OK gents, let’s talk about caring for that other organ – the marvellous complex irreplaceable instrument you have in your head – your brain.
Not a popular topic with blokes. But here goes…
If you have a brain, it helps to maintain it. Shit can go wrong if you don’t. Your life can become a miserable exhausting drudge. Oh, you know that?
This is written in support of #WorldMentalHealthDay
Having a brain in tip-top condition helps you with:
- Decision-making, memory and cognitive function
- Productivity and engagement at work
- Confidence and self-esteem
- Reward and connection
- Coping with everyday stress
- Handling change and uncertainty
- Surviving failures and challenges
- Being comfortable with your emotions
- Maintaining positive relationships at work and at home
Here are 10 tips to maintain your brain
Take responsibility for the care of your mind, if you want it to go the distance. Be a man and commit to managing your mental faculties. When your mind is in good nick, you can also care for others.
People who practice gratitude aren’t just more optimistic, they’re calmer, happier and more resilient. They have more energy and less pain. Gratitude, like mindfulness, can tone down an overactive stress response.
When something happens to get you down, blame does not improve anything. It pretends to feel good, but corrodes your insides. For your wellbeing, don’t go there. Whenever you can, just take it on the chin as part of life and let go of blame, resentment and thoughts of revenge.
This one is for men who have learned to bury their emotions. If your emotions are a no-go zone, you’re reducing the harmony of your mind and body and compromising your connection with others. Emotions are actually just vibrations in the body, so if you block them the energy gets bottled up and stored in the body. That’s why punching a punch bag feels so good. All addiction stems from an unwillingness to feel emotion.
Connection fulfils a lot of adult human needs. Without it, bits of us break off and die. We become lonely and cynical, forgetting about fun. If we lack connection, we feel no sense of belonging and can’t open up to share our woes. This gums up our brains with the negative thoughts we can’t offload, and fails to let in the good thoughts other people feed us.
Find things to enjoy
For people in chronic stress and anxiety, basic enjoyment becomes a distant memory. The simple pleasures of life, creativity, music, dance, connection, pets, nature all turn off like lights. The loss of simple pleasure is not permanent and can be re-cultivated, but it IS the signal that something is badly wrong. Joy is another thing that balances our negative experiences.
“People with high EQs make $29,000 more annually than people with low EQs. Ninety percent of top performers have high EQs, and a single-point increase in your EQ adds $1,300 to your salary.”
This says it all. Life and work are easier if you have a high EQ. Learn how to play well with others.
Ask for help
This is where many men don’t serve themselves. It’s OK to be human. We all have tough times and our best shot is to let someone we trust know and help us. Our biggest strength comes through our occasional vulnerability. It doesn’t detract from our masculinity; it just gives us a broader perspective and more empathy. When we discover that it’s safe to be flawed, we can offer the hand of support to others.
Deal with stress, anxiety + overwork
I say this because I have experienced much stress and anxiety; because it gave me a heart attack; and because I now work with others to manage their stress.
Don’t follow my trajectory.
Do yourself a favour, talk to me about how to reduce stress and anxiety.
Look after your body
Good gut, heart and physical health are vital to protect brain function. When you run a clean system, your brain can operate like a well-oiled machine. But when you over-worry, eat junk food, drink or smoke excessively and don’t sleep, it’s like running a V8 on tomato juice. It goes against the design spec; it’s not going to work.