When we have to handle the responsibilities of school, family, work, and household responsibilities, this can make us feel mentally stressed and fatigued. We tend to forget that we are only human and we can only take on so much.
According to Brain Health Central Blog’s article “Cognitive Neuroscientist Brain Health Mornings,” Patrick K. Porter Ph.D., the neuroscientist and creator of the meditation app BrainTap, and neuroscientist Kristen Willeumier, Ph.D. have their own methods of what to do every morning for better mental health.
Waking Up Mindfully
Dr. Porter does not believe in setting an alarm to wake you up in the morning. He uses a “chili pad’ that changes the temperature of his bed from 60 degrees Fahrenheit to be woken up at 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The chili pad raises his body temperature so that he wakes up naturally without the shock of a blaring alarm.
He and Dr. Willeumier also practice meditation, regulating blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing patterns. Meditation can also enhance creativity, learning, focus, and attention. By making meditation a habit, the brain’s gray matter linked with memory and learning increases.
Drink Water Instead of Caffeine
Instead of being quick to consume caffeine in the morning, Dr. Willeumier starts the day with two 8-ounce glasses of water. Since the body has gone seven to eight hours without eating or drinking anything while asleep, it is essential to start the morning with hydrating fluids.
She starts the first glass with plain filtered water and the second glass with fresh lemon. Dr. Porter also believes in morning hydration with three 20-ounce glasses of water. One study published by ScienceDaily titled “Dehydration Alters Human Brain Shape and Activity, Slackens Task Performance” says that drinking water can help the minds of individuals work harder than before.
Dr. Willeumier’s morning starts with running, pilates, rowing, and resistance training three days a week. Dr. Porter takes a 15-20 minute walk to get him moving, exposes him to Vitamin D, and connects him to nature.
Exercise is a great way to help you sleep better as well as cope with stress and anxiety. Cardio workouts increase oxygen flow to the brain, reduce the risk of memory loss, make it easier to form connections, and increase mindfulness. This is because exercise increases the release of proteins and hormones that create new connections and improve brain plasticity.
We are responsible for our brains’ health to improve our decision-making and have the energy for the stress that may await us. According to Dr. Willeumeir and Dr. Porter, we can do this by not drinking as much caffeine, staying away from blaring alarms, and exercise. At Alta Loma, we understand the importance of mental health, and we are here to help you. Located in Georgetown, Texas, we can provide you with individualized therapy, therapeutic recreational activities, life and coping skills education, and more. Call us at (866) 457-3843 for more information.