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5 Bad Habits To Break Now

By Elma B.

Recently, I watched a TED talk by psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Amen, where he explained that by changing our brain, we can change our life. I have been intrigued by neurology for quite some time; so, I eagerly tuned in. It was fascinating to find out that our daily habits directly shape our brain; for instance, the brains of alcoholics, drug addicts and retired NFL football players looked significantly different than normal-healthy brains. Hence, we were the ones ultimately shaping our own health, i.e., our physical and mental well-being. 

Now, you may ask yourself, how exactly can I change my own brain? The amazing news is that you can change your brain by changing your habits. Here are some of Dr. Amen's suggestions, and I have added my own thoughts as well. 

(Disclaimer: this is not medical advice as I am not a health care professional. This site is not designed to and does not provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services to you or to any other individual.  If you have any questions regarding your health, you should promptly consult your healthcare provider.)

5 Bad Habits To Break Now:


1. Diet. 

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”-Hippocrates. 

Your well-being starts with a healthy diet. Your nutrition directly effects your level of energy and your physical and mental performance throughout the day. Thus, having a healthy diet is crucial. It's not only about your looks but a healthy diet is directly correlated with your mental well-being. In fact, Dr. Amen found that your brain size actually decreases as your weight increases. 

2. Exercise. 

If there is such thing as the "fountain of youth," it would be exercise. As we become older, our muscles lose strength and flexibility. Hence, your daily routine should include exercise, whether it is walking, swimming or running. Exercising is not only about the facade you portray to the outside world but it is also about your own internal well-being. 

3. Environmental toxins. 

A positive surrounding, i.e., happy and encouraging people, can have a significant impact on your mental well-being and attitude. Make sure to surround yourself with others who have a positive influence on your well-being, whether spiritually or physically. Make sure that your daily environment inspires your optimal being; stay away from those who are toxic and do not encourage your optimal well-being. 

4. Sleep.

Studies have found that a lack of sleep, e.g., 5-4 hours, has a negative impact on our daily performance, whether physical or mental. Your reflexes become slower and hence your ability to think quickly on your feet and to move about become significantly weaker. 

5. Toxic thoughts. 

Self-doubting thoughts that penetrate through your mind can negatively impact your self-esteem and attitude. Dr. Amen said that one of the ways to counter toxic thoughts is by asking questions, e.g., is it really true that my husband/wife does not love me? Quickly, the pre-frontal cortex, the queen that rules the emotions and keeps them from going wild, i.e., the front part of your brain, will take control and counter with rational thoughts. 

The single most important factor that I gathered was that we were ultimately in charge of shaping our own destinies. It was as simple as change your habits, and you will change your life. I will leave you with a quote to ponder about:

"Destiny occurs when we come to the point where we are no longer willing to wait there for it."-Marcel Proust 

(p.s. For the fashionistas, my outfit dissected: shoes from Tod's and headband, shirt and shorts from Zara.)

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