The next phase of learning that there is no manual to teach us but what we must nevertheless learn anyway is to learn to take good care of our brain and mind.
The first step in this process is to understand one simple and important fact:
The brain and the mind is NOT the same thing.
The mind is an aggregate of our human experience that we to date have no definition for, although many scientists, researchers, and ordinary humans have tried.
The brain, on the other hand, is the physical organ that controls our bodily functions – important functions such as sight, hearing, touch, taste, needs cues, pain and other “warning lights,” and communication.
The brain is so, so, so important – and yet to date it is the organ in our body that we still understand the least.
The issue for those of us who struggle to take good care of any facet of “us” – from our body to our brain/mind to our heart and our spirit – is that what we don’t understand well or at all, we tend to fear.
Whether they will ever admit it or not, the medical and treatment community often struggles against feeling the very same way.
From this we can learn that a fear-based, ignorant approach will not serve us well in learning to care for our brain, and our mind.
Rather, the right approach is to adopt a spirit of adventure based on two important principles:
- There are some “brain” basics that can help us better care for both our brains and our minds
- No two brains – or minds – are ever alike (think fingerprints and you’ll get the right idea)
These two principles are important because they give us a reason to throw out our assumptions that there is a “right” or “wrong” way for a brain or a mind to operate.
Rather, there is only the way which is right or wrong for us.
The “brain basics” that we need to know are these:
- Our brain, like our body, needs the proper balance of nutrients and hydration for us in order to function at peak efficiency
- If we mess with our nutrient and hydration levels or introduce brain-altering substances such as alcohol or drugs, we can expect our brain function to change and most likely diminish over time accordingly,
- Our brain is composed nearly entirely of fat and water, so we need adequate intake of both in order to ensure brain health
- Differences in brain function from one brain to the next are both common and normal
Given these brain basics, and an understanding that it will be a lifetime’s work to get a good sense of what is our “personal best” when it comes to brain function and brain health, we can see that we have our work cut out for us.
Today’s Takeaway: How would you rate yourself on a scale from 1 to 10 in how well you are taking care of your brain and your mind? Are you paying attention to how intake affects output on the level of nutrients, hydration, and thoughts? Where could you make some adjustments to improve your brain and mental health?