Dawn's Big Three This Week:
1) 🥑 Food For Thought 💭
The goods on greens and why your brain craves them (even if you don't.)
2) 🥇 Motivation Station 🏃♀️
Why comparison might be exactly what you need to succeed.
3) ☔ Make It Brain
Pain meds or Egyptian cotton? Which is more effective?
Want More of This? Get Some Brain Food Every Week.
🥑 Food For Thought 💭
FIFTY SHADES OF GREEN
February's chilly temperatures typically evoke unhealthy cravings. This is slightly problematic because comfort food doesn't always fuel cognitive performance.
But cold weather is excellent for brain-sharpening vegetables. This time of year is surprisingly hot for robust greens.
Now’s the time to chow down and capitalize on winter’s all-natural brain supplements. Think kale, rapini, turnip greens, swiss chard, and mustard greens.
Reasons to go green
If brain fog threatens to slow you down, dark leafy greens are the perfect remedy.
They’re packed with memory enhancers and cognitive accelerators: vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, folate, and potassium.
Not only that, but a steady diet of steamed leafy greens may also kick cancer in the face. (Prostate, breast, and bladder cancer to name a few.)
Bitter is best
If you’re put off by their inherent sharp flavour, just know that bitter compounds indicate disease-fighting phytochemicals.
With a little culinary finesse, it’s possible to sauté the sting out or chug your greens in smoothie form. (Here’s an excellent resource for you stay-at-home juicers.)
When storing greens, wrap a damp paper towel around their ends and loosely bag them in plastic to prevent them from wilting like pansies.
We’re all for the occasional pastry-bound meat pie or deliciously gooey mac and cheese but balance is beautiful. Here’s to keeping things green this week.
FOR THE NERDY: More to chew on
🥇Motivation Station 🏃♀️
COMPARISON: SILENT KILLER OR SECRET WEAPON?
True or false: Your inner monologue can spring from “I’m a genius!” to “I’m an inadequate pile” in a second thanks to social media. If so, you’re not alone.
Even though social media outlets are designed to sap attention and play off insecurities, time spent scrolling your platform of choice can actually help you reach your potential. You get to decide.
Born to compare
According to scientist Leon Festinger, humans are hardwired to measure themselves based on their immediate social surroundings. We rely on comparison to learn language, proper behaviour, and various other life skills.
But we live in 2019.
Immediate social surroundings no longer exist. Now we peer into curated highlight reels by way of our palms and lose track of reality.
Princeton psychologist Susan Fiske uses the term “envy up, scroll down” to describe the negative feelings associated with weighing worthiness next to perceptions of others.
So when does our tendency to compare becomes our nemesis online? When we lack intention and a clear objective. There’s a better way.
How to harness social media for greatness
Set a clear goal. What are you looking for? Inspiration? Progress assessment? Education? Make up your mind first.
Set a timer. No cheating. Be sure to steer clear of Fuck Jerry while you’re at it.
Log what you learn. Writing helps distill what you consume.
Use what you glean to influence new goals. Keep them timely and specific.
Perhaps the best way to put social media to good use is to explore the archives and compare your current self to the old you. Be kind. You’ve come a long way, baby.
FOR THE NERDY: More for the info-thirsty folks.
☔ Make It Brain
THE PAIN OF LOSING SLEEP
Glorious news for headache-stricken achievers and fitness junkies with burning hamstrings: New research suggests a drug-free pain solution is waiting for you between the sheets.
Scientists recently discovered a brain-based connection between perceived pain and sleep deprivation. This revelation calls for an early night.
Tell me more
American scholars conducted two sleep-related studies. (Want details on methods? Off you go.)
Their extensive research revealed two things.
Even one night of inadequate sleep causes the brain’s pain-sensing regions perk up.
At the same time, areas responsible for decision-making and perceiving pain nod off.
Simply put, a person’s “pain radar” increases and his or her pain threshold dips, all thanks to a lousy sleep.
According to this discovery, scholars state that seeking quality sleep is a legitimate and effective way to minimize physical pain.
Could this be the end of over-the-counter pain meds and prescription opioids? Probably not. But think of all the money you can burn at the juice bar instead. Kale for days.
Pain, pain, go away
Cultivating superior rest and managing physical pain are as simple as establishing healthy habits.
Dodge blue light exposure. Cut off after-hours screen time. Sixty minutes before curfew is ideal.
Keep it routine. Same time, same place. Consistency, not just hours per night, is key.
Relax that sh*t. Meditation, aromatherapy, any film starring Keanu Reeves (well, maybe not John Wick). Maybe you want to chug turmeric-fused moon milk. It’s up to you too. Just make it to bed at a reasonable hour and don’t forget to stretch.
FOR THE NERDY: Read the complete academic study
What We Love This Week
📽 A year ago this week, I gave my (maybe first of many, who knows) TEDx talk about how laughter builds resilience, a homage to my very funny, and very resilient father. If you haven't seen it - I'd be honoured if you give it a go!
📖 How To Change Your Mind, by Michael Pollan. 60+ and never taken any drug, his journey of researching psychedelics and it's breakthrough results for both mentally sick and well people alike is a must read. Mindblowing stuff.
🎧 Coral Reefs are their own neural network, so turns out they're pretty smart. Listen to this Podcast on how they work here, if you like.
BONUS: We just launched on Instagram, dishing up 1 science backed fact for your brain every day. Aesthetically pleasing intelligence awaits. Follow us!
Community Feedback (it's not always that great)
“To be honest, I don't even understand most of what you're saying”
“It's actually a lot better than I was expecting, Daniel.”
And this is why friends are important.
See you next week gang.
PS. Wanna give the gift of Brain Food? Forward this to a friend.