Rethink Caffeine Before Shopping

Posted by JOANNA C

Rethink Caffeine Before Shopping

                 On a budget?  Or on a shop-till-you drop marathon?  Either way, what you’re drinking or supplementing with before you head out to the stores could be influencing you in surprising ways!                 If you’re fueling yourself through your shopping with coffee in hand, you might want to rethink the caffeine content, according to a study earlier this month from the University of Florida.  Even if you’re not intentionally out to spend some extra cash, your decision-making abilities appear to be altered and self-control decreased compared to others who shop without caffeine on...

If Your Heart’s Not in it, Neither is Your Brain

Posted by JOANNA C

If Your Heart’s Not in it, Neither is Your Brain

             The last time you engaged your brain in a challenging task, how willing were you to challenge yourself?  Based on a recent study, if you’re struggling with the willingness to exert what’s called cognitive effort, being open to the challenge is what makes all the difference.                 We’ve all seen musicians or technological wizards and been amazed at their skills, knowing it must have taken countless hours of dedication to master those types of skills.  The real secret isn’t in continually applying the effort day after day, but in the initial stage of applying...

What "Oops!" Moments Look Like in Your Brain

Posted by JOANNA C

What "Oops!" Moments Look Like in Your Brain

                The adage that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks belittles the cognitive powers of the brain.  We’re finding out every day how flexible and adaptable the brain really is, and our understanding of its complex functions is growing at an exponential rate.                 In fact, the brain is so powerful that we’re learning how it can generalize and specialize within the same second; and that matters when you’re learning new tasks or trying to develop new skills!                 Recent research from Cedars-Sinai’s Neural Science dives deep into what it really takes the brain to learn and successfully...

Boost Your Memory in 10 Minutes

Posted by JOANNA C

Boost Your Memory in 10 Minutes

                If you’re looking for a quick way to improve your memory, it could be simpler than you think.  At the center of all memory-related functions is a brain region called the hippocampus.  You may have noticed that quite a few nootropics and supplements work by improving the connectivity of brain cells within the hippocampus and to other regions of the brain.                 That’s because the hippocampus is involved in memory, learning, and attention; but it’s one of the first regions of the brain to start to degrade with the normal aging process.  We’ve all heard that keeping your mind...

Hacking Your Biological Clock

Posted by JOANNA C

Hacking Your Biological Clock

Among the latest buzzworthy trends in the supplement arena, sirtuin and all things related to telomeres are some of the most innovative ways to master the aging process.  If that sounds like Greek to you, it’s basically anything that helps keep the length of telomeres (the ends of the chromosomes that become shorter and shorter each time a cell divides) from reaching the point where there’s no telomere left to divide.  No telomeres equal the inability for the cells to keep dividing, and it’s the dividing process within all the cells of the body that keeps them (and you) replenished. ...

Labeling Feelings Helps Your Brain

Posted by JOANNA C

Labeling Feelings Helps Your Brain

               When we’re having a bad day, conventional tribal knowledge tells us to try not to bottle up our feelings and to find someone who can help us talk through it.  In fact, we know that having someone to talk to actually decreases the aging of the brain; but for some people, talking about emotions doesn’t come easily or a support network isn’t always available.  A recent study explains what the process of describing emotional responses is actually doing and recommends ways to make it more accessible for those who can’t readily verbalize their...

Chocolate's Brain Boost

Posted by JOANNA C

Chocolate's Brain Boost

                 Of all the tips and tricks to boost your cognitive skills, this quick fix may be the best one yet:  eating chocolate!                 We can thank researchers at the University of Nottingham for bringing this biohack to our attention.  Right when you need it the most, a key ingredient in chocolate boosts blood flow to areas of the brain that can lift your cognitive power for up to three hours.                 The flavanols in cocoa dilate blood vessels in the brain, bringing uplifting oxygen to brain tissue.   This boosts the flow of...

Who Saved Who? Pets & Brain Benefits

Posted by JOANNA C

Who Saved Who? Pets & Brain Benefits

               When your mind and body are balanced, your brain is more balanced, too.  Taking time for your mental and emotional health has long lasting impacts on brain health, but what about the time you take out of your day to care for your pets?                 It turns out that you aren’t just enriching their lives.  A newly released study from the American Academy of Neurology shows us that when you’re paying it forward for your pets, you’re actually improving your own brain health!                 This very special human-animal bond has been linked towards...

How To Clean Your Brain During Sleep

Posted by JOANNA C

How To Clean Your Brain During Sleep

                As you settled down to sleep last night, you probably weren’t thinking about what position you should rest in to maximize brain power.  Research from the last few years says that we don’t really have to think about it; it’s happening naturally!                 We know that when we sleep, the brain essentially washes itself and consolidates our memories, but this system of clearing waste from the brain is influenced by the position in which we sleep.  By studying MRIs during sleep, researchers focused on the area of the brain where the nightly...

Why Your Brain is Behind

Posted by JOANNA C

Why Your Brain is Behind

             Just like any other incredible piece of computer technology, your brain needs to hit the refresh button once in a while.  Taking frequent productivity breaks, making sure to keep the blood pumping with walks, (running), or meditation are all familiar ways of hitting that magical refresh button, so it might surprise you to know that your brain is refreshing itself without any conscious effort from you—about every 15 seconds!                 These aren’t the same type of mental health breaks we force on ourselves for a personal refresh, however.  Instead, it’s the only way the...

Putting a Name to the Face, Easier

Posted by JOANNA C

Putting a Name to the Face, Easier

              If you have trouble remembering names, you know how awkward it can be when interacting with someone whose name has completely slipped your mind.  Overloaded as we are with constant information, your brain may not be able to retain that information; but unlike other smaller pieces of information, forgetting someone’s name is one of the worst social faux pas!                 According to a new study from Northwestern University, you can save yourself the embarrassment (or the appearance of just not caring) with a simple method involving sleep learning. Sleep learning has been used...

Blocked? A 10-min run is all you need!

Posted by JOANNA C

Blocked? A 10-min run is all you need!

                Writer’s block, creative block, or just plain burnout leaves us all feeling lethargic and hopeless when our brains just don’t seem to cooperate with the goals at hand.  We know that taking breaks can boost productivity, but sometimes taking more time away from the situation is so counterintuitive that it’s easy to forget this tip.                 If you don’t like spinning your wheels while you wait for your brain to refresh, ten minutes of moderate running could be all you need!  In a recent study, the increased blood flow and the activation of the brain functions necessary to propel...

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