2018 is just around the corner! This has all of us thinking that 2017 was quite a year. To recap, here are some highlights:
An underwater continent Zealandia was discovered in the South Pacific. Emmanuel Macron won France’s presidential election. North Korea tested their first successful intercontinental ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan. Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, proclaimed victory over Islamic State forces in Mosul. Hurrican Irma became the post powerful Atlantic Ocean hurrican in recorded hisotry. The New York Times publichses investigation into sexual harrassment behaviour by Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein. The Islamic State headquarters Raqqa declared under full control of US-les alliance by Syrian Democratic Forces spokesman Talal Sello. Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s now former President after 37 years, resigned during his impeachment proceedings.
What does all of this have to do with Neurosurgery? Well, it is what we feed our brains. According to Adweek, the average person in 2017 spent around one hour and 55 minutes on social media daily. Meanwhile, a survery done by the Pew Research Center found that around 6 in 10 Americans get their news from social media. A national survey conducted by NPR of more than 2,500 Americans also found that about 1 out of 4 said they experienced a great deal of stress in the previous month. Their biggest day-to-day stressor? Watching, reading or listening to the news.
These facts are not to dissuade you from watching the news or going on social media. It is more of a challenge for all of us to reflect on our daily habits this past year so we can improve our health this coming year.
Although there are many, here are six lifestyle changes The Cleveland Clinic shows drastically impact your brain health:
1. Physical Exercise
Exercise improves your blood flow and memory. It will stimulate chemical changes in your brain that enhance learning, mood and thinking. Get fit and get smart!
2. Food and Nutrition
It’s true: you are what you eat and drink. The older you grow, your brain is exposed to more harmful stress due to lifestyle and environmental factors. This results in a process called oxidation and it damages your brain cells. Just like you wouldn’t want your new tires on your car to rust, you don’t want oxidation happening to your brain. Eating foods that are rich in antioxidants can help offset these harmful effects.
3. Medical Health
Only you can control and reduce the risks of dementia such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, head trauma, higher cholesterol and smoking. Make sure you’re getting your medical check-up and following your docto’s recommendations! Take your medications as prescribed and engage in a brain healthy lifestyle.
4. Sleep and Relaxation
Maybe you can practice meditation! Managing stress can help fend off age-related decline in brain health. Sleep is extremely important. It energizes you, improves your mood and your immune system. Stay positive and stay happy!
5. Mental Fitness
Mental exercise is just as critical as physical exercise in keeping your brain fit and healthy. Mental exercises can improve your brain’s functioning and promite new brain cell growth, which can decrease your likelihood of developing dementia. Exercise your brain like you would your muscles!
6. Social Interaction
Spend time with your friends and loved ones. Engage in stimulating conversation and stay in touch with others. Those with the most social interaction in their community experience the slowest rate of memory decline. Go out and have a cup of coffee with an old friend!
It is National Neurosurgery Solutions’ hope that all of us take on at least one of these great challenges into our permanent lifestyle in this new year. We hope your new year is filled with a lot of love, joy, health, and laughter.