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Day 16. Grateful for Your Powerful, Amazing Mind

On Day 16 of our "New Year, New You" 30-Day Positivity Challenge, we will explore something truly amazing - your brain!

Here are some fun facts about the human brain to ruminate on and be grateful for.

1. Human memory begins to function approximately 20 weeks after conception. That's a lifetime of potential memories to create.

2. The storage capacity of the human brain is virtually limitless. So it's highly likely that your mental capabilities far exceed your own expectations. Put it to the test and see what you accomplish!

3. It is believed that an adult brain can recall anywhere from 20 to 100,000 words.

4. The more sleep we get, the better our brains are able to retrieve long-term memories.

5. We all know that memory is strongly influenced by our sense of smell. That is, a familiar scent can evoke an emotional response triggered by memory. This happens in the hippocampus.

6. The more you think, the more you exercise the muscle of your brain and the better that muscle will perform.

7. Most short-term memories only last 20 to 30 seconds.

8. You can improve memory recall as you age by exercising and challenging your brain on a routine basis.

Exercise 16: Love Your Amazing Brain

If you want to show some love to the incredible organ that serves as the power center of your being and controls every function of your body, then make sure you exercise your brain every day.

This is especially important as you grow older, and you're less apt to engage in activities that stimulate your mind. Don't let idleness or fatigue rob you of your mental potential. The young at heart stay mentally and physically active longer, and that's how these lively folks manage to live to a ripe old age.

How to exercise your brain? It's not as difficult as you might think.

Get out of the house for a few hours each day. Explore new places and acquaint yourself with new faces. Take a different route. Did you know that taxi drivers' brains have a bigger area of the part of the brain that processes navigation through space? This is due to their constant reading of maps and driving. Don't let the GPS lag your mental faculties. Plot out the route, it's great for your brain!

Converse. Talk to people. Tell your stories. If thinking about memories improves your memory, then sharing stories with others will not only benefit those whom you enlighten, but it's apt to keep you sharp as well.

Stay active. Exercise each day. Get out into the sunshine. Take a brisk walk. Moderate exercise will keep your body fit so you'll be able to move more easily as you age. Sitting in one spot for too long can make your body and brain want to shut down. Don't live your life in sleep mode! Get out and move, keep the blood circulating so your thoughts can flow.

Some activities that improve your brain function:

• Knitting, crocheting, woodworking, and other handicrafts

• "Brain Teasers" such as crossword puzzles, logic puzzles, or word games such as Scrabble

• Socializing (yes! Even just engaging in conversations with different people exercises your mind)

• Taking care of people or animals. Caring for others boosts feel-good brain chemicals which increases neural activity and benefits your overall health.

Journal It.

Writing is great for the brain. Do you find that you remember better when you can picture the written words in your mind? You may be a visual learner. Keep a personal journal that you write a short entry each day. From time to time, go back and reflect on what you wrote. This simple and satisfying activity is really good for your mental muscle. Feel blessed for your amazing brain. Treat your brain well, and your brain will respond in kind.

May You Be Well


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