward system -- you feel good that you made the other person feel good.
3. Express gratitude
Writing down three things you're grateful for at the end of each day, and why they happened, leads to long-term increases in happiness and decreases in depressive symptoms, according to a 2005 study from Martin Seligman, director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. It doesn't matter how large or small each thing is -- just write them down, in a notebook or your Notes app or wherever. For example, you might write down 'Finished a paper, because I worked hard on it. Had a good talk with my friend because she called me. Went for a walk and saw some cute dogs, because it was a nice day.'© Provided by CNET Getty/Natalie Board/EyeEm
The point is to train your mind to orient itself to the parts of your life that are good, instead of directing your attention to things that are stressful or irritating, Simon-Thomas says.
The pandemic might make it harder to feel grateful, but taking time to count your blessings even now is still a powerful way to improve well-being, Santos adds.
4. Practice mindfulness
You may have already tried all those mindfulness apps. But exercises like meditation that teach your brain to focus on the present instead of the past or future can increase feelings of self-acceptance, according to a 2011 study (PDF) from the International Journal of Wellbeing.
'The idea is to be present -- don't judge your emotions, but recognize them,' says Elizabeth Dunn, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia. If you need a hand, Dunn helped launch a free set of wellness exercises called Peace, by the fintech company Happy Money. These exercises use research on positive psychology and cognitive behavioral therapy to increase happiness and reduce feelings of stress.Don't judge your emotions, but recognize them.
Brain Boost And Agendafinally Teach To Be Happy Wishes
(Another caveat: If you have PTSD, proceed with caution or check with your doctor first, as mindfulness exercises may be triggering, experts say, because they can unearth trauma.)
5. Practice self-compassion
This might be the most challenging item on the list, Simon-Thomas says. Particularly in the West, people have adopted a propensity for self-criticism as a cultural value, and tend to self-punish when dealing with setbacks and failures, she says. But excessive self-criticism gets in the way of achieving your goals.
There are three parts to practicing self-compassion, and they draw on some of the other exercises on this list: Be present in the moment rather than dwelling on the past or looking anxiously to the future. Understand that setbacks are part of being human, and all people experience them. Cultivate a warm, supportive inner voice rather than a hostile, self-critical one.
You can work to hone your supportive inner voice by writing a letter to yourself, using the tone you'd use if you were writing to a relative or friend who'd asked for support, Simon-Thomas says. For example, if you lost your job, you might be beating yourself up over it. But if a friend lost his job, you'd be more likely to say: 'Hey, this just wasn't meant to be. You have so much to offer and will find the right opportunity.'
'It's a way to tap into a different way of speaking to ourselves that's important for being able to manage difficulties and setbacks, and grow from life's challenges,' Simon-Thomas says.
One more big caveat: Race
Virtually every major study on happiness and well-being has one thing in common: The vast majority of researchers and participants are white. Lack of diversity is a big problem across most areas of psychological research: Of more than 26,000 empirical articles published between 1974 and 2018 in top-tier cognitive, developmental and social psychology journals, only 5% highlighted race, according to a study from Stanford University published in June. The majority of psychology journal editors and authors published were white, the study found.
'There's a theoretical importance and social importance in just making sure that all humans are represented in our science,' says Steven O. Roberts, lead author of the study and an assistant professor of psychology at Stanford. 'From a purely statistical point of view, you can't take findings from a subset from middle class white Protestant US citizens and use that to make inferences about happiness, period. Because happiness extends obviously beyond that.'
Many of the basics of happiness research, and the efficacy of the exercises above, would likely hold true across racial groups, because underlying human biology is more powerful than the differences between groups, Waldinger says. This is especially true for social connections. However, the daily microaggressions and fears that people of color face could change the conditions of happiness for those groups, he adds.
One of the basic tenets of biological science is that race doesn't play a role in how the brain responds to certain stimuli. However, researchers are also only beginning to learn more about epigenetics -- an emerging field of science that studies how trauma may activate certain genes, and how people potentially pass those genes down to their children.
'The social experiences associated with racial identity can give rise to differences in our psychological experiences,' Roberts says. 'Biologically, we're all the same. There's no biological basis to race. But there's definitely a social basis to race.'
Diversifying research populations gives us a more accurate understanding of humanity as a whole, which could help us learn more about the foundations of happiness for everyone. After all, 'people of color can be happy,' Roberts says. 'Everyone can be happy.'
This story is part of a special report on the science of happiness and how to strive for it during difficult, complex times. Look for stories on the brain chemistry behind happiness, everyday ways people are perking themselves up during the pandemic and how chasing happiness too single-mindedly could actually make you feel worse.