Healthy Brain Tips: 7 Secrets to Brain Health Restoration


Healthy brain tips

If only we could grab joysticks to get our brain to do what we want…

Healthy Brain Tips was an exciting blog post to write. Our brain is the most complex and fascinating organ in our body. It controls everything we do, from our thoughts, emotions, and movements to our memory and learning.

However, many of us (myself included) take our brain health for granted until we start experiencing memory loss, brain fog, or other cognitive decline.

Believe me, I know what that’s like. It scared the boopsy out of me.

However, there’s a reason why pretty much everyone on the frontlines of the anti-aging or healthy longevity movement is calling for followers to find a functional medicine practitioner. Functional medical practitioners will work with you to establish a baseline on your current health through extensive testing.

From there, they will work on setting up a personal, individualized, treatment program based on your desires and your true physical age.

Conventional medicine practitioners treat the human body like a machine; a collection of “parts” to be replaced or medicated separately from everything else. That might work for a car or a computer, but not for a fully integrated, living system.

In other words, you and I, and the people we care about.

Organic farmers feed the soil rather than the plant. The environment a plant lives in is highly influential to its health. Functional medicine practitioners also take a holistic view of health, considering how all systems in the body are interconnected and how imbalances in one system can affect others.

Conventional medicine simply treats the symptoms and hope the disease eventually goes away.

Hope is not a strategy.

In this post, I’ll cover seven key areas in healthy brain habits:







mental development

I’ll also provide resources to find professional help in each of these areas.

Please take action in as many of these components as you can. Synergy exponentially increases the benefits and impact of each of these areas.

I’m watching my mother-in-law, a smart, independent, and immensely talented abstract artist, whose physical health is exceptional, degenerate mentally due to vascular dementia. It’s devastating for Lisa and heartbreaking for the rest of us who know her.

Believe me, that’s a real wake-up call.

And now, on to Healthy Brain Tips: 7 Secrets  to Brain Health Restoration.

1. Psychological tips: Manage your stress and emotions

Healthy brain tips for dealing with stress...

Stress by sticky note…

The brain and mental health go hand in hand. Stress and negative emotions such as anxiety, anger, and depression can have a significant impact on our brain health.

Chronic stress is the worst and can lead to an overactive amygdala, the part of the brain that controls our fight or flight response, and a shrinking prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that controls decision-making, attention, and problem-solving.

Most brain fog issues can be traced to anxiety or depression. It’s the reason I’m taking Paroxetine (an antidepressant).

To manage your stress and emotions, try mindfulness meditation, yoga, deep breathing, or cognitive-behavioral therapy. I have worked with a cognitive-behavioral therapist to great advantage.

Just ask my wife, Lisa.

And it’s not a bunch of woo-woo stuff. It’s down and gritty and hard work. As a follow-up, I’m now searching for a therapist who specializes in neurofeedback. I’ve heard great things about that from both Dave Asprey and Tony Robbins.

Dave was struggling with anxiety and an unregulated fight or flight syndrome (I really know what that feels like). Neurofeedback helped him get control over that issue and it was a life-changing experience for him.

(I’ll keep you updated as I find someone to work with and let you know how it goes.)

The above practices can help you regulate your emotions, reduce stress, and improve your overall well-being.

Psychological Resources:

American Psychological Association (doesn’t have a “Find a Psychologist” function): Do a Google search for a psychologist near your zip code.

Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Find a therapist

Find a cognitive-behavioral therapist: Contact your insurance provider and ask for a list of therapists who specialize in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

Use an online therapist directory: Psychology Today, GoodTherapy, and the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies.

Contact a professional organization: Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies or the National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists.

Find a neurofeedback therapist: Check with your health insurance provider for a list of therapists in your area, covered by your plan.

• Use an online therapist directory: Psychology Today, GoodTherapy, and the International Society for Neurofeedback and Research (ISNR).

• Contact a professional organization: ISNR (see previous data point) or the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance (BCIA).

