With temperature levels seemingly skyrocketing in many parts of the country, it is particularly important to avoid dehydration. Being outside in humid high heat for a prolonged period can result in a heat stroke. Signs of overheating of the brain may include headache, dizziness, faintness, confusion, nausea, hallucinations, and even coma. Even without the extra heat, studies are linking dehydration with a variety of brain conditions and even suggesting that proper hydration may help reduce the risk of Dementia, Parkinson’s, and Lou Gehrig’s disease. Drinking sugary drinks or colas is not particularly helpful because they trigger digestion, whereas water can begin to be absorbed immediately. And speaking of headaches, they can be an early sign of dehydration. As the cells lose water, brain tissue can begin to shrink and pull away from the skull. This results not only in discomfort, but also difficulty in thinking. Shrinkage of brain tissue is now a known factor that is linked with dementia—and that can be exacerbated in hot weather. Drink for your health! Water of course. Your level of wellness depends upon it!
Friday, July 20, 2018
Performance choking can occur when the brain is under pressure striving for superior performance. This unfortunate state of affairs can be managed and often prevented by using the STP antidote: Stay in the moment. Think about what you need to do now—not about what just happened or about the finish. Breathe slowly, relax your muscles momentarily to help you refocus. Take control of your mindset and self-talk. Imagine only what you want to have happen. Tell yourself: “Jack, trust your brain. It’s got this.” Or “Jill, you are smooth and relaxed.” Perform with pleasure. Trust the skills you have honed, remembering how much you love what you are doing. Bottom line: Having fun and enjoying the performance can take your wellness—and success--to new heights.
Thursday, July 19, 2018
Did you know that the neurophysiology of performance “choking” (paradoxical performance effects) begins in the brain? It describes a person’s less-than-stellar personal performance when under pressure despite striving for superior performance. Typically, high levels of anxiety result in your attempt to seize conscious control over a task that should be executed automatically. Ultimately, you fail to trust your highly-honed skills—a syndrome seen in almost any type of performance. Choking is linked with four variables: audience presence, competition, performance-contingent rewards and punishments, and ego relevance of the task. This state of affairs can be managed and often prevented by using the STP antidote. More tomorrow.
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Estimates are that most Americans over the age of fifty are chronically dehydrated due to drinking insufficient amounts of water. Normally, more water exists inside your cells than in the spaces outside. Dehydration disrupts this balance, resulting in memory problems, wrinkling of skin and body organs, concentration of body fluids, and fatigue. A loss of fluid within the cells can cause brain tissue to pull away from the skull. Bottom line? Shrinkage of brain tissue is now a known factor linked to dementia. Since thirst sensation tends to fall after age fifty, it becomes crucial to drink by design. Some physicians suggest drinking enough water to pee one or two pale urines every day. Your most important nutritent is water—your level of wellness and brain function depends upon it!
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
What would you guess is your most important nutrient? It’s WATER because your body cannot manufacturer it! You can live much longer—maybe ten times longer—without food than without water. In general, the brain and body follow the same ratio as does planet Earth: 75% water, 25% solid matter. Muscle cells are 75% water, but brain cells are 85% water. According to Mayo Clinic, the average adult loses more than ten eight-ounce glasses of water every day through sweating, breathing, and waste elimination. The average adult drinks less than four eight-ounce glasses of water each day, which puts them six eight-ounce glasses in the hole. And that’s deadly for your brain and body. More tomorrow.
Monday, July 16, 2018
In order to really take in and understand what one other person is saying to you, you need to process 60 bits of information per second. Can you see the problem when more than one person is trying to talk to you at the same time? The triplets, or three neighbors, or you name it . . . With a processing capacity of 120 bits of information per second, you can barely understand what is going on when two people are talking to you at the same time. Three people? Dream on. Under most circumstances you will not be able to understand what three people are saying. The brain was not set up to multitask well. When two people are talking to you the brain may be able to manage that, but if a third person comes into the mix the brain may try to multitask—and will likely engage in rapidly alternating shifts of attention. Naturally, some parts of the conversations will fall through the cracks and never get filed away in your brain.
Friday, July 13, 2018
Have you ever been talking with several people in a group and noticed that it seemed as if some of the brains were either “not keeping up” with the conversation or seemed to be missing “sections” of what was being said? Maybe you’ve even sensed that in yourself and wondered if Alzheimer’s was knocking at your door. Turns out that the part of your brain known as the “conscious mind” has a processing capacity. Based on research this capacity has been estimated to be 120 bits of information per second. That represents the amount of information that your mind can pay conscious attention to at any one time. This has a definite impact on your interactions with others—and helps to explain what you take in and what you miss. You really need to pay attention—consciously—for something to register and encode itself in your life experience. More tomorrow.