Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Brain Maintenance, Stress Management & Mindfulness

I’ve been reading a particularly good book on brain building entitled The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness by Alvaro Fernadez and Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg.  The book is billed as a guide to brain fitness and features interviews with scientists, product reviews and just plain practical advice.

It’s a hopeful book. It tells you that the “the latest scientific research shows that specific lifestyles and actions can, no matter our age, improve the health and level of functioning of our brains.” Isn’t that good to know? 

I really liked reading that “the nice thing about discovering that our lifestyle can affect brain functions is that it puts our brain health largely under our own control.” They emphasize that getting to your own best brain health takes a “multitude of approaches” which they summarize as the four pillars of brain health:

  1. Balanced nutrition
  2. Stress management
  3. Physical
  4. Mental stimulation

Having read that, I decided that I have programs in place for three of these four pillars.  I physically work out on a regular basis.  I mentally work out my brain with Lumosity and the two games I bought from Marbles’: ColorKu and Block Builders (although I’m thinking of getting some more). And I’m trying hard to eat healthy – more veggies. 

I haven’t, though, doing anything about stress management.

So I just bought Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World by Mark Williams and Danny Penman. So what’s “Mindfulness”?  According to the authors, based on the techniques of “Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy” (MBCT) the book offers “simple and straight forward forms of mindfulness meditation” that can be done by anyone.

The operative word here, is “meditation”.

I’ve been bumping into the idea of meditation as important for brain health in a variety of places…and haven’t yet really tried it. I've thought about trying it. I've written about trying it. Now that I’ve actually bought a book, instead of just getting it from the library, I’m hoping that I’ll actually do some meditating.  At least, I’m going to read the book.

If you’ve meditated, send me a note and let me know if it’s worked or not.



Alvaro said...

Dear John,

I am the co-author of The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness, and just had the fortune to find your nice book review via Google...

Very glad to see that you enjoyed the book, appreciated one of its core messages, and found the way to translate your new understanding into practice. Incorporating Mindfulness makes a lot of sense given what you describe. We titled the book a "guide" precisely to help readers make sense, navigate, all emerging options.

May I ask you, if you happen to be an Amazon.com user, to post a brief book review there, so other people get the chance to benefit from it?

Kind regards,


John's Brain said...

Thank you for your comment and for writing such a useful book. As an Amazon user and book reviewer, I'd be happy to write an Amazon review. Please give me a couple of days, though.

All the best,


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