Brain-Boosting Tips From Deepak Chopra
Dr. Deepak Chopra and Harvard Medical Schoolâs Dr. Rudolph Tanzi want to give you a brain makeover.
Deepak Chopra photo viaÂ s_bukley/Shutterstock.com
As each dreary winter day blurs into the next and your holiday season to-do list grows longer and longer, itâs easy to submit to the stress of it all. That considered, thereâs no time like the present to gift yourself with a makeoverâa brain makeover. Enter Deepak Chopra, the holistic guru who was once chief-of-staff at New England MemorialÂ Hospital (now called Boston Regional Medical Center), and Dr. Rudolph Tanzi,Â Harvard Medical School professor whoÂ specializes in Alzheimerâs disease and heads the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at MGH. TheyÂ teamed up to co-authorÂ Super Brain in order to show us how to unleash the power of our minds.
The two doctors met in a bathroom. Yes, really, in a bathroom at the TEDMEDÂ conferenceÂ in 2010, when Chopra asked Tanzi if the brain was a noun or a verb.
âItâs a verb, of course,â responded Dr. Tanzi. The rest is history.
They told us their brain-boosting tips that we can all apply this season:
1. Your brain is not a fixed object.
- “Every time you learn something new, you make a new synapse, and when you learn something new, itâs always based on something you already know,” Tanzi says. “Thatâs how the brain works. Itâs layering and layering itself.â
- âAll your genes are present in bacteria. Theyâre present in bananas,â Chopra says. âWith technology and social media, our brains are evolving, and Iâm not talking about evolution as a metaphor. Our neural networks are literally evolving. Kids know how to play video games, their neural networks are hardwired in completely different ways. So we can learn to hardwire our brains in ways that create personal wellbeing.â
The takeaway: Your brain is a powerful thing and can be hardwired for change; and donât be a banana.
2. Thereâs a good chance youâre not doomed to suffer from an age-related illness.
- âLess than three percent of age-related illnesses, and that includes Alzheimerâs, are due to a [genetic mutation] that youâre born with,â Chopra says. âThe rest of our entire genome, which is 23,000 genes, is actually influenced by experience. So you can have identical twins, and theyâll have the exact same genome, and 20 years later, youâll find a completely different genomic expression.â
- âOne of the biggest misconceptions about Alzheimerâs is that if you have a family history, youâre going to get it,â Tanzi says.âLifestyle can make a difference regarding risk.â
TheÂ takeaway: You are not doomed. Improve your lifestyle andÂ decreaseÂ your risk for age-relatedÂ illness.
3. You can think yourself out of a mild seasonal funk or a holiday panic.
- Though Dr. Tanzi wants to make it clear that some types of depression require medication, for the average person suffering from a bit of a blue spell, better moods are well within the brainâs reach. The key, both doctors agree, is mental awareness. This entails regularly checking in on your emotions, acknowledging them, and letting them go. This is, of course, easier said than done for some, but the good doctors have tips for simplifying the process.
- Entering an anxiety spiral, for example, is optional, Chopra says. âI like to use an acronym: STOP. S â stop, T â take a few deep breaths and smile, O â observe whatâs happening with your body, and P â proceed with kindness, compassion, and joy.â
- Chopra adds that sometimes, it wonât be easy to identify what youâre feeling or why, and that thatâs OK, too. Practice, as it often does, makes perfect.
What is Tanziâs personal tip for checking in with himself and regulating his moods? âI check my cell phone so much, like a lot of people, that every time I check it, I ask myself, âHow do I feel right now? What am I thinking?ââ
Itâs definitely something to consider, becauseÂ you certainly checked your phone while reading this article.
What are mood boosting tips this holiday season? Tell us in the comments!
Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/health/blog/2012/12/11/deepak-chopra-super-brain/