The brain is a complex organ and the center of what we do. It controls everything, down from digestion, muscle memory, and learning. However, most of our daily activities aren’t supporting or optimizing brain development for ourselves or our families. We tend to live in very stimulated, very intense environments that put our brains into overdrive.
When we discuss brain chemicals, epinephrine and norepinephrine are two huge factors when navigating stress. When our bodies are constantly stimulated, in a state of stress, we compensate. We tend to hyper-produce certain chemicals and drain the supplies of others. If we do not create a balance and restore period, we continue to spiral, creating other health issues in our wake.
Meeting and consulting with a functional medicine doctor would be a great way to establish overall body balance. They look and examine what systems are working, what levels are low, and will brainstorm a plan to support your body in the best way possible.https://wertheimercenter.com
Neuroscience and integrative research, as well as nutritional research, support we are and what we eat. If your diet is full of processed foods and unclean sourced your brain is full of processed chemicals from unclean sources. If you eat a ton of sugar, your brain is full of sugar. This example is a very simplified summary, but you are what you eat. Giada has a great new cookbook.
To support your brain, you need a diet full of whole, unprocessed foods with a healthy balance of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. You want to limit or balance sugars using more coconut sugar, date sugar, or even maple syrup. For more information, check out our old blog.
As we mentioned, our environment and lifestyle also significantly impact our brain health and thus how we handle feelings and stress. If your days consist of running from one thing to another, bouncing on and off your screen, you are going to feel more irritable, limited, and stressed. Our kids feel this way too. If you were to check in with your child when you pick them up from school (How is your body feeling? What do you want to do when you get home?) Most likely, they will give you an answer that suggests they need to relax. They want to rest and restore from all the learning and stimulation they had at school.
More times than not, when we see children with anxiety in our office or family issues, they are over-stimulated. A lot of the work we do initially is trying to re-establish a healthy balance. How many screens are they using? What does their outside play look like? What activities are they in? Do they enjoy these activities? We often feel the best way to parent is to do all the things-soccer, piano, art lessons, tutoring, etc. Our children at their grade school level need structure, with time to play, creatively.
Very often, parents say their kids “don’t know how to play.” This statement is likely valid. At a young age, we are shuffling the kids around, filling their schedule, so they never had or feel bored, or learning to occupy their time, which is a massive gap in their development. Kids are missing this piece. Their brains need time to relax, restore and recharge. Not only is it imperative for their development, but it is also vital for their brains.
To summarize, having a healthy brain is not easy. It prioritizes, makes lifestyle changes, and filters through a need to do’s versus want to do’s. As always, we are here to support you, and the path to a healthy brain is not a fast one, but it is one worth taking. Check out our brain health checklist.