Meet Michael Trainer of Peak Mind, a social action platform dedicated to conscious living. In the daily DIY guide below, Michael is mapping out a full day of brain optimizing rituals and routines to supercharge one of your sexiest body parts: your mind.
From second-skin habits like drinking coffee and eating dark leafy greens, to less obvious brain-boosters like journaling and getting lost on your commute home from work, learn what to do for optimal brain health and why it matters – here’s Michael…
After my father was diagnosed with dementia, I set out on a quest to create Peak Mind, a global platform that helps people all over the world live happier, healthier lives and reach their highest potential through meditation and healthy living.
Peak Mind connects the most notable thought leaders of our time – most recently, The Dalai Lama (check out this video), Eckart Tolle and Deepak Chopra – with communities all over the world via inspirational content and experiences. Hosted by world leaders in neuroscience, business and spirituality, Peak Mind creates opportunities for impactful education and global change.
After years of studying how the health of our brain has huge implications on our overall health and happiness, I’ve developed a self-practice to optimize my brain and operate at my highest potential. It keeps me at the top of my game, physically and spiritually and I’m happy to share it with you. Here are my daily habits, morning, noon and night…
In the Morning…
Wake up, ideally after 8-9 hours of high quality rest. Sleep is crucial for your brain function. Quality rest has impact on all sorts of cerebral functioning, including your memory.
Start with a tall glass of water to begin your hydration.. I recommend getting a quality filter like the Big Berkley which eliminates impurities in water and fluoride, which has been shown to calcify your pituitary gland and could impact intuition.
Find a still space, before checking emails or allowing the outside world in, to ground yourself in your breath and find your inner calm. Headspace is a great free app that can guide you through a basic mindfulness practice.
A 2010 Harvard study showed eight weeks of mindfulness can actually change your neuroplasticity (grow your brain!), reducing activity in your stress-producing amygdala and increasing activity in the hippocampus, which is the center that controls memory and creativity.
Set your intention for the day and take a moment to express gratitude. Studies show that an active practice of gratitude has tangible effects on our overall happiness.
Drink a cup of coffee. A recent French study found that women age 65 or older who knocked back more than three 5-ounce cups a day were 33% less likely to experience decline in verbal fluency than those who drank less than a cup. Bulletproof coffee is great for the butter (healthy fat full the brain) and the medium-chain triglycerides, which support the brain; the combination provides a more consistent fuel to keep your energy consistent.
Many of the world’s top performers, CEOs and peak performers, including the President, exercise in the morning. Aerobic exercise is not only great for your health, it stimulates the brain and reduces cortisol levels.
In the Afternoon…
Drink a cup of green tea mid afternoon (which is full of flavonoids and antioxidants), or Earl Grey which contains L-theanine – a compound that improves brain function and mood.
Take a different route home. New challenges and unfamiliar territories encourage the growth of new pathways in your brain.
In the evening…
Eat a light dinner low in sugar and carbs, especially white bread and rice, which cause inflammation. Focus on cruciferous vegetables and lean wild-caught fish like salmon, which is high in omega-3s.
Take a dance class or study a new language. The stimulation of your brain helps enhance your memory.
Just one night of sleep deprivation can result in loss of brain tissue according to a recent Swedish study, so lights out and aim for 8 to 9 hours of uninterrupted rest.
The benefits of this practice
Many of the world’s top CEOs and peak performers are early risers and have a consistent morning routine. I highly recommend meditation, a healthy diet regimen and exercise to start your day. Many of the world’s leaders start their day this way, from President Obama, to Arianna Huffington and Tony Robbins. Exercise, especially in the morning, is key for your brain health and mental clarity. Aerobic exercise in particular, and changing up the types of exercise, helps produce new neurological activity and enhances mood.
In terms of mental clarity, your brain is predominantly fat so eating healthy fats like coconut oil and avocado are great for your brain. I also recommend high-quality fish oils, high-dose B-complex vitamins, vitamin D, coenzyme Q10 and magnesium for optimal brain health and performance.
Many do not know how profoundly linked our brain is to our gut. Your gut produces more serotonin (the ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitter) than your brain!
Your intestinal organisms influence immunity, detoxification, inflammation, neurotransmitter and vitamin production, and nutrient absorption. All of these processes factor into whether you experience chronic health problems like allergies, asthma, ADHD, cancer, dementia and diabetes.
Your microbiome also affects your mood, your libido and your mental clarity. Therefore, what you eat has profound implications on your overall mood, mindset, and health. Treat your gut well!
Research out of Harvard University shows you can actually change your neuroplasticity through eight weeks of mindfulness. Through meditation, you decrease activity in the stress-producing amygdala, your emotional response fight or flight center and increase size activity in the hippocampus, the center of your brain that controls memory and creativity.
Staying Mentally Active
Learning new activities is great for your brain, for neuroplasticity and stimulation of your neural pathways. Music and learning a new instrument or language are great for your brain. The movie Alive Inside actually shows how music can activate and stimulate the brain in miraculous ways bringing those with cognitive decline back to life.
Hopeful research out of Australia is showing that targeted ultrasound can actually recede the amyloid plaque that causes memory loss in Alzheimer’s patients. So pick up a new instrument, travel to new lands, challenge yourself with new activities that can help keep your brain nimble and have you operating at your peak.
The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health program.