How to Use Your Brain to Its Maximum Potential?

This article aims to answer the question of “how to use your brain to its maximum potential?” in detail. The article will cover the techniques to make your brain faster and sharper, along with some frequently asked questions about the brain.

How to Use Your Brain to Its Maximum Potential?

The following techniques to use your brain to its maximum potential are:

  • Meditation
  • Exercising Regularly
  • Write
  • Listen to Mozart
  • Follow a Healthy Diet
  • Get a Good Amount of Sleep
  • Avoid Sugary Foods
  • Don’t Watch A lot of TV, Instead, Connect With People!
  • Relax

We all have senior moments where we may walk into a room and wonder why we came there, or when we misplace our keys and can’t find them. However, though these issues are annoying, they don’t drive us to rush to the doctor. This is because we generally focus on physical ailments like high blood pressure, pain, and disability. We tend to ignore the functioning of the brain, and check-in whether is it working optimally or not. 

Most of us rarely think to invest in a bit of brain training now and then. 

For instance, the concept of neuroplasticity suggests that our brain has the ability to change. Neuroplasticity is an umbrella term referring to the ability of the brain to modify, change, as well as to adapt to the structural and functional changes throughout life in response to experiences. It is said that there are individual differences in regard to the observed structures and functions of the brain (Gu & Kanai, 2014). 

However, new literature suggests that the rules that govern cortical plasticity remain similar across individuals. Plasticity means that we are able to change our neural pathways. All that it really takes for this to happen is the repetition of actions in order to reinforce the new neural pathways. 

Research has shown that by just adopting some healthy habits, we can boost our neural connections and maintain the brain’s functioning. The brain is a muscle, and with a few exercises, it can become stronger like the others.  Let’s take a look at those techniques. 

Meditation

Research has shown that long-term meditation causes long-term changes in the structure of the brain. Meditation trains your brain to be focused on the present and helps you not get overly attached to your thoughts. Thus, this way, it improves your ability to create new pathways and change the existing neural pathways. 

Meditation is the practice of calming your mind and orienting yourself in the present moment. It includes letting your thoughts float without any attachment or judgement. Research has found that meditators have found about a 65% increase in their dopamine production, which helps them remain in a positive mood, and stay motivated, focused, and oriented.

Research has shown that long-term meditation causes long-term changes in the structure of the brain. Meditation trains your brain to be focused on the present and helps you not get overly attached to your thoughts. Thus, this way, it improves your ability to create new pathways and change the existing neural pathways.

Exercising Regularly

Research has suggested that physical exercise improves brain functioning in terms of learning and memory. Moderate exercise for 30 minutes or so, whether it is running, jogging, or cycling can help in making your brain fast and sharp. 

Engaging in sports like football, cricket, or basketball helps ease stress as well as improves our coordination, planning, and decision-making abilities. Doing martial arts, yoga, or dance also helps in activating the prefrontal cortex.

Write

One way to deal with your stressors is to journal. You can write your problems down, and release the stress from doing that. It is a cathartic exercise that benefits your brain in the long run. It helps your brain understand that you’ve written it all down and expressed it, and hence it can then easily move on or look beyond the particular situation.

Listen to Mozart

Koelsch (2014) found that listening to music increases activity in the reward areas of the brain, which are rich in dopamine receptors. Another study has found that when participants listened to instrumental music, a 9% increase in dopamine was observed in their brains. 

Mozart also helps in calming the brain down and also helps us refocus on our tasks. Thus, it is a good technique to maximise its potential.

Follow a Healthy Diet

Proteins are the building blocks of the body, also known as amino acids. There are about 20 different amino acids that the body needs in order to make all the proteins required. Some of the amino acids are made by the body, while others are acquired through different foods. 

The important amino acid involved with dopamine production is called tyrosine. The body’s enzymes can turn tyrosine into dopamine and serotonin and hence, having enough tyrosine helps in increasing dopamine levels in the body (Lopez & Mohiuddin, 2022). 

This in turn increases the brain’s functioning by increasing its motivation drive. This can be found naturally in protein-rich foods like turkey, beef, dairy, soy, legumes, and eggs. 

There is a connection between the brain and the gut (Lerner et al., 2017). They are connected by neurotransmitters, around thousands of them, that send messages back and forth. This is why when we think about food, our mouth water, and good-tasting foods tend to trigger the release of dopamine. 

Hence eating more probiotics will keep your gut healthy, which in turn can increase the production of dopamine in your body, which in turn increases your brain speed.

Get a Good Amount of Sleep

Choose a pleasant and calming activity that can help you fall asleep with relative ease. Getting adequate sleep helps in strengthening neural connections of the brain and thus improves memory as well as regulates emotions. 

Sleep is the natural method for the body to reset and replenish itself, including the brain. Studies have shown that sleep shrinks the brain’s synapses in order to allow for more learning (Cirelli, 2013). 

