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HOW TO LOVE YOUR BRAIN

Kellie Eason, IBCLC. BHSc. (Nursing), Post. Grad. Dip in Midwifery

MILK...early parenting support


Human brain function for mental wellness
Human brain

Am loving what I'm learning from Dr. Daniel Amen, Psychiatrist who takes a wholistic approach to empowering others about their own mental health.


It is so important to love your brain and treat it as though you would any other organ of your body.


Just to give you a bit of a background, traditional Psychiatry diagnoses mental health issues via the DSM-5 Criteria (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) and will often prescribe psychoactive medications. Traditional Psychiatry unfortunately does not do diagnostic brain testing.


Dr. Amen goes the next step further - he has pioneered SPECT Scanning to aid mental health diagnosis. His database includes over 200,000 scans he has studied, belonging to patients he has successfully treated. SPECT Scanning assesses blood flow as well as damage to specific areas of the brain. Dr. Amen's techniques have given rise to greater accuracy and success in the treatment of mental health disorders. His major focus is on Mental Health and Wellness from a Holistic approach which primarily utilises lifestyle adjustments as well as supplements, using psychoactive drugs as an absolute last approach.


As it turns out, he is Psychiatrist to celebrities Justin Bieber, Megan Trainer and Miley Cyrus' and I highly encourage you to check out his work with them in addressing their mental health & wellness concerns - it's really interesting!


So I thought I would share a bit of what I have learned with you!


Dr. Amen encourages us to 'LOVE YOUR BRAIN'.

There are steps that we can all make to our lives to prevent mental health issues, brain disease as well as cognitive decline and here are some of them:


1. GET 7-9 HOURS QUALITY SLEEP PER NIGHT

Adequate sleep and rest is important for decision making, attention, memory and problem solving, all of which are critical for parenting. Even though it can be difficult to achieve a solid night's sleep with young children, it's even more important to be mindful that you need to rest at each opportunity.


2. EAT A BRAIN HEALTHY DIET

Adequate omega-3 fatty acid intake via fish/fish oil supplements may promote healthy emotional balance. Drinking enough water is critical as your brain is 80% water and slight dehydration can raise your stress hormones, which can damage your brain over time. Antioxidants can also significantly reduce the risk of cognitive impairment. Foods high in antioxidants include blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, spinach, raspberries, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, beets, avocado and kiwi fruit - so why not add these to your diet?


3. EXERCISE YOUR BRAIN FOR 15 MINUTES/DAY

Your brain is a muscle, the more often you use it, the stronger it gets due to improved blood flow. Reading, learning a new hobby, meditating and playing games are ideas that you can use to integrate into your day


4. MAINTAIN GOOD BLOOD FLOW THROUGH YOUR BODY

Get at least 30 mins exercise in daily. Avoid caffeine, cigarette smoke, marijuana, alcohol as these reduce blood flow throughout your body


5. STAY SOCIALLY CONNECTED

We are constantly activating our brains when we are socialising through talking, listening & learning. Loneliness, on the other hand, can lead to depression, anxiety and even addictions. The damage associated with being lonely has actually been found to be equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day!


6. MAINTAIN HEALTHY ORAL CARE

Poor oral health (ie. losing teeth, needing dentures, cavities) contributes to a 24% increased damage to brain architecture. So don't forget to brush twice daily and floss daily because you need to love your brain.


7. PROTECT YOUR HEAD FROM INJURY

While your skull is thick and hard, your brain is actually soft and 'jelly-like'. All it takes is for one injury to cause severe brain damage. Protect your head from an injury such as wearing a helmet, wearing a seatbelt and staying away from contact-heavy sports. Emotional trauma, long term stress, anxiety and depression also impacts our brain, leaving long-lasting effects, so speaking with a licensed Counsellor or Psychologist to