I finally got around to reading “Brain Rules for Aging Well: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School” by John Medina. I’m really pleased I did.
I found the book extremely easy to read. The book summarises the latest in brain science about what keeps the brain strong. It underscores what science proves to work. More importantly, it breaks many myths about what doesn’t. Medina uses a lot of stories and analogies to simplify the complex field of brain science.
The field of studying the brain is relatively young. It was only in the last few decades that we could easily observe the brain without needing to remove it! As a result, this book still leaves many open answers but is at least honest about it.
Some tips that help keep the brain active and healthy include:
- Maintain healthy relationships with a wide variety of people. Avoid emotionally controlling or abusive relationships. Avoid verbally aggressive people. Surround yourself with people who have different opinions and who value different perspectives.
- Reflect on what you are grateful or appreciative about. Share your gratitude with others.
- Learn about something new constantly. Better yet, teach others to expand your own understanding and stretch your brain.
- Stay active (through exercise). Exercise strengths not only your body, but also your brain.
- Get enough sleep. Sleep isn’t about resting. It’s about reseting, getting rid of “toxins” and forming connections essential to learning.
I also learned about a few areas that influences how your brain functions. Your diet has a big influence. Nostalgia can also help. I liked the question, “When did you have the most meaningful experiences of your long life?”
The book also underscored limits to the brain. We are rubbish at multi-tasking. Memories are volatile, so repetition is essential. If someone doesn’t feel safe in a particular environment, they will perform worse. The brain is not designed for long-term stress where you feel like you have no control.
I recommend Brain Rules to anyone who has interest in how their lifestyle affects how they think. It’s accessible, practical and hopefully you leave considering changes to your lifestyle!