Learn how through mindful living and meditation you can improve your brain’s health, increase its capabilities and live a longer, healthier, happier and more successful life.

If this subtitle didn’t trigger any interest in you, you must be one of those search engine bots Google Captcha asks to check the school bus pictures for authentication. 


In August of 2016, I wrote an article titled “Brain Health, Mindfulness, and Success” for Natural Medicine & Rehabilitation. The article was published on the NMR’s website and in Connection magazine in New Jersey. This was a great opportunity for me, but because it was for a print magazine, the opportunity came with a word count limitation of 500-600 words. But if you know me, you know I need 500-600 words just to get me warmed up. 😂  

Everyone thought I did a decent job. But I knew that I didn’t express what I was trying to communicate, there was not enough space. Less is more for sure. But sometimes more is better too. And the notion that people don’t read long articles sounds so crazy to me. I think people don’t read long articles because most things written in a long format are really boring and add no value to our lives. But people, who read and enjoy reading, savor good reads. Interesting, helpful, entertaining, honest, unique writing gets saved and shared because it delivers value to people. 

Plus the SEO/marketing fact is that articles are under 800 words do not even come up on Google’s radar. So I guess I’m lucky that way. Some of my sentences are 800 words. 😂

Anyway, so I decided to have another go at it, rewrite the “Brain Health, Mindfulness, and Success” article and give it a new 800 words long title and call it “The Connection Between Your Brain Health, Mindfulness, Meditation, Happiness, and Success”.

Brain health is an extremely important factor for everyone, from every walk of life, at any age and stage of life. Our overall health, happiness in life, success in business mainly depends on these 3 things that are directly tight to brain health.

The 3 things that our health, happiness, and success depend on are:

  1. Our ability to discover, process and learn new and valuable information,

  2. Our capacity to start, build and maintain mutually beneficial relationships, and

  3. Our ability to adapt to new, unexpected situations, circumstances, and conditions. 

Of course, these three components are somewhat simplified. Everything is much, much more complex and intricate. But if you examine these 3 factors a bit more closely, you’ll see that our ability to discover, process and learn new information helps us to be better educated, make intelligent choices and decisions. That’s good for your career, health, and happiness.

Our capacity to start, build and maintain relationships helps us to coexist harmoniously and share the social space with our family, friends, coworkers, and others. Those things lead us to organic happiness in life. Happiness leads us towards more healthier, positive emotions. Which yields much better, bigger networks and more opportunities. That’s really good for health and business.

And of course, our ability to adapt to new situations and circumstances determines how we capitalize on opportunities life presents us. How we deal with adversities and challenges, also compliments of life. Opportunities not seized, go away, and almost never come back. The person who crumbles under pressers of hardship and adversity never really builds a strong character and lives a life of a weak, victim-like, measurable persona. That’s just terrible for everyone. 

Life is hard, at least it has been for me, and for most of the people I’ve come across. We all had, have and will have our share of challenges in life. But in my experience what separated the healthy, happy and successful from the unsuccessful, the miserable, and the unhealthy were these 3 grossly simple concepts.  

  1. Our ability to discover, process and learn new and valuable information,

  2. Our capacity to start, build and maintain mutually beneficial relationships, and

  3. Our ability to adapt to new, unexpected situations, circumstances, and conditions. 

 Just as I promised 697 words 😂 and I haven’t even made my main point. 

 The main point though is that, 

  1.  Our ability to discover, process and learn valuable information,

  2.  Our capacity to start, build and maintain harmonious relationships, and

  3. Our ability to adapt to new, unexpected circumstances and situations,

are all offspring of our mental processes. 

So if all of that depends on mental processing, the logical thing to do is to understand mental processing and how to improve it. Mental processing is the brain’s main activity, and it depends on our brain health. 

 So let's look at some of the basics on the brain health, what should we do to improve our mental processing, and what we should avoid and not do to have a better mental capacity and brain health.  


