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How to Build Healthy Brain Habits this Spring

By Enid R. Spitz March 28, 2017

This Spring, when the annual trend of cleaning closets and windows rolls around, why not use the season’s regenerative energy to re-energize your brain? While three-quarters of Americans report cleaning their homes each spring, it is also prime time to scrub old mental patterns and lay ground for new neural pathways.

“Normal brain development is a staggeringly beautiful and wondrous thing,” says Kendal Broadie, Ph.D., a Professor of Neurobiology, Biological Sciences and Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University, in a powerful Vanderbilt article titled The Fine Art of Brain Development.

Our brains are not static.

“The brain is not static, it constantly changes itself in response to its environment.”

Changing your environment—whether that is cleaning, setting up new routines or beginning different practices—changes your brain, too.  “Your heart doesn’t do that. Your liver doesn’t do that. That’s the property that makes it so special. That’s what makes the brain, the brain,” says Broadie.

Around 86 billion neurons run throughout your brain, communicating information through electrical and chemical signals. In a process called Neurogenesis, new neurons are constantly forming, and new thoughts and actions are constantly creating new neural pathways. The point is this: your brain changes. Your thoughts, actions and habits will directly affect your brain function.

So, how do you use this “staggeringly beautiful and wondrous” power to Spring-clean your mind? With a smart plan and mindful practice, you can change the pathways of your brain, cleaning out the tired, habitual patterns and building new ones that serve you better. Think of it like a clean sweep for your mind.

Fundamentals for Spring-Cleaning your Brain

Over the next two weeks, Heartmanity will focus on the four fundamentals for building new brain habits. Look out for these topics as well as tips for implementing them into your everyday life:

Dream Big; Start Small - how to turn your dreams into achievable steps.

Make Your Plan Powerful - why visualization should be one of your first steps.

Build Your Own Momentum - why repetition is vital for a healthy brain.

The Willpower Affect - how making decisions can make, or break, your success.

Stay tuned for more on brain health and healthy brain habits! Here's to your mental health and brain fitness.

For more information about Heartmanity programs, please visit our resources page.

Enid SEnidRSpitz.jpgpitz is a writer and yoga instructor based in Charleston, SC. She previously lived in Portland, OR and Seattle, WA, where she was a newspaper editor and researched yoga for traumatic brain Injury. Heartmanity combines Enid's passions for social well-being, neuroscience and yoga. When not writing or on the yoga mat, she is an avid traveller, enjoys a good whiskey, and loves being outdoors. Twitter: @enidrosalyn, Instagram: @littleyogibird.

Posted in Brain Fitness, Mindfulness and Perspective