Pictured above on the TED Talk screen is a real human brain with its prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, and temporal lobe. A 401(k) is a financial tool–a savings plan that builds up assets over time for the cash benefit of the person owning it. Ordinarily we wouldn’t put those two words in the same sentence, would we? But Neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki did exactly that in a TED Talk. She’s a Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the New York University Center for Neural Science and is the author of Healthy Brain, Happy Life: A Personal Program to Activate Your Brain and Do Everything Better.
Why am I telling you about her research and her concept of giving your brain its own 401(k)?
I’ve recently completed the life-changing six-month Master Key Experience which equipped me with valuable mind mastery techniques that I will excitedly use daily for the rest of my life. In a rich variety of ways over those weeks I learned that the most valuable asset we humans have is our brain, since it houses our mind which produces thought. In fact, mastering that thinking process is the key to all the 13 riches of life. We’d be foolish not to take excellent care of that brain daily!
But you know how it is after any commencement. The daily intensity slows down–there are no more daily requirements to work on assignments, attend hours of classes, participate in MasterMinding zooms, write and read posts, and blog our experiences every week. We move into being self-directed lifelong learners as we master our minds. My colleague Julie Haigh describes the “letting go” that we have learned over the months beautifully. We feel our way into the future with self-confidence and new tools, but we’re a bit tentative.
So wisely, two weeks after our commencement, Davene Januszewski, one of our Guides, sent us an email with a reminder about how to personally continue to take care of our brains. And she challenged us to send her the best brain routines we’ve come up with!
My Guide’s challenge to take excellent care of my brain–and what more could I be doing?
Aloha Shirley. Do you realize what you have between your ears? Yes, it’s your gorgeous, beautiful, amazing brain. How long do you think it would take one of those super computers to calculate what your brain does in 1 second? Yes, that’s right, 1 second, how long? It would take a super computer FORTY MINUTES to calculate what your fantastic brain can do in 1 second! Let’s take care of that beautiful thing.
1. Your brain is made of mostly fat. Eat healthy fats. Yes you HAVE to eat healthy food for your brain fats (search the internet for the best ones).
2. Drink enough water – 1/2 oz per pound of body weight per day
3. Get 6-8 hours of sleep a night
4. Challenge your brain with games, tests, reading non-fiction, anything you can find to activate your brain.
5. Use both sides as often as you can. Simple brain gym stuff. Touch your left knee with your right hand, for example.
5. MOST important – meditate at least 10 minutes each day. The more you meditate the better your brain works – there are 1000s of techniques. Find one that works for you.
Aloha & Mahalo on the amazing hero’s journey you are taking!Davene Januszewski Email. Monday April 12, 2021
So I went in search of more help for the brain and was richly rewarded.
During the course I had already solved a life-long problem with managing my time. I felt because brain care is so incredibly important that I could manage to do better and do more even if it took more time. I first figured out exactly how I planned to strengthen each of the five things Davene had suggested: specific brain food, enough water, adequate sleep, daily thinking challenges, using techniques to engage both sides of the brain, and meditation. Then I went in search of other things I could do to answer her challenge.
I was delighted to find Neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki’s TED Talk on brain plasticity. She has researched and found that vigorous aerobic exercise of any kind–even vacuuming your home!–at least 4 days a week improves brain plasticity now by giving immediate positive benefits for mood, focus, a sense of happiness, and being more productive. But exercise also has long-lasting affects for the future, even even against incurable brain diseases. It slows brain aging and protects your brain from different conditions like depression, Alzheimer’s Disease , and dementia. That’s why she makes the bold claim that exercise is a 401(k) for the brain!
I hope you’ll take 10:49 min to watch her and even stand to do the simple exercises she does with the audience at the end. They took less than 5 minutes and were vigorous but simple. They’re certainly short enough that we could do them and similar ones several times a day at work to take care of our brains. I know I plan to. I want to have a huge brain 401(k)!
I invite you to check out the Master Key Experience to see how it might help you as well. I am thrilled that through it I have found ways to take excellent care of my brain so that I have the best chance of getting all the 13 riches of life available to us!!!
I encourage you to go to the upper right hand corner and sign up to start the same way I started–with the Mindshift you will experience with a 7-DAY MENTAL DIET. I’ll keep with you, sharing other insights with you when you’re on my email list. And/or go here and get on the waiting list for the scholarship program when it opens up on September 9. The course begins Sept 26.
Thank you for sharing your insights and Wendy Suzuki’s TED Talk. I appreciate it and you very much.
Thank you for sharing this information. My daughter has brain damage and is very ill…I am always looking for information to help her…I appreciate you post.
Thanks for the thanks, Joan. I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter. My bad car accident in 2010 taught me a lot about what helps the brain heal, and that knowledge has grown with what I’ve found through MKE. Thank goodness our brains often have an enormous capabability for repair. I will keep you and her in my prayers.
Great post Shirley!!! So important. Dementia and Alzheimer’s run in my family so, good to know! 30 minutes exercise 3 times a week… and all your other good tips… 10 mins meditation is my favorite! 🙂
Gifting my brain! How wonderful:) Thank you!
Thank you so very much, Elena! I appreciate YOU very much as well!
You’re welcome, Nicole. I loved how she put it as like a big financial amount!
Shirley, good for you for talking about the importance of taking care of our brain. Thank you. From your blog rover friend John.
I really enjoyed Wendy Suzuki’s TED Talk that you shared in this post! (I actually WAS able to catch a Starbucks cup that I almost tipped off my desk–and since I exercise more than the minimum amount she recommended, I’m attributing that fast reaction to my exercise habit! LOL!) But seriously, research shows that exercise is very protective for your brain and has all kinds of wonderful side effects! Definitely worth the time to dial that habit into your life! Thank you for reinforcing the importance of exercise Shirley! 🙂
Laura, thank you for reading! I just love your quick reaction and datching that Starbucks cup and connecting it to brain training you are doing with exercise. Thanks for MasterMinding with me! 🙂