1. Balance brain patterns through meditation.
Through examination of brain wave activity in EEG's, we observe brain waves that are irregularly too high or too low suggest problems with the cerebral cortical functions. During meditation, gamma brain waves, which are associated with high levels of cognitive functioning, peak concentration and feelings of bliss.
2. The nose is the door to the brain.Alternate nostril breathing works on the frontal lobe; it balances the left and right hemispheres, improves capillary circulation and gives an alert and attentive mind. By stimulating the left side we activate masculine energies and by stimulating the right side we activate feminine energies. By creating balance between the male and female, the sun and moon, the light and dark, the action and inaction we find ourselves at peace with the duality of existence. It is here where clarity resides. Nasya, or nose drops, brings intelligence and nourishes prana, or life force. Putting 3 to 5 drops of oil into each nostril in the morning helps to lubricate the nose, clean the sinuses, eliminate accumulated stress in the neck and shoulders, strengthen vision, and improve mental clarity.
- For Vata use sesame oil or ghee
- For Pitta use ghee, sunflower, or coconut oil
- For Kapha use calamus root oil
3. Use herbs, spices, and oils to support the health of your brain.
Bacopa is used to reduce memory loss, improve understanding, regulate mood swings, and reduce overall stress and tension. Research suggests that it protects brain cells from chemicals involved in Alzheimer's disease.
This ancient herb supports the body's ability to cope with stress. Ashwagandha has been shown to support healthy brain cell activity in the face of free radicals. It is well known for its restorative, revitalizing, and strengthening properties. It helps build a stronger immune system, decreases cholesterol, and balances blood sugar while providing relief from anxiety and depression.
A clogged colon leads to a clogged mind. Triphala is a gentle colon cleanser that will keep your system regular. When constipated, the mind becomes dull and lethargic, with diarrhea comes stress, irritability, and anxiety. Triphala strikes balance in the GI tract leaving you with perfect digestion.
The small intestine contains more than a hundred million nerve cells giving the GI tract its nickname as the second brain. Our digestion responds to thoughts and emotions. If the brain senses stress, for example, it can signal to the gut immune cells to release chemicals leading to inflammation. Ginger help to regulate and stimulate your digestive strength. Healthy digestion and metabolism also maintain clear internal bodily channels that facilitate toxic free pathways for the nervous system to send nerve impulses.
4. Eat to promote mental fitness.Food can be classified into three categories; sattvic, rajasic, and tamasic. Sattvic food nourishes the mind, promotes intelligence, and balance, rajasic food nourishes the ego, creates energy and causes imbalance and tamasic food creates dullness, substance, and inertia.
- Sattvic: eating peacefully:vegetables, fruits, legumes, milk, ghee, honey, nuts, whole grains, beans, rice, herbal tea
- Rajasic: eating too quickly: coffee, caffeinated teas, soda, energy drinks, chocolate, spicy foods, salty foods
- Tamasic: overeating: meat, onions, garlic, scallions, leeks, chives, mushrooms, alcohol, eggplants, leftovers, fried food, canned food, frozen food
5. Massage the scalp with oil before sleep.
Just as the body benefits from massage, so does the brain. Massaging the scalp with coconut oil before bed to promote intelligence, memory, cognition, alertness, and encourage restfulness and deep relaxation which allows for tissue repair.
6. The billions of cells in your brain require lots of oxygen and antioxidants.
The brain uses a large proportion of the body's supply of oxygen. This makes us susceptible to oxidative damage from free-radicals that thrive on pollution, stress, and chemicals. Overtime, this has a damaging effect on brain cells. Limit your exposure to pollutants and chemicals and load up on antioxidants like blueberries, cherries, raspberries, walnuts, and prunes.
The mind is what the brain does. Balance between mind, body, and consciousness unfolds inner happiness.
Happiness is not dependent on one single thing; happiness is pure beauty, pure love. The mind is not merely a function of the brain; the body itself is a crystallization of mental patterns. Breakdowns in physical bodily functioning have root in disturbed mental processes or improper sensual perception. That is to say that as we learn to balance the mind, the body will follow. When we are able to perpetuate physical changes, our mind sees its power and the process of self-realization begins. Ultimately, this is goal of brain health. What resonates with you? Choose something, one thing. Start slow and watch as your body-mind-spirit unfold into a blissful state of being.
References: Bachmann, K. (2016, May/June). Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy and the Adult ADHD Brain: A Neuropsychotherapeutic Perspective. Frawley, D. (1997). Ayurveda and the mind: The healing of consciousness. Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press. Lad, V. (2012). Textbook of Ayurveda. Albuquerque, NM: Ayurvedic Press.
Meet the author, Melanie Dolan