How to strengthen your brain’s capacity to think smarter
I recently attended the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce’s e2e Forum featuring keynote speaker, Dr. Sandra Chapman, renowned cognitive neuroscientist, Founder and Chief Director of the Center for Brain Health at the University of Texas at Dallas—and coiner of the term, “brainomics”.
I learned right away that the human brain is not a static organ as was once thought; it’s plastic, meaning it can grow and change. So, what if you could get a comprehensive fitness plan to “exercise” your way to a healthier brain?
With a focus on how to make your brain work better, Dr. Chapman revealed how the latest neuroscience connects to performance, stress management, and enhanced decision-making and shared several ways we can keep our brains “fit.”
As she challenged the group to think about what it would be like to have a mental edge, she offered several tips from her book, Make Your Brain Smarter, including:
- Synthesize big ideas – Learn to take new information coming in and combine it with the information you already have which allows you to form new ways of thinking. The Center for Brain Health actually teaches big idea thinking, so there’s a lot more to this.
- Innovate – What can you do to incrementally improve or do something differently? These “aha” moments can only come when you step back and give your brain a break – some peace and quiet.
- Single task – As a multi-tasker (I think by nature), I was surprised to hear that our brains weren’t designed to work this way. “It’s like asbestos for the brain,” Dr. Chapman explained. Chronic multi-taskers have more loss of brain blood flow and higher stress.
- Inhibit information – In this age of information overload, the more information you take in, the more overwhelmed you become – to the point where you can’t think deeply.
As you can imagine, I had lots of questions, and Dr. Chapman was bombarded at the end with attendees concerned about their loss of brain blood flow which occurs over time.
My next step is to read Dr. Chapman’s book to learn more about the negative impact of brain drains (such as instant response – the faster you respond, the more emails you receive) and how I can implement healthier ways of thinking to improve it.
I’ve already checked out two resources she referenced: for free, brain-health news delivered to your inbox, visit BrainHealthDaily.com and check out CenterforBrainHealth.org to learn more about their BrainHealth Physical, innovative research and other pioneering programs to optimize brain health and function.