2. Physiological tips: Exercise your body regularly (plus direct brain stimulation options)

a woman is doing exercises on a yoga mat

Exercise – the best thing you can do for your brain

Physical exercise is not only good for our body, but also for our brain. Exercise can increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain, stimulate the growth of new brain cells, and improve our cognitive function.

Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, swimming (one of my favorites), jogging, or cycling (Lisa and I ride our ebikes through Minneapolis’ Grand Round parkways that meander throughout the city and around the lakes downtown), at least 3-4 times a week.

We also have a pair of folding ebikes so we can actually throw them in the back of my Fiat 500e and go to a county or State Park to hit the trails.

You can also try combining aerobic exercise with strength training (I either warm up at home with my vibration plate or at the gym with 5 minutes on a treadmill. Then I do 15 minutes of light weight-lifting and then 15 minutes on the elliptical at LifeTime Fitness).

You can find a form of yoga to suit almost anyone for a more holistic workout. Chair yoga (if you’re having leg or balance issues), beginners’ yoga, heat yoga, you name it, you can probably find it.

Qi Gong and Tai Chi are also great options because they combine a surprisingly stimulating workout with mindfulness or a meditative state. And just about anyone can do them regardless of your health.

Lastly, I’d like to mention Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES), and 40hz light stimulation.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive technique that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. It has been primarily used to treat depression, but researchers are exploring its potential for improving brain health in a broader sense.

Here are some ways TMS might positively impact your brain health:

1) Treating depression (it has been cleared by the FDA to treat depression if antidepressants are ineffective).

2) Anxiety and PTSD

3) Cognitive enhancement

4) Neurological disorders

5) Brain plasticity

You can learn more here: Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.

Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES)

Fisher-Wallace electrical brain stimulator for anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

My Fisher-Wallace electrical brain stimulator for anxiety, depression, and insomnia. FDA approved.

I use a device called the Fisher Wallace Stimulator®. It’s a medical device that uses Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) to deliver low-intensity electrical currents to the brain.

It’s a non-invasive, FDA-cleared device for treating depression, anxiety, and insomnia, as well as being used off-label for managing chronic pain.

I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and I use it for both. As I have mentioned above, I’m a big believer in synergy.

So I use it in conjunction with my 40hz light while I meditate every morning. The stimulator operates for 20 minutes so when it beeps at me, I know I’m done meditating and I can turn off my 40hz light.

I finish my morning routine with a 10 minute warmup on my vibration plate and then a stretching and power pose routine. If you need a good laugh, someday I’ll post my stretching and power pose routine on YouTube!

40hz Light Stimulation

40Hz light stimulation, also known as gamma light therapy, is a non-invasive method that uses flickering light at a frequency of 40 hertz (cycles per second) to stimulate brain activity. This approach is based on the observation that gamma oscillations, a type of brain wave with a frequency around 40Hz, are associated with various cognitive processes, such as attention, memory, and perception (all areas I have been struggling with in the last several years).

I’m scared to death of cognitive decline. And I won’t stand still and let it happen. So I use the 40hz light for several reasons:

40Hz light in my living room.

40Hz light in my living room. Yep, by the bananas.

1) Enhancing neural synchrony (40Hz light therapy may help improve the communication between neurons and promote overall brain function).

2) Reducing amyloid-beta plaques (40Hz light stimulation has been shown to reduce the accumulation of amyloid-beta plaques, which are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease – see MIT research).

3) Neuroprotection (promoting the release of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that supports neuron survival and growth).

When you buy your 40hz light, don’t buy the 40hz light bulb! I know it’s a heck of a lot cheaper, but if you read the reviews, the 40hz bare bulb rarely lasts more than a few months. My 40hz light is already a year old and working great!

Physiological Resources:

LifeTime Fitness; LA Fitness; Planet Fitness

Tai Chi; Qi Gong

Use online directories: Meetup, Eventbrite, and Google can help you find local Qi Gong or Tai Chi classes

Contact local community centers: Local community centers, parks and recreation departments, or senior centers

• Ask at local gyms or fitness centers or check with local martial arts studios.

Yoga Alliance: Find a Registered Yoga Teacher

Check your community education catalog for fitness classes or swim classes.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) – I’ve never used TMS – talk to your functional medicine practitioner. Also: Mayo Clinic and rTMS and the National Institute of Health on rTMS.

Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) 

40Hz Light Stimulator


3. Nutritional tips: Eat a brain-healthy diet

Avocados - the ultimate healthy brain fat source

Brain fitness food!

What we eat can have a profound impact on our brain health. A diet rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins and minerals can help protect our brain cells, reduce inflammation, and improve our cognitive function.

Some of the best food for brain recovery includes fatty fish (preferably salmon, mackerel, or sardines – all wild-caught if possible), nuts and seeds (walnuts are now considered the best nut for brain health, with pistachios second, and almonds a distant third – Lisa and I love Marcona almonds from Spain – Costco), berries (best bets: raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries – all low in sugar and loaded with polyphenols), leafy greens, whole grains, and, oh yeah, dark chocolate (and not just any dark chocolate: it must be at least 72% cocoa – low sugar – and NOT “dutched” or alkali-processed because it destroys the polyphenols in the chocolate).

And avoid processed and sugary foods, as they can contribute to inflammation and oxidative stress, which can damage our brain cells.

Nutritional Resources:

2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines and Online Materials

Nutrition and healthy eating

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Find a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition/articles – If you’re an amateur athlete and want to know the latest research on sports nutrition and supplementation, this is your place.

4. Therapeutic tips: Seek professional help when needed

Your brain is a puzzle - you need help figuring it out and tuning it up...

Tips for healthy mind…

If you’re struggling with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, or addiction, seek professional help. I did and I’m better for it. If you live in a community that isn’t supportive of working on your mental health, find a healthier community. I’ve never met anyone who couldn’t use a tuneup.

Mental health conditions can have a significant impact on our brain health and cognitive function, and they’re not something that we can simply “snap out of”.

A mental health professional, such as a therapist, psychiatrist, or counselor, can help you manage your symptoms, develop coping strategies, and improve your overall well-being.

Therapeutic Resources:

National Institute of Mental Health: Find Help for Mental Illnesses

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: Find Treatment

See also Psychological Resources above

5. Sociological tips: Stay socially connected

people sitting in front of table talking and eating

Nothing’s more social than eating together

Many of us learned the hard way what social isolation can do to individuals and families during the Covid crisis. It wasn’t pretty and we are still paying a price in mental trauma and personality disorders.

Social isolation and loneliness can have a detrimental effect on our brain health. Staying socially connected, on the other hand, can improve our cognitive function, reduce our risk of cognitive decline, and enhance our overall well-being.

Make time for social activities with friends and family, join a club or group that interests you, or volunteer for a cause that you’re passionate about. These activities can help you stay engaged, connected, and mentally stimulated.

DO NOT rely on “social interaction” through social media or other online outlets. Regardless whether you are an introvert or extrovert, humans are social animals and we need both personal interaction, stimulation and, very importantly, touch. Physical isolation causes all kinds of mental health issues.

Watching what Covid-19 isolation did to individuals and families should be lesson enough for all of us. Especially after seeing how people were acting in airplanes, on the road, and in society in general, once the country began to open up again. We can do better; for ourselves and each other.

Sociological Resources:

AARP: Find Social Activities in Your Community

Use online directories: Meetup, Eventbrite, and Google can help you find local groups with shared interests.

Contact local community centers: Local community centers, parks and recreation departments, or senior centers have lists of volunteer opportunities or social events.

Ask at local gyms or fitness centers for opportunities to combine social opportunities with exercise. LifeTime Fitness actually offers a social group plus gym classes for older gym members called ARORA.

6. Spiritual tips: Practice gratitude and mindfulness

Enjoying the little things in life leads to enjoying life in general...

Gratitude is it’s own spiritual reward…

Gratitude and mindfulness practices can have a profound impact on our brain health and well-being. Gratitude can help us cultivate positive emotions, reduce stress, and enhance our overall life satisfaction.

Mindfulness can help us cultivate present-moment awareness, reduce rumination (as in going down a dark alley in your mind), and improve our cognitive flexibility. Try practicing gratitude by writing down three things you’re grateful for every day or practicing mindfulness meditation for at least 10-15 minutes a day.

