Matter over mind: feeding your brain

As a Psychologist, I’ve spent many years studying the brain.  One thing that’s always struck me, is how dependent the brain is on what we feed it.  Hormones, glucose, exercise, vitamins, minerals; all these things are vital to brain function.  It’s not just a case of mind over matter. The other thing I’ve noticed is the how we commonly mistake things that are happening in our brain as being caused by the brain only.

Many of us look for psychological reasons for anxiety and sadness. And often, the anxiety and sadness are caused by worries or struggles in our life.  However, the following things also create anxiety and sadness: vitamin B deficiency, lack of sleep, sugar crashes after eating too much sugar, too much caffeine, no exercise, lack of sunlight.  How many of us think, oh I’m not feeling too great, I’ll stop drinking coffee with biscuits, get an early night and have some whole grain porridge in the morning followed by a brisk walk in the sunshine? Instead we worry, meddle and try to control all the outside factors that we believe to be causing us stress.

In the case of neuro-diversity, there are a few research based ideas for helping our brains via supporting our body.  In the case of ADHD, exercise has shown in some clinical trials to be as effective as ritalin, because of the effect on key neuro-transmitters.  http://add.about.com/od/treatmentoptions/a/ratey.htm

In Dyspraxia, The Oxford-Durham study showed that supplementing with Omega 3 (not just 6) improved literacy and behavioural issues for children.  The Dyslexia Research Trust at Oxford University has shown that Omega 3 can also help children and adults with Dyslexia. http://www.dyslexic.org.uk/research-nutrition.html

We don’t need a ‘cure’ for neuro-diversity, since much of the specialist thinking skills are of great value in society. But we could do with a way of influencing our shift between good days and bad days.  Whoever we are, getting our brains in the best state helps us to fulfill our potential.  Knowing which levers to press when we’re struggling is important.  I urge you not to forget how to feed your brain.  It is part of your body and your health makes it happy!

This is a central theme in our genius-in-training coaching video ‘My Genius Within’.  If you’d like to take some time to be guided through considering what your brain needs to work at its best, click here: http://resources.geniuswithin.co.uk/index.php/product/my_genius_within/24