Brain Training Tip: the four basic needs of the brain

Posted 12 December
Brain Training Tip basic needs of the brain

-By Elaine Corcoran, Founder of Brain Training Australia™ in Perth

Your brain has certain requirements that are simply not negotiable, without them, it cannot function well. There are basic, but very key things that your brain must have, and as basic as they are, they are often what is missing when people are struggling with stress, overthinking, anxiety and insomnia.

We at Brain Training Australia call the four non-negotiable requirements of the brain, the NEWS. The NEWS is an acronym that stands for: nutrition, exercise, water and sunlight. They sound so simple and are so attainable yet oftentimes one or more of these elements is missing from our client’s lives. 

NUTRITION 

You get out of your body exactly what you put in to your body. It is simple and it is true. How do you feel after you eat fast food or takeaways? Does this food make you feel energetic, healthy, or good?  Or does it make you feel sluggish, lethargic, and like you could eat another meal soon after because it didn’t give your body what it needs? Compare that to how you feel when you eat high quality nutritional food and take note of the difference. It’s not complicated, in fact it is so basic it is easy to overlook. The following is a list of nutrient rich foods that you could consider integrating into your diet. 

  • Oily fish such as tuna, mackerel or salmon
  • Leafy greens 
  • Berries
  • Avocado
  • Eggs
  • Sweet potato
  • Kefir
  • Yogurt (natural and unsweetened)
  • Bananas
  • Legumes

The above list will add potassium, folate, vitamin C, antioxidants, omega 3 and probiotics into your diet with such minimal effort and you will feel the difference. 

EXERCISE

We all know that exercise is important, yet when we get stressed or start to feel flat, after nutrition it is often the next thing to fall by the wayside. When you are feeling overwhelmed you may not feel like hitting the gym like Rocky Balboa, but getting in some exercise is important as it will help boost and maintain your dopamine (the feel good chemical), your serotonin (our regulation chemical) and your endorphins (positivity related chemicals). Just ten minutes of aerobic exercise is enough to release these chemicals. So you don’t need to sweat it out for an hour, you just need to move. The following are really good options for the days you don’t feel up to a rigorous bout of exercise:

  • Go for a walk and adjust your pace now and then from slow to fast
  • Take the stairs rather than the elevator or escalator
  • Stretch for ten minutes
  • Do some gardening
  • Take your bike out for a ride, or hop on your skateboard
  • Shoot basketball hoops
  • Do a few minutes of skipping
  • Dance 
  • Take a dog out for a stroll

WATER AND WHY YOU NEED IT

The next most basic non-negotiable need for your brain is water. We all know we need it, but again, when stress starts to creep in, water intake seems to fall by the wayside as we reach instead for coffee, sugary drinks or even worse, energy drinks. Every single cell in your body needs water and 95% of your brain functions use water. So when you are not adequately hydrated, you will not function well. Teaching yourself to drink water is just like teaching yourself anything else, it requires routine and habit. To support this try the following:

  • Drink water first thing in the morning (before you reach for the coffee)
  • Keep water within reach at work (and actually drink it)
  • Set a break timer so that at regular intervals you have a stretch and a sip of water
  • Have a glass of water with every meal
  • With each coffee you drink have a glass of water before or after

SUNLIGHT AND HOW IT HELPS YOUR BRAIN

Sunlight and the brain
Sunlight helps the brain as it generates natural Vitamin D

We need sunlight for a myriad of reasons, but again, when we get busy, stressed and pressed for time, we stay indoors more, we don’t bother to go outside for lunch breaks, we arrive to work early and leave late and before long, we start to feel the negative impact of not getting enough sunlight. It is really important, no matter how busy you are, to get outside into the daylight, especially during the working week, to give your brain and body a chance to soak in some daylight. This will make sure that you:

  • Get enough vitamin D which is vital for overall health 
  • Keep your body clock regulated
  • Proactively protect yourself from seasonal depression
  • Maintain your focus and energy levels

The NEWS are absolutely vital to maintaining the healthy function of both your brain and your body. When you feel yourself becoming stressed and overwhelmed take note of your daily activities and monitor them to see if you are actually getting what you need: nutrition, exercise, water and sunlight. 

WHAT ELSE CAN I DO TO MANAGE MY STRESS?

Neurofeedback brain training with a non-linear neurofeedback system such as Neuroptimal is the ultimate brain training session. It is a non-invasive and holistic approach that balances the mind, the emotions and will significantly boost your neuroplastic capabilities. The system is very advanced and most people notice changes and improvements occur very quickly, often after just one session. After 10-15 sessions the majority of people notice significant and permanent reductions in stress, anxiety, depression, overthinking, constant thoughts and many other issues. In addition clients tend to notice less stress, improved resilience, a greater sense of self, and an overall improvement in confidence. 

Improving neuroplasticity is a proactive approach to improving and maintaining your health and well being throughout your lifetime. It keeps your mind nimble, flexible, ready for new information and it maintains and supports optimal mental health. 

HOW DO I GET STARTED?

The first step is to get in contact with us and if you haven’t done so already – book in for your First Appointment!

The team at Brain Training Australia™ recognise the unique qualities of all our clients and will work closely with you to personalise your Brain Training Program so that you can achieve your goals of optimal mental processes.

We look forward to helping you live a much richer, happier and healthier life, and to stop having a stressed, overwhelmed and busy brain.

Learn more – how we help you to self-regulate a stressed, overwhelmed and busy brain.