The Brain

The brain is the largest, most important and complex organ in the human body. Right about now some of you probably would argue that the heart is the most important and complex organ that we have. I respectfully disagree. In medicine, they can take your heart out and put another one in instead and you can go on and continue your life as you. You’d probably have to modify some of your behaviors to make sure that the new heart adapts in the new body, but your personality will still be the same. You’ll still be you. On the contrary, have you ever heard of a brain transplant? No? I haven’t either. It’s because no human brain transplant has ever been conducted. 

The brain weighs over 3lb, about 2% of our body, but it uses about 20% of the body’s energy. The brain is the only organ in the human body that controls, regulates and has some type of direct influence on all of the other organs, body parts and processes. 

The brain is responsible for memory, learning, language processing, planning, concentration, decision-making, and processing of all of the external information. The brain is responsible for the maintenance of and regulations of all autonomic bodily functions such are digestion, detoxification, blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, movement etc. 

A healthy brain can do all of these much better and with much more ease.


Brain Health

  • Can you see it now?

  • Can you see how critical it is to have a healthy brain? 

  • What about the brain’s effect on your overall health, happiness, and success in life? 

  • Can you see that?

 

So what is brain health?

Believe it or not, there are no comprehensive explanations or definitions for brain health on the net. So I decided to define brain health through syntheses of what I found on the internet and with my own knowledge on the subject that came through research and clinical experience.

Brain health is the state of a brain that is free of any physical trauma and cognitive diseases, disorders, and dysfunctions. Brain health is state of the brain when the brain performs all of its functions and processes at its maximum capacity. 

Here a few physical traumas of the brain: inflammation, contusion, concussion, tumors etc. And some of the cognitive diseases, disorders: memory loss, chronic emotional issues, Alzheimer’s etc.

Healthy brain performs all the mental processes that are collectively known as cognition, including the ability to learn, intuition, judgment, language, remembering, concentrating, maintaining a clear, active mind, information management, perspective and perception management, logic, wisdom, problem solving, playing, internal and external communications, emotional regulation, intuition, creativity, movement, hormone production and regulation and so much, much more. It’s a massive list and most of it happens without us being consciously aware of it at all. 

A healthy brain is essential for living a long, healthy, happy and successful life. 

What To Do To Gain And Maintain Brain Health?

There are some general health-yielding behaviors that will help you to gain brain health and maintain it. A general, healthy lifestyle helps with brain health. Also consuming alcohol, drugs and smoking excessively lowers your chances of having a healthy brain. Unhealthy behaviors like overeating, not-sleeping, not-resting, not-learning, not-reading, not-exercising are also bad for the brain. And the main enemy of it all is stress. Stress is the worst thing for the brain. 

Brain health significantly depends on proper blood flow. So highly oxygenated blood is like an elixir for the brain. Doing cardiovascular excesses, drinking the right amount of water, eating fresh and healthy foods, in tandem with proper rest and relaxation will tremendously help you to gain and maintain your brain health. 

So take walks, lift weights, do yoga, dance, bike, whatever you enjoy, run, swim and eat well. 

This is what I mean by mindful living. Be mindful of your behaviors, your emotions and your communications with others. 


 Stress, Emotions and Brain Health

Stress is a cocktail of negative emotions that sabotage our brain’s executive function. Controlling the emotions, learning how to properly address stress leads to better brain health. Stress is one of the biggest hindrances for brain health.  Stress is a reaction to an event that disrupts our physical and mental equilibrium. Stressful events trigger our “fight and flight” response causing hormones such as adrenalin and cortisol to surge through the bloodstream. Frequent activation of the stress response leads to changes in the brain’s structures. These changes could impair mental processes involving memory, attention, and emotional regulation. 

Stress is the biggest obstacle for efficient mental processing, which is crucial for health, happiness, and success.

According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress is linked to the six leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide. And more than 75% of all physician office visits are for stress-related complaints.

So having a strategy in place that addresses your stress is a must. Again it goes back to what we talked about earlier. Exercising and proper nutritional regiment helps with stress tremendously. Regular massage therapy treatments are some of my favorite way to address my stress. Listening or playing music, creating things, playing games, watching a funny movie whatever works for you. The key thing to keep in mind is when you recognize you’re stressed, do something about it to change your state. You don’t want to let stress linger around for too long. Again, frequent activation of the stress response leads to changes in the brain’s structures. These changes could impair mental processes involving memory, attention, and emotional regulation. 

