January’s tipping point is behind us, people.
Are you ready to optimise what's left of the month? We are.
Dawn's Big Three This Week:
1) 🥑 Food For Thought 💭
Sex, brains, and grape seed extract.
2) 🥇 Motivation Station 🏃♀️
Why you need to make analog gratitude a priority.
3) ☔ Make It Brain
3 Ways to whip your brain into shapes sans supplements.
Want More of This? Get Some Brain Food Every Week.
🥑 Food For Thought 💭
GET YOUR GRAPE ON
Back in the glory days, grapes symbolised the good life: youth, beauty, wealth, sex. Just ask Michelangelo's Bacchus statue.
Nowadays, we’d bet most people would rather sip malbec than snack on the real deal. Grapes (as we know them) are not hailed as exceptionally healthy and wine is, well, wine.
But before grapes descended to airport fruit salad realms, their thick-skinned seeded predecessors lived in the limelight thanks to valuable nutrients and sex appeal.
Luckily, we can still reap the benefits of grapes gone by. Enter grape seed extract.
Grape seed extract contains potent nutrients. It enhances brain cell growth and plasticity in the hippocampus. (That’s memory central, if you’re unfamiliar with brain regions.)
One study shows it may reverse hippocampal dysfunction induced by chronic seizures.
It gets better
Research also indicates a steady intake of grape seed extract has the power to ward off the following:
Best of all, there are no unfriendly side effects.
And in case those aren’t not enough reasons to toss grape seed extract on this week’s shopping list, consider other benefits you’re possibly missing out on:
Improved blood pressure
Enhanced athletic abilities
Revved sexual performance
Your goal this week
Three doses per day on an empty stomach with a side of vitamin C. Run, don’t walk. Nothing says “come hither” like a bottle of grape seed extract on the bed side table. Here’s our favourite.
FOR THE NERDY: The not-so-brief run-down
🥇Motivation Station 🏃♀️
PUT IT IN WRITING
We hardly need to convince you that practicing gratitude is worthwhile.
It’s one of the easiest things you can do to instantly improve mental health and best of all, it’s free.
But according to a recent study out of The University of Chicago, many people underestimate its power, specifically when it comes to writing thank you cards.
It goes both ways
Researchers asked participants to write simple thank you notes.
Before the letters hit the post, they stepped in and gauged how participants expected the recipient would respond.
They later queried those on the receiving end to find out how they felt upon reading the cards.
The study revealed a consistent disparity between the senders’ expectations and recipients’ responses.
It confirmed researchers’ suspicions: Most people don’t understand the gravity of gratitude so they opt out of writing cards.
Why not write?
Apparently people were anxious about expressing their feelings or writing a shoddy note.
“Saying thanks can improve somebody’s own happiness, and it can improve the well-being of another person as well — even more than we anticipate,” says study co-author Amit Kumar. “If both parties are benefitting from [written thank you notes,] I think that’s the type of action we should be pursuing more often in our everyday lives.”
He makes a valid point. Why let self-consciousness get in the way of saying thanks, especially when it robs both parties of significant well-being?
Jot it down
Consider this your official reminder to block out time for writing those remaining holiday thank-you cards.
Your documented gratitude will not only boost your well-being—it will psychologically bless the person on the other end too.
These ought to impress.
FOR THE NERDY: Read the complete study
☔ Make It Brain
The war on memory is perhaps the next inconvenient truth. Deteriorating cognitive function is serious business.
And for some, cognitive decline is literally business. Early adopters are waking up to the wisdom of investing in their brain health. Now the demand for supplements is growing.
Good news: There are plenty awesome ways to exercise your mind without spending a penny too.
Here are a few of our favourite tricks.
Enhance your memory by absorbing information directly before or after a cardiovascular workout. Watch the clock though. If you wait longer than one hour, the benefits wane.
Consume new information by connecting ideas to things you already know. Think Sherlock’s mind palace. By storing incoming data in “rooms” with similar info, your brain will locate details faster than you can say “where’s my trench coat and awkward hat, Watson?”
We’re not saying supplements aren’t worth it. They definitely are.
In fact, we’ll be dropping a few big announcements this spring and you’ll be the first to know.
We’re just saying that with a little extra effort, you can also start taking back your sanity without dropping any coin.
FOR THE NERDY: More hacks live here.
What We Love This Week
🎧 Prince William plans to address the world’s biggest mental health disorder next week’s World Economic Forum. Here’s why.
📖 A loneliness pill? Really? What will they think of next?
📽 Sam Harris interviews Johann Hari, the author of Lost Connections, my favourite book from 2018. If you don’t have time to read his masterpiece, make time for this instead.
You’re talking. We’re listening.
“Dawn on Sunday morning is a refreshing, optimistic, and lighthearted way to start my day off. Full of practical advice and quirky, quick-to-implement practices for a more productive week ahead.”
- Jess Butcher MBE, Co-Founder of Tick and Blippar
“Short, sweet, positive, and fresh. You guys are making my Sunday mornings. Love it!"
- Joshua Uwadiae, Founder of WeGym
That's it for now. Go train your brain, embrace some analog gratitude, and ingest at least a dozen doses of grape seed extract before next week's dispatch.
PS. Wanna give the gift of Brain Food? Forward this to a friend.