I’ve actually included gratitude in my morning meditation and the effects are immediate and rewarding.

Spiritual Resources:

My post on meditation…

Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley: Gratitude Exercises

UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center: Free Guided Meditations

7. Mental development tips: Keep learning and challenging yourself

grayscale photo of concrete building

Anything this crazy must be a brain games challenge…

Finally, one of the best ways to keep your brain healthy is to continue learning and challenging yourself. Engage in activities that challenge your brain, such as learning a new language, playing a musical instrument, solving puzzles, or taking up a new hobby.

According to the most recent brain plasticity research, any learning activity you take up to improve brain function, must be something new; something you haven’t learned before.

For instance, learning a new language, a musical instrument you’ve never played before, a hobby you’ve been drawn to but know nothing about. Intense learning experiences are the only ones that challenge your brain enough to sponsor growth and neural expansion.

Brain games are also a wildly popular choice for taking advantage of brain plasticity to work on brain health restoration. Below you’ll find some of these brain games websites (two of which I’m using).

These activities can help you improve your cognitive function, enhance your creativity, and boost your overall brain health.

And just so you know, there has been no research that shows any cognitive benefit to games such as Sudoku, puzzles, or word games. They simply aren’t the kind of tough, long-term workout that the brain requires to stay in shape.

Brain Games Websites and Resources:

Coursera: Free Online Courses from Top Universities

Kahn Academy: Free classes covering a wide range of topics – designed for quick learning

Cognifit: a cognitive training and brain fitness platform developed by CogniFit Inc., a company founded in 1999 by Shlomo Breznitz and Carlos Rodriguez. CogniFit’s programs and assessments were developed by a team of neuroscientists and psychologists, led by Dr. Breznitz, who is a renowned expert in cognitive psychology and brain plasticity.

The platform is designed to help users improve cognitive skills such as memory, attention, perception, and reasoning through personalized training programs and assessments based on their individual needs and abilities. I use it myself. You get a twenty minute cognitive fitness test and you’re given the results – very comprehensive (and embarrassing to see how far you’ve fallen in some areas.)

I just started using Cognifit and I can tell you, anything this hard has got to be effective – or maybe I just have a lot of catching up to do (it is also covered by Medicare). Special note: I am a Cognifit affiliate and I get a small fee, at no cost to you, if you follow the link.

BrainHQ: a cognitive training program developed by Posit Science, a company that specializes in brain plasticity research and technology. The program was developed by a team of neuroscientists, led by Dr. Michael Merzenich, a pioneer in the field of brain plasticity research.

BrainHQ is designed to improve cognitive abilities such as attention, memory, and processing speed through a series of interactive exercises and games that target specific neural pathways in the brain. I’ve been using it for over a year and the results are impressive. But you need to commit to using it daily.

The two programs above are very different from each other which makes them very complimentary to each other. I use them both and by the time I finish working with them every other morning, my brain is on hyperdrive!

Lumosity: Lumosity is a cognitive training and brain fitness platform created by Lumos Labs, a company founded in 2005 by Michael Scanlon, Kunal Sarkar, and David Drescher. The platform was designed to help users improve their cognitive abilities such as attention, memory, and problem-solving through a series of interactive games and exercises.

Lumosity claims that their platform is backed by research, and they have collaborated with various universities and research institutions to conduct studies on the effectiveness of their program.

However, in 2016, Lumosity settled with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over claims of deceptive advertising and false promises that Lumosity’s program could improve users’ cognitive function and delay age-related decline. I’ve never used it and as far as I know, there’s no science backing it up.


In conclusion, our brain is a remarkable organ that needs proper care and attention to function optimally. By incorporating these 7 tips into your daily routine, you can improve your brain health, optimize your cognitive function, and enhance your overall well-being.

Remember to manage your stress, exercise regularly, eat a brain-healthy diet, seek professional help when needed, stay socially connected, practice gratitude and mindfulness, and keep learning and challenging yourself.

With these healthy brain tips and the resources provided, you can take control of your brain health and live a vibrant and fulfilling life.

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