In the world we live in today, we are constantly being kept on our toes both mentally and intellectually. We have a whole wealth of information quite literally at the tips of our fingers, allowing us to access whole libraries and archives of records and knowledge amassed over the entirety of human history.
How cool is that!?
Despite this unlimited access to knowledge, there may be times it feels challenging to keep up. Maybe you feel sluggish or like your ability to retain information isn’t quite there. So what are some ways to curb this feeling and increase both-brain power and productivity?
Neuroplasticity is the capacity of the nervous system to develop new neuronal connections or pathways. Experiences reorganize neural pathways in the brain, and learning or memorizing new things solidifies these functional changes, i.e., neuroplasticity.
How Neuroplasticity Works
Based on the definition, we know it’s all about the growth of new neurons. By constantly nurturing the brain, you can support new synaptic connections and bolster your neuroplasticity and cognitive function, aka, increase your brainpower! Based on studies, neuroplasticity has no limits, so you can strive for greater intelligence and continue to grow mental capabilities.
When we optimize our routines and seek out experiences that foster life-long cognitive evolution, we keep our brains healthy, allowing for the growth of new neurons and those fresh synaptic connections.
BDNF, or brain-derived neurotrophic factor, is a protein found in the brain and periphery and plays a huge role in assisting the survival of existing neurons as well as boosting the growth of new neurons and synapses.
BDNF can be found primarily in the hippocampus, cortex, and basal forebrain. These areas of the brain are responsible for learning, memory, and higher thinking. BDNF is the very thing responsible for allowing neurons to flourish and grow and bridge those connections in the brain. The more BDNF present, the more connections are made, and the better the process of neuroplasticity works in our brains.
Increase BDNF Production
The good news - evidence has shown that we can actually influence the creation of BDNF! Check out these scientifically validated ways of doing so:
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)It is no secret that exercise is good for both the body and the brain, but did you know it can play a significant role in neuroplasticity as well?
HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is a type of workout routine that is centered around short bursts while giving your maximum effort. For example, rather than running two miles straight, you would do 200 meter fast sprints with a recovery period in between. Doing HIIT routines keeps the brain active as you circulate throughout the exercises.
Nootropics as a Daily SupplementLion’s Mane Mushroom Extract doesn’t just sound cool, it also does some really neat stuff. One main job is that it helps to promote nerve growth, which leads to improved brain function and fosters an environment perfect for increasing BDNF.
At STACKS, our nootropics recipe is formulated to include many beneficial herbs, vitamins, and other all-natural substances, including Lion’s Mane Mushroom Extract. Our product is sold as an easy-to-use powder that you add to a bottle of water, making it extremely simple to work into your daily routine.
Of course, there are other nootropic benefits that you can get from our products, and we encourage you to read more about the science behind nootropics.
Reduce Stress & Improve SleepOn any given day, American adults are typically two things: stressed out and exhausted. We live in a society that is both demanding and fast-paced, and this can take a toll on our bodies as well as our minds, serving as a detriment to our overall well-being. Research has shown that those who have acute and chronic stress exhibit reduced levels of BDNF, as well as those who suffer from insomnia.
To help in this area, turn to some mindful meditation, take a walk, unplug and do a hobby you enjoy, such as writing, reading, painting, or yoga. If you need to, visit with a therapist about some other helpful coping mechanisms. Either way, it’s absolutely vital to practice self care and find a way to reduce stress.
Thermal TherapyAnother great option is by undergoing some kind of thermal stress. Research has shown that both cold and hot therapy increase BDNF. This includes ice baths, cold showers, cryotherapy, and any other methods that put your body at a topical level outside of its normal comfort zone.
Or, if you like things a little warmer, visit your gym’s sauna or steam room. Some people like to alternate between the two on a regular basis, a great way to go from one extreme to the other.
Day by Day
Remember, just like anything else, you won’t make a complete overhaul of your life or your brainpower in a single day. It is a culmination of factoring different healthy habits into your routine. Start off small, make little changes, and before you know it, those will snowball into bigger ones. Give yourself grace, but always keep moving forward!