11 Unexpected Things that Affect Your Brain
vemuda.com - How often do you think about your brain? Probably not very often. There are so many other things to worry about. The big stuff like your job, school, family; or the little things such as what to eat for dinner tonight.
Like most people, you probably think of your brain as being a rather straightforward organ. It's got some nerves in it that send signals to your body, and those signals tell it how to do things, like walk or talk.
But your brain is very powerful, and it is also very sensitive. It's affected by more than just what you think about or how much sleep you get.
As a matter of fact, there are many unexpected things that have a big influence on it, some of which can throw off your cognitive abilities - and even make you feel like a total mess!
And while you think you know yourself and how you work, the following things can have an affect on your brain and behavior in ways you don't even realize.
1. Your Mother's Stress When She Was Expecting You
You were born with a blueprint for how your brain develops, but it's not just your genes that shape that blueprint.
You may not know this, but the stress your mother experienced while she was expecting you could have had a lasting effect on your brain. This is because stress hormones like cortisol affect the developing fetus.
And since the first few months of pregnancy are so crucial in terms of brain development, any stress hormones that are floating around in a mother’s bloodstream during this time, will have a big impact.
When a mother is stressed, her offspring may be at a higher risk of developing ADHD, depression, or other conditions.
2. Your Gut Bacteria
Your gut is home to a large variety of bacteria, which help to digest food and produce nutrients for your body. But how does this relate to the brain?
Your gut bacteria actually produce certain neurotransmitters, which can affect how you feel and act, and even your memory and the ability to learn new information.
Now, it's important to remember that these are correlations. It doesn’t mean that if you have a certain microbiome, you will be smarter or less smart, but there seems to be a link between the two things.
For example, having a healthy microbiome might help to improve blood flow to the brain or allow more nutrients into your system, both of which would give you more energy and make learning easier.
Similarly, if there’s an imbalance in your gut flora, it could affect your mood, energy levels and your cognitive function.
3. Living in A City
Life in the city is often a whirlwind of activities, people, and things to do. But did you ever stop to think about what all this hustle and bustle might be doing to your brain? It turns out that being a city dweller can be tough on your mental health.
The constant noise, pollution, the stress of commuting, and of course the lack of space, are just some of the many ways that city life can negatively affect your brain.
Studies have shown that living in cities makes people more likely to experience depression and anxiety compared to those who live in rural areas.
Flossing is an important part of oral health. It may not seem like the most glamorous part of your daily routine, but it's actually one of the best things you can do for your brain as well.
And that’s because flossing regularly seems to lower your risk of developing cognitive decline or dementia later in life.
If you don't take care of your dental health, it can lead to inflammation of your gums, and this inflammation can then spread through your body and cause problems elsewhere, including your brain.
5. The Amount of Light Present
The amount of light present in any given environment will affect how well you pay attention, learn new things, and retain information.
Exposure to bright light activates regions of the brain that promote alertness and enhance cognitive performance; while a darker setting causes you to feel more tired or relaxed.
If you work in dimly lit conditions all day long, consider going outside for a few minutes during your breaks to get some sunlight; this will help keep your brain functioning optimally.
6. Chronic Pain
Chronic pain can affect every aspect of your life from your ability to sleep or work to your mood and relationships. And when your body hurts, it's easy to get tangled up in the physical and emotional effects of the pain.
But did you know that chronic pain can also affect how your brain functions? When you are in pain, your brain works harder to help you cope.
Unfortunately, this means that you have a more difficult time dealing with other things that are going on in your life. This can lead to anxiety and depression, and even to having difficulties making simple decisions.
7. The Media You Consume
The media is a powerful tool, and it can have a huge effect on your brain in ways you may not even realize.
After all, when you watch TV, listen to the radio, or read something, your brain is processing information and forming opinions about what you see and hear.
But, it's not always easy to differentiate between our own thoughts and what we've been told by others.
This especially goes for things like ads and news reports which aim to influence your thoughts about particular products or people.
Many of these messages are subtle and often subconscious. Nevertheless, THEY can make you feel like you belong or that you don’t. They can help you relax, or make you more anxious.
That’s not to say you should cut out TV and social media completely. But you should consider how much time you spend on them and make sure that whatever media you consume is intentional.
8. The Weather
The temperature, humidity and other variables in the environment can impact your brain. Studies have found that when people are exposed to cold temperatures for long periods, they're more likely to experience depression and anxiety.
It also turns out that people who live in warmer climates are more optimistic. That said, exposure to high temperatures and humidity particularly in work environments can actually impair mental performance by affecting brain neurochemistry.
9. Your Activity Level
You already know that exercise is good for your body, but it's also good for your brain. Studies show that regular exercise can improve memory even in middle-age and beyond.
People who are more physically active have a lower likelihood of developing dementia or Alzheimer's disease.
In addition, they have an easier time learning new information. But even more surprising than that is what happens when you stop moving.
Your brain literally shrinks! As we age, our brains naturally begin to shrink, but a sedentary lifestyle seems to accelerate this process. So make sure you keep moving!
10. Your Partner's Anxiety
If you're with someone who has anxiety, this can be pretty hard on your relationship as well as your brain.
Research has shown that when one partner experiences anxiety symptoms, the other partner may also develop symptoms of anxiety.
This is due to a phenomenon called emotional contagion, which is the tendency for people to subconsciously mimic the emotions of those around them.
When one partner is feeling anxious or stressed out, it can be contagious for the other partner and vice versa.
11. Your Diet
It's common knowledge that diet affects your overall health, but what about your brain? The truth is that what you eat has a big impact on the physical structure of your brain.
A healthy diet promotes the production of nerve cells and encourages new connections between neurons.
It also helps you maintain a healthy weight, which reduces stress on your body and supports cognitive function.
This is why it's so important to make sure your diet includes plenty of berries, leafy greens, nuts, fatty fish, and whole grains; they're high in the vitamins and minerals your body needs to keep your brain firing on all cylinders.
So if you want to stay sharp and focused as you age, it might be worth looking at how your current diet stacks up! There you have it.
Hopefully, you learned something new about things that affect your brain, and how to work with them instead of against them. This should help improve your mental health and optimize your cognitive performance.
What do you think? Which one of these surprised you the most? Let us know in the comments below! Thanks for reading!