So let's look at one specific thing that we can practice which is very beneficial for the brain, the brain health, all of the mental processes and all of the other contingent circumstances; the health, happiness, and success.   


Meditation and Brain Health

Meditation is the training of the mind.  By practicing meditation you become aware, mindful and better equipped on how to deal with everyday stresses and anxieties. By learning and practicing meditation you gain control over the different aspects and processes of your mind.  

Doesn’t this look relaxing? Meditation is anti-stress.

Doesn’t this look relaxing? Meditation is anti-stress.

Just like physical exercises strengthen the body, meditation helps to strengthen the mind. Just like physical exercises consist of different elements of training like lifting weights, stretching, speed, and cardio training. Meditation also consists of different training elements such are different breathing patterns, heightened awareness techniques, strengthened concentration and sustained attention cultivation exercises.

Research tells us that one of the best ways to address stress and brain health is regular meditation and mindfulness practices. Practicing meditation can play an active role in changing the brain’s plasticity. It can increase your well-being and quality of life. 

MIT & Harvard Studies have shown that meditating regularly can help relieve symptoms in people who suffer from chronic pain. Research has shown that mindfulness practices improve both alerting and sustained attention. Which is crucial for people who have ADD and ADHD disorders. 

Mindfulness meditation practice helps with all sorts of normal cognitive declines that are associated with aging. Older meditators have been shown to outperform age-matched participants on an attention blink task and on tasks assessing attention, short-term memory, perceptual speed, and executive functioning. 

Here’s why.

Meditation activates parts of the brain that are essential for keeping our emotions in check and reducing excessive anxiety. Do you remember that frequent activation of the stress response leads to changes in the brain’s structures? And that these changes could impair mental processes involving memory, attention, emotional regulation etc. Meditation helps to dissolve and interrupt the ongoing stress responses in the brain. Thus reversing its negative effects on the brain. Keeps the brain healthy.

Aging and pathology are usually associated with cortical thinning— with losing gray matter in the cortex. In 2005, Sara Lazar analyzed 20 long-term Western meditators and age-matched controls. They had, on average, nine years of meditation experience. Her team discovered that compared to age-matched controls, the meditators had thicker anterior insula, sensory cortexes, and prefrontal cortexes. The differences in thickness were most pronounced in older subjects. 

This means that long-term meditators have better chances of preventing many mental disorders disrupting normal brain functioning. Plus, practicing meditation helps to gain insights about the inner working of the mind and the mental processes. 

Our entire experience of life is based on how we react to things, which takes place inside our mind. Reacting to stimuli, be it an external or internal. Actually, all external stimuli eventually become an internal event at the point of evaluation, perception creation, judgment and response. 

Majority of people never ponder these ideas. Most people never consider the fact that they can affect their brain health, and that their brain health will determine the quality of their life. They never really understand the intricate inner workings of the compartmentalized mind and how to use the natural innate capabilities they possess. 

Serious meditators, however, who regularly and precisely practice proper meditation techniques that are free of illusions, delusions, and ignorance achieve definite results and benefits for their brain health, in their relationships, and create successful careers because they utilize the maximum of their brain power.

 

Listen,

  1. Our ability to discover, process and learn new and valuable information,

  2. Our capacity to start, build and maintain mutually beneficial relationships, and

  3. Our ability to adapt to new, unexpected situations, circumstances, and conditions,

all depend on how much brain juice we have and how we commend our own brain capabilities. Healthier brains have more juice.

 

Anyway, thank you for reading, I do appreciate your time and attention. And I wish this article was of value to your life. And I hope you’re more inspired to take care of your brain. 

Remember through mindful living and meditation you can improve your brain’s health, increase its capabilities and live a longer, healthier, happier and more successful life. 

 

Thanks for reading…

Massage. Meditate. Be Happy.

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Hayk Zar LMT

Hayk Zar LMT

 

P.S. Call or text 732-766-0897 to check availabilities and to book your appointment with me, for your clinical massage therapy session and get rid of your stress, anxiety and back pain today.

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