Boost your brain: advice for the business owner
More from Lisa Cooper
Running a business is like raising children: you never stop thinking about it. It can make you feel proud or keep you up at night. There are always decisions to be made and opportunities not to be missed.
You need to look after yourself if you are going to have fresh ideas and be at your best.
At some time or other you have been told of the importance of being hydrated. Most people are aware that their brain is 70% water. Being dehydrated will impair your short term memory. It will make it difficult to retrieve information from your long-term memory. You’ll not analyse situations as well either, not great for decision making.
When you wake, drink a pint of water. Your body has been busy all night and is crying out for essential fluids to be restored. Caffeine might feel like just the thing you want to ‘wake’ you in the morning. But the effects are short lived and need constant topping up. Water will give you the same mental stimulation, it just takes a little longer but the benefits are far greater.
As well as water, your brain needs glucose. Your body gets glucose from breaking down carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables, and grains. When your Glucose levels drop you will feel confused.
Fad diets are unhelpful, eating in moderation is the key. Bad carbs are fast burners and good carbs are slow burners. Slow burners are high in fiber so take longer to break down and release their nutrients. Fruits and vegetables are better in solid form as juicing makes them burn faster and can cause sugar spikes.
Exercise is great for improving your brain function. You can improve learning and memory through the growth of cells in the hippocampus area. Exercise will also improve the circulation of oxygen and make you feel more awake.
I’m not suggesting you start running to work, it is hard to fit in exercise to our daily schedules. Stairs are the greatest exercise equipment in the home. Jog up and down them for 20 minutes and you will be feeling the workout. Cycling is a great low impact alternative.
You can teach an old dog new tricks. Even in adulthood the brain’s neuroplasticity makes it pliable. Your experiences will help build new neural pathways and alter existing ones.
There are plenty of free learning opportunities out there now. Blogs, seminars, webinars, training courses and networking events are all helpful in this process. But skydiving, bungee jumping or race driving are even better.
Sleep is like money, if you borrow is you will have to pay it back… with interest. The average person needs 7-8 hours sleep so less than this will create a cumulative problem. Your brain just won’t adjust to less. Not enough sleep will have a big impact on your judgment and functions.
If you have trouble getting to sleep, the other four steps should make a real difference. Putting down your blue light-emitting phone at night will also help. Blue light stimulates brain activity, making you wake up.