How to Exercise Your Brain

taken from "How God Changes Your Brain" by Andrew Newberg, M.D. and Mark Robert Waldman

This information is both beneficial for our brain and is consistent with the ideals and goals most of us have for our lives, spiritually and otherwise.  How to Exercise Your Brain may seem very familiar to Silva Method Graduates!

There are eight ways we can exercise our brain...I'll follow the authors' lead and list these in reverse order:

8)  Smile
      Thich Nhat Hanh suggests we do a 'smiling meditation' throughout the day. It's not necessary to stop, sit or lie down, close your eyes and go into the meditative state...just smile. Smile at other people and smile because it feels good!
       However don't go into laughter....totally different experience with very different outcomes.

7)  Stay intellectually active
     No surprise here...we've been hearing for years that intellectual activity is a deterrant to alzheimer's disease. Memory and mnemonic exercises (Silva Memory Pegs!) strategy games such as chess, read books (fiction or non-fiction) educational TV programming, problem solving and quick reasoning are great. Really get into these activities and challenge yourself.
       Note: the authors say that crossword puzzles and math exercises don't work.
       Make sure you're enjoying yourself!

6)  Consciously relax
     Deliberate relaxation of areas of your body...sounds like the Silva Long Relax is perfect for this. They also recommend calming music.  All reduce stress and that's beneficial 'across the board'.

5)  Yawn
      Yes, yawn benefits your brain! Yawning relaxes you and brings you into a state of awareness, alertness. On page 158 of "How God Changes Your Brain" the authors list 12 essential reasons to yawn!  There are so many ways yawning is beneficial that it's probably best you look into yourself. 

4)  Meditate and Intensive Prayer
     Benefits body and mind as well as the spiritual self.  Even 10 - 15 minutes is enough to make a significantly positive effect. Are you in school now? Meditation before testing can significantly improve your score!
     Guided visualization and self-hypnosis are in this category too.

3)  Aerobic exercise
     Not only is exercise beneficial to maintain health it helps in the healing process, including rebuilding damage caused by brain lesions and strokes.  Among other physical benefits the immune system gets a boost. The authors note that exercise "can be used to treat clinical depression and it is just as effective as antidepressants."
     Exercise can even be considered a form meditation because of the focus involved in using your body. It also enhances relaxation and your spiritual life.
     Some researchers believe yoga is as beneficial as more strenuous movement.
     You'll want to check the last paragraph on page 161!

2)  Talk with others
      Social interaction is very we are with others, we talk. The topic here is intellectual conversation, abstract ideas. Discuss ideas and concepts that don't come up at work very often such as the Big Bang theory. Make sure that these conversations are positively stimulating and don't deteriorate into upsetting 'conversations'.

1)  Faith
     No matter what, we need to trust ourselves. We rely on faith in ourselves, in God, our intuition to go through life. Faith includes or equates with optimism, the trust that a good future awaits us.

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