“Your brain is involved in everything you do. When it works right, you work right,” said Dr. Daniel Amen and a recent Yahoo article.
One thing we can do for our brain health came from his study of Kirtan Kriya, a type of meditation. A session involves chanting and a pattern of breathing, for about 12 minutes. This practice was shown to improve brain function, resulting in greater alertness, clearer thinking and better problem solving.
You can get these significant benefits without chanting. The doctor has simplified it to a breathing exercise. He calls it five times two. Simply sit upright and breathe in slowly, for five seconds. Pause for about two seconds, and take about five seconds to smoothly exhale. Pause again for about two seconds, and begin another cycle by, inhaling slowly. 10 repetitions complete the session.
While Doctor Amen asserts that doing this every day would be a helpful discipline, he especially recommends it for times we are anxious, tense, nervous, or feeling out of control.
In studying meditation’s effect on the brain, he and his colleagues were surprised at what they found. It has long been assumed that meditation calms activity in the brain. Apparently, the peaceful affect we feel comes from optimized activity
in the prefrontal cortex. Dr. Daniel Amen calls this area the most human part of the brain. By firing this area up, meditative exercises produce a clarity that we experience as calm.
Practicing meditative techniques is one facet of a brain-healthy lifestyle. The doctor tells us that you don’t have to live with the brain that you got, that the right choices lead to improved brain health. He asserts that every improvement in your brain creates improvement in your life.