Who does not want to keep their brain ageless? Market is often replete with claims and products purporting to make our brain better: improve memory, delay onset of age-related decline and many more. However, one of the most under-rated yet effective way to protect and optimize our brain may be available to us at no cost at all. It is called silence, especially intentional silence; our ability to voluntarily withdraw/unplug from the cacophonous world around us and allow our brain to rest. Studies have indicated that when our mind is caught up in chaotic wandering, it could jack up stress response and damage our DNA, make us unhappy, may put us at the risk of depression and decrease job performance.
On the other hand, offering our mind a moment of rest and silence through a simple technique such as Awareness of Breath is indicated to slow down amygdala (our fear center) and initiates the integration of amygdala and frontal cortical parts of the brain (thinking part of the brain), alters gene expression related to chronic diseases, and initiates the growth of neurons in hippocampus (involved in memory).
So just pausing and paying attention to the cycle of incoming and outgoing breath for a few minutes a day may give our brain a much needed protection from the chronic wear and tear wrought by modern lifestyle.
Eat Slowly to Maintain Weight and Good Health
Every culture has some sort of folk lore suggesting that one should eat slowly. The usual line of reasoning for eating slowly often is this: it improves your digestion and elimination. However, there is more to it than that. For one, it takes around 20 minutes for the brain to start noticing that you are eating and release satiety hormones. If you eat very fast, you will most likely end up eat a lot more than needed. Second, eating fast could lead to faster spike in insulin in the body. Third, it could lead to weight gain and consequential health issues related to excessive weight.
A recent study published on BMJ (Open) indicated that slow eating could possibly lead to weight loss. Other studies have suggested that eating slowly (also called Mindful Eating in the context of mindfulness practices) could cut down the risk of diabetes or help self-manage the diabetes.
So next time you sit down to eat, take a moment to appreciate what is on the plate and go slightly slower in consuming it. Take a moment to notice the color, shape, texture of the food before you put on your palate. On palate, let the food register for itself in the form of taste. Then chew it slowly, remembering at the same time that it is going to nourish and strengthen my body.
Try it next time while eating. Even if you are in company, taking a moment from conversation to appreciate what is in your mouth can be enriching experience per se. Or try it when you are doing on the go. You might hit some surprises on your palate