These synapses grow when you are aware, and shrink while sleeping. This enhances learning and makes the brain to become more elastic. Not getting quality sleep causes problems for the brain in resetting itself. Rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep is particularly important for neuroplasticity.

Avoid Sugary Foods

Studies in older women have also found a link between high saturated fat intake and poor memory, and poor thinking ability in humans. These are the same effects as having lower levels of dopamine. Foods high in saturated fat include; butter, palm oil, coconut oil, and full-fat dairy.

Just as you have to take care of your body, it is essential to take care of your mind. Health conditions such as diabetes, blood pressure problems, and hypothyroidism can affect your brain and cause problems such as depression and anxiety.

Hence, when we change what we eat, it can improve our moods by having a significant effect on brain functions. Eating protein-rich diets, and more probiotics are recommended for healthier brain functioning.

Don’t Watch A lot of TV, Instead, Connect with People!

Social connection soothes the brain and calms it down. It helps in increasing the efficiency of inhibitory responses. Thus, go out and spend time with your friends or family members. 

Talking to a friend, and connecting with your community helps the release of oxytocin which is essential for healthy growth. Thus, staying connected to others helps our brain to experience what it is wired for – social connection.

Relax

Thinking positively helps in releasing dopamine in the brain which improves its functioning, as well as motivates us further. Gratitude is one way to instil positive emotions that can in turn activate the prefrontal cortex. 

Drama activates the amygdala due to its unnecessary negativity. This offsets the prefrontal cortex and limits our rational decision-making process. Thus, avoid drama and do not get caught up in gossip.

Stressors can be of two types; good and bad. You can enhance the good stressors and eliminate the bad stressors in order to improve the functioning of your brain. Firstly, you will have to identify the good stressors in your life, all the bad stressors, and then the stressors that you cannot control (e.g. ageing, behaviours of other people towards you, etc.). 

Good stressors are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant to your goals, and time-bound. Some examples of good stressors include; learning a new skill, running a marathon, enrolling in courses to improve your performance at work, planning a wedding, learning a new language, writing a book, etc. Learn to enhance these stressors more so than the bad stressors that set you back and cause you anxiety.

Conclusion

This article answered the question of “how to use your brain to its maximum potential?” in detail. The article covered the techniques to make your brain faster and sharper, along with some frequently asked questions about the brain.

Frequently Asked Questions: How to Use Your Brain to Its Maximum Potential?

What vitamins boost the frontal lobe?

Omega-3 fish oil is great in boosting the frontal lobe. It contains docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). DHA plays an important role in the structure of the brain and is heavily found in the frontal lobes.

Does the brain go to sleep when we do?

No, this is actually a myth. The brain is extremely active when we are sleeping. Sleep is critical for the functions of memory, problem-solving, creativity, and general emotional well-being. 

Can anxiety damage my brain?

Yes, pathological anxiety, as well as chronic stress, do lead to both structural degeneration and impaired functioning of the hippocampus and the PFC. This accounts for an even more increased risk of developing psychiatric disorders like depression or neurological disorders like dementia.

References

Cirelli C. (2013). Sleep and synaptic changes. Current opinion in neurobiology, 23(5), 841–846. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.conb.2013.04.001

Gu, J., and Kanai, R. (2014). What contributes to individual differences in brain structure? Front. Hum. Neurosci. 8:262. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00262

Koelsch S. Brain correlates of music-evoked emotions. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2014 Mar;15(3):170-80. doi: 10.1038/nrn3666. PMID: 24552785.

Lardone, A., Liparoti, M., Sorrentino, P., Rucco, R., Jacini, F., Polverino, A., Minino, R., Pesoli, M., Baselice, F., Sorriso, A., Ferraioli, G., Sorrentino, G., & Mandolesi, L. (2018). Mindfulness Meditation Is Related to Long-Lasting Changes in Hippocampal Functional Topology during Resting State: A Magnetoencephalography Study. Neural plasticity, 2018, 5340717. https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/5340717

Lerner A, Neidhöfer S, Matthias T. The Gut Microbiome Feelings of the Brain: A Perspective for Non-Microbiologists. Microorganisms. 2017 Oct 12;5(4):66. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms5040066. PMID: 29023380; PMCID: PMC5748575.

Lopez MJ, Mohiuddin SS. Biochemistry, Essential Amino Acids. [Updated 2022 Mar 18]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557845/

Salimpoor VN, Benovoy M, Larcher K, Dagher A, Zatorre RJ. Anatomically distinct dopamine release during anticipation and experience of peak emotion to music. Nat Neurosci. 2011 Feb;14(2):257-62. doi: 10.1038/nn.2726. Epub 2011 Jan 9. PMID: 21217764.

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