Brain Rules is a book written by John Medina where he goes through 12 principles called brain rules describing how our brain works and how to improve our life based on those principles. John is a molecular biologist who spent his whole life studying how the brain works, and in the book he shares what scientists know for sure about the human brain.
In this article I want to share five powerful lessons I’ve learnt from Brain Rules. Most of them are common sense for many people, yet they are rarely applied in our everyday life.
- Exercise. Everyone knows that exercise is good for our body, but few know it’s good for our brain too. Cardio exercises are extremely healthy because they improve our cardio-vascular system which in turn helps the oxygen to flow in our body. Many studies have shown that exercise is good for preventing aging and common diseases, but also brain performance. The good news is that it doesn’t matter how old you are and if you haven’t exercised regularly until now, as our body can easily adapt and you can see dramatic improvements by starting to exercise regularly now.
- Repeat. If you want to remember something, all you have to do is repeat it. Repeating helps both on remembering new information, but also in integrating new habits. When you are doing something new, your brain doesn’t know how to do it, so it seems un-natural at first for you to do it, but when you keep repeating it for some time, your brain will eventually store your movements and actions into long-term memory, and it’ll become easier and easier for you to do the same thing was previously resulting difficult to do.
- Sleep well. It’s amazing how bad most people sleep. Sleep is essential for our brain to process information, and some studies have shown that by cutting sleep to less than 7 hours per day, your cognitive performance can drop from the top 10% to the bottom 10%. 7 to 8 hours of sleep per day, plus an afternoon nap are the amount of sleep needed by most people. A study at nasa has shown that an afternoon nap of 26 minutes can increase performance of 34%.
- Integrate all senses. It’s true that sight is the sense that we use the most, but all the other senses are equally important. When you use more than one sense, you are accelerating your learning process because your brain can capture information from multiple sources, thus creating new connections in your brain. Multi-sensoring has also been used in many businesses, especially with smell, to recreate particular emotions when needed (think of coffee smell).
- Be Curious. Curiosity is the most important thing when it comes to learning. When you are a child, you learn new things because you are curios to see how everything works. You don’t just read the instructions of a toy (chances are you can’t even read), but instead you try to do everything you can think of with your toy. We can learn from children and apply the lesson in our everyday life. When we want to learn something new, we don’t just have to read the manual, but we should also experiment and interact directly with what we are learning if we really want to grasp the subject.
There’s still a lot to learn about how our brain works, but we can apply what we already know to improve the quality of our life. unfortunately most of these basic principles are not known by the people who are supposed to be teaching us, so it’s up to us to learn and apply them.
If you are interested, the book also talks about stress, memory, gender, wiring, attention, and more.-->
I love number 3 - sleep well. I can always tell if I have slept well by the way I feel when I wake up. This is a biggie folks and I bet we are all missing that one. And so I bid you a good night...now go get some sleep