Why boosting brain health should really be your New Year’s resolution

When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, oftentimes people believe they will be happier if they changed the way their body looks through weight loss or muscle-building. This might actually be the case in some instances, but the reality is that changing the way you look is by no means a guarantee for increased happiness.

If feeling better is truly the end-goal of your New Year’s resolution, you might want to consider setting resolutions that will boost brain health and naturally increase your feel-good chemicals. With that in mind, here are 4 New Year’s resolutions for boosting brain health in 2021.

Nourish your brain and body: The neurotransmitters responsible for happiness (think serotonin and dopamine) need protein. In addition, nutrient cofactors (vitamins and minerals) are necessary for the neurotransmitter pathways to function correctly. This year, try thinking of food as fuel and opt for nutrient-dense foods and high-quality protein sources that will give your brain what it needs to function well and feel happy. Not only will it become easier to feel good, but it will also improve your drive and overall focus.

Get more sleep: Your brain needs sleep to recover and remove the toxins that build up in your brain while you are awake. For some of us, getting more sleep will be as easy as going to bed at an earlier time. For those of who struggle to fall asleep, try to change some habits around sleep. For instance, instead of a sugary or alcoholic beverage before bed, opt for a light protein snack. Psychotherapist Dr. Teralyn Sell recommends a calming tea with some collagen protein, which will stabilize your blood sugar before bed, which means less waking up in the middle of the night.

Move more intentionally: Your brain benefits from exercise, but we don’t need to think of exercise as something we only do in the gym. Instead, all you need to do is find ways to move your body more, whether it be walking your dog, doing some gardening, or playing a sport. Whatever it may be, just remember that thirty minutes of movement a day is all it takes to improve your mood and reduce stress.

Meditate daily: There’s plenty of research that tells us that meditation is a powerful way to improve physical and mental health. Meditation can prime us to get better sleep, help us to maintain focus, and most importantly, allow us to feel calmer. Even if it’s just 5 minutes a day, meditation combined with the tips mentioned above will help you boost your brain health in 2021.

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