Introduction | Nutrition | Supplements | Mind | Mind/Muscle Link | Tips From The Top
As well as programming your mind for success it is important to maintain its integrity to strengthen its neural connectivity. The strength of connection between brain cells and the health of the cells themselves is an important factor in establishing the environment necessary for continued development of the perception, reasoning, thinking and feeling skills needed to attain the highest levels of performance in all of the components of, and methods for achieving success discussed in this guide.
In essence, an alert, optimally functioning mind is more receptive to positive stimuli. Practicing the valuable methods for attuning your mind to success cannot be fully achieved if the mind is functioning sub-optimally. Areas such as nutrition, exercise, sleep and positive living environment will contribute to a healthy, receptive mind. Maintenance factors that keep the brain healthy and receptive to positive thoughts include:
Regular Physical Exercise
As has been noted elsewhere in the guide, regular exercise has a remarkable effect on how we think and feel. Stimulating the muscles of the body, particularly aerobically, will allow for adequate oxygen flow to the brain, therefore bathing the neurons (brain cells) from which the impulses of the mind originate, in its life-giving properties. Without oxygen, carried in the blood to various tissues of the body, the life force of a particular area will be drained, and this includes the brain.
The brain needs a plentiful supply of oxygen to survive and function optimally, and exercise is by far the best method to achieve this. Increased blood flow to the brain will also supply it with the nutrients needed to build healthy cells, and with adequate energy to power its thought processes.
While cardiovascular exercise will ensure more oxygen is taken into the body, thus achieving greater oxygen uptake by the brain, anaerobic work - which commonly involves weight training - will stimulate the mind for peak performance through a different set of process. Every time we train with resistance, the brain releases endorphins, which provide an anaesthetizing effect to suppress muscle pain and to hasten tissue repair.
In addition, the endorphins have a positive effect on how we feel - many liken the effect caused by resistance training induced endorphin release to a high that facilitates positive emotions. Thinking becomes clearer and the mind is more receptive to positive thoughts at this time. Exercise, both aerobic and anaerobic, therefore can significantly prepare the mind for positive thinking.
A Sound Nutrition Plan
The brain needs constant blood flow to supply the nutrients needed for development and energy purposes. Given brain tissue is comprised of fats - which form brain cell membranes - along with various proteins that comprise the different structures within its cells, it needs a plentiful supply of these nutrients to reach its potential. A poorly functioning brain can be attributed, in part, to a lack of the essential nutrients so vital to its function.
A diet rich in essential fats such as omega three oils and complete protein sources like fish, eggs and chicken will supply, respectively, the fats and proteins needed for proper development. Insufficient brain development will lead to disorganized thinking and sub-optimal mental performance, so providing the listed nutrients is a vital step toward the promotion of a healthy mind. Another nutrient, carbohydrate, is also essential for the proper functioning of the brain. Carbohydrates are known as the body's primary energy nutrient, and the brain preferentially uses these.
Without adequate carbohydrate intake from foods such as brown rice, potatoes, and whole wheat bread (collectively known as complex carbohydrates due to their ability to release energy slowly), the brain will feel groggy and sluggish, not states conducive to the heightened mental alertness needed to facilitate higher thought processes. Given the important role nutrition has in brain development and performance, it is essential one include a healthy diet as a major goal along with a sound exercise plan.
Adequate Sleep & Rest
Sleep is a restorative process associated with proper mental functioning. During sleep the brain undergoes a series of stages, each specifically timed and structured to rest the mind and body in preparation for the following day's activities. As most will attest, a restless night will leave them feeling tired and mentally drained the next day. Many who do not achieve sufficient sleep complain of poor focus and mental performance.
Clearly these states are not conducive to the alertness of mind needed to consistently think positive thoughts. A good night of sleep can range from seven to nine hours, on average, although some can get by on as little as six. Finding the ideal period and consistently maintaining this number is an important step toward improving mental function.
In an ideal world we would sleep well every night. However, certain events may interfere with this. A 30-minute nap during the day could be one way to compensate for a poor night of sleep, although it should by no means justify regular broken sleep patterns. It can, however, be used as an occasional measure. Regular, quality sleep in conjunction with a good diet and exercise program will enable the mind to use the practices described in this chapter to a greater degree.