Modern lifestyle and the new era of technology is causing harm to our brains. Hyperconnectivity is increasingly taking its toll on our psychological health, which makes us less productive and less capable of original thought. People rarely realize that they should nurture their brains just like the way their bodies need to be nourished. Recent studies have shown that some of our modern habits are actually bad for our brain health, so do your best to avoid them in order to keep your mind in good shape.
As you are probably aware, physical inactivity is known to cause a variety of health problems like heart disease, obesity, depression, dementia, etc. However, a new study suggests a link between inactivity and mental decline as well. Being sedentary changes the shape of certain neurons in the brain, while regular physical activities increase brain chemicals which promote better memory and learning. Now you have another reason to get in shape, so start walking, running, cycling, stretching or whatever works for you.
We check our phones while walking or waiting in line, we catch up on email while commuting, listening to podcasts or music, but multitasking is not good for your health and productivity. It actually rewires the brain and makes you less effective. Scientists say that our brains were not really made for multitasking. We actually just switch from one task to another quickly, but there is a cognitive cost in doing so. Multitasking increases the stress hormone cortisol as well as adrenaline, which can overstimulate your brain and cause clouding of consciousness or not thinking clearly. Therefore, try to focus on one thing at a time.
3. Information overload
Everything that is happening around us may cause an information overload or unnecessary overstimulation of the brain. We want to be aware of so many things at once and thanks to our computers and smartphone we are constantly bombarded by information. Some interesting studies have shown that if you are trying to concentrate on a specific task while you have an email or a notification waiting for you, your effective IQ can be reduced by 10 points. What you need to do is to find a way to manage the constant stream of content by filtering the information you receive throughout the day. If you manage to utilize the right tools and organize this part of your life, you will likely increase your brain’s efficiency significantly.
4. Long screen time
It’s a fact that most of us spend too much time in front of the television, phone, computer, tablets, etc. But according to experts, excessive screen time has a negative effect on intellectual abilities as well as emotional well-being. More and more of our communication with other people goes online or through mobile phones, but a face-to-face conversation is incredibly beneficial for your brain. Studies have shown that just 10 minutes per day of conversation with another person improved memory and intellectual performance. The lack of true personal interaction limits the brain’s opportunities to make better connections. It can also lead to loneliness and depression. While eliminating the screen time entirely is not realistic in modern life, try to reduce it in favor of some socializing in person.
5. Listening to loud music
While listening to music can help you relax or isolate yourself from other noises, be careful with the volume as it may cause some permanent damage to your body. First of all, if you consistently listen to very loud music while wearing headphones, you can damage your hearing. That’s already a pretty bad thing, but to make things worse, when your brain cannot really understand what’s being said around you, it can’t store what you’ve heard into memory. Hearing loss in older adults is also linked to brain problems, such as Alzheimer’s and loss of brain tissue.
6. Insufficient sleep
Sleep deprivation can have serious health consequences — it can delay reaction times, cause mood changes, headache, impaired memory, hormone imbalances, etc. Recent researches have even shown that not getting enough sleep may actually shrink your brain. You need to understand that sleep is absolutely essential for your brain. If you don’t get enough of it, your brain will have a hard time processing information, which will slow down your thinking, damage your memory and harm decision-making. Scientists say that 7-8 hours of sleeping each night is essential for good brain health.