Building a brilliant brain is not all hard work, as you’ll learn in Ten Ways to Build a Brilliant Brain. In fact, it’s rarely hard work at all – just a matter of understanding something about what your brain likes and needs and making good choices as often as possible. Your brain is a bit like a puppy: it’s eager to get into everything and responds best to kindness, firmness and rewards. But people can make big mistakes with a puppy, resulting in a creature that causes havoc and stress wherever it goes! Ten Ways to Build a Brilliant Brain trains you to train your brain and let it fulfil its potential and behave brilliantly.
On the one hand, the brain is easy to reward: it seeks rewards all by itself. Left to its own devices, it would do continuously seek pleasure, from food (especially sugar), from alcohol, from sex, from excitement, from anything that made it (you) feel good. Clearly, therefore, we really shouldn’t leave it to its own devices. Or at least not the pleasure and reward centre on its own: we need to make sure the sensible, controlled prefrontal cortex is in charge, choosing rewards that will not bring negative consequences such as addiction, excess weight gain, and any mental or physical illness.
Let me offer ten ways to offer your brain the positive rewards it craves but also which will do it good, not just immediately but also in the long term. I suggest you do each of these things at least once a day. Now there’s a challenge!
1. Read for pleasure – of course! We know (see my website research section for all the evidence a sceptic might need) that R4P has so many benefits. One of them is its proven power to de-stress. The main reason is that when we’re engrossed in a book we can’t simultaneously be ruminating on our worries. I even have a word – readaxation – for this stress-busting effect. You’ll find resources and details on my website.
How do you do it? There are lots of methods but they all involve: making your breathing a) slower b) lower – using your belly more than your upper chest and c) more conscious. See my website for some methods or internet search “belly-breathing” or “relaxed breathing”. Actively relax your breathing in this way several times a day and any time you feel anxious or stress.
There you have my ten healthy ways to reward your brilliant brain. However, careful with that word ‘reward’ as it implies something you should only do when you ‘deserve’ it and some people don’t think they ‘deserve’ reward until they’ve ‘succeeded’ at something and their work is done. This is fundamentally wrong. Your brain and body need these ten actions, every day, several times a day if possible. Your brain won’t just feel better but do better. And we all want our brains to do brilliantly for us.
Nicola Morgan, aka The Teenage Brain Woman, is an award-winning author and speaker on many areas of well-being and learning. Her best-selling examination of the teenage brain, Blame My Brain, was shortlisted for the Aventis Prize; the prize-winning Teenage Guide to Stress, along with The Teenage Guide to Friends, Positively Teenage, Life Online, Body Brilliant, The Awesome Power of Sleep and Be Resilient, underline Nicola’s unparalleled expertise. In 2018, she was awarded the SLA’s prestigious award for Outstanding Contribution to Information Books. She used to be a teenage novelist and one day will be again. Her new book is TEN WAYS TO BUILD A BRILLIANT BRAIN, published by Walker Books. www.nicolamorgan.com
Views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Federation.