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What is braincare?

Why braincare needs to be on your radar, and 5 simple braincare behaviours to build into your life.

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Heights
Heights
March 1, 2021
6 min read

At Heights we’re all about braincare—it’s what gets us out of bed in the morning. Your brain affects how you feel, so by caring for it properly, you can feel happier, healthier, and do more of what you want to do. Doesn’t sound too bad. But what actually is braincare?

Article breakdown

What is braincare

You probably already invest a lot of time and energy into your skincare, healthcare, and haircare; researching, perfecting your routine and finding out what works best for you. But, what about your braincare?

It started to bug us that somewhere in the shuffle, our brains were being forgotten about. Why were we prioritising what’s on our heads, over what’s in our heads?

So, braincare, simply, is all of the actions and behaviours that contribute to a healthy brain. This means the right nutrition, but a healthy brain is a 360º thing, so braincare also covers everything from sleep to continuous learning.

Thinking about braincare, and making it a part of your daily routine, keeps you feeling healthy, so you can do more of what you’ve always wanted to.

Why braincare matters

Your brain impacts how you feel on a daily basis. It affects every. Single. Thing. From your energy levels, to your focus, to how balanced your mood is, as well as directly impacting your quality of life now and into old age. 

So how we care for our brains governs how well it can do its job—taking care of us.

Braincare as a practice is the act of making conscious lifestyle decisions in order to look after your brain. Everything you do impacts your brain, positively or negatively. Choosing to include daily braincare habits that affect your brain will positively affect your health and your quality of life. 

A healthy brain keeps you at your best, feeling healthy, for as long as possible. In real talk, that means:

  • Improved sleep and energy

  • Sharper focus

  • Balanced mood

  • Less brain fog

  • Better memory and recall

  • Sustained whole-body health

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What makes a healthy brain? 

Everyone’s braincare routine will be unique. No two brains are the same. So what works for you may not work for someone else. That’s to be expected. Experiment, see what makes the difference for you, and go with that.

There’s no secret ingredient that will make everything feel better. Instead, braincare is about what you do. And that starts with the 5 braincare behaviours.

The 5 braincare behaviours

1. Nourishing your body

Did you know that 99% of us don’t get the nutrition our brains need from our diets? It’s really hard to do. 

Research suggests that the MIND diet is the best one to follow for long-term brain health. Based on the Mediterranean diet and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, it encourages foods specifically chosen for their impact on brain health.

But in practice, that means keeping on top of your diet every day. Leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, berries, oily fish, and more. It’s a lot to keep on top of. 

So we developed the Smart Supplement, to make it that little bit easier.

But nourishing your body isn’t just about what you eat. It’s also about what you drink. The brain is a thirsty organ, and if you're as little as 1-3% dehydrated, it impacts your focus, memory and concentration. And, by the time you're aware that you're thirsty, you’re a lot more than 3% dehydrated. 

Learn how to make sure you’re getting the nutrition you need.

2. Moving daily

Our bodies and brains are designed for, and need, lots of regular movement throughout the course of the day. 

Whether that’s a jog, a swim, a walk in the park, or dancing around the living room to your favourite song, it all counts. 

Beyond the obvious physical benefits, exercise can have a huge impact on our brains. It triggers the release of ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitters, like endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine, and it can also have an effect on the structure of your brain, keeping it more plastic (more on that below). 

Exercise is also essential for our mental health, lowering levels of cortisol. All in all, a good investment.

See why moving daily is so good for you.

3. Finding time to pause

Most of us live with constant pressures—always being on, and juggling work, life, deadlines, admin, social engagements, and home responsibilities can mean that negative brain responses is triggered many times throughout the day. 

Practising mindfulness can help your brain to take a pause, leaving you feeling calm, steady, and ready to face the world again. 

It encompasses a lot of different things from gratitude and journalling, to yoga and meditation, or just a really good shower—all it needs from you is to be completely present. 

Explore the effects of finding time to pause.

4. Staying curious

Lots of people think of learning as something for children—school uniforms, homework, exam halls. But we keep learning after school, just in different ways. And contrary to popular belief, curiosity didn’t kill the cat. In fact, curiosity was good for it.

Continuous learning throughout your life is a great way to encourage neuroplasticity—your brain’s ability to change and adapt. This is important because a flexible brain is more easily able to:

  • Pick up new skills

  • Recover from injuries

  • Adapt to new situations

  • Access memories

  • Reduce the risk of cognitive decline

Learning something new, or finding different ways to challenge your brain, provides an opportunity for a new neural connection to be created in the brain. So whether you’re doing the crossword, taking language classes, or trying a new cake recipe, keep learning. Future you will thank you.

Discover the benefits of staying curious.

5. Resting regularly

Evolution gives us a pretty good indication of how important sleep is for the brain. Instructions for a daily rest are hard-wired into our DNA. We can survive for longer without food than without sleep. 

So what was the evolutionary advantage for our cave-dwelling ancestors to lie down with our eyes closed, as predators prowled around outside? Why haven’t we evolved away from it?

Not getting the rest we need impacts our whole bodies. It affects our productivity, our mental health, physical health, and frustratingly, these can make it harder to get to sleep in the first place.

Rest, and sleep, can feel like a luxury. Who has the time to switch off for eight hours a day? But we need to stop thinking about it as switching off. Quite the reverse. Sleep is an active process for repairing and enhancing brain performance—and is essential for a healthy brain. Even a cheeky 10-minute nap can improve mood and memory. 

Find out more about getting better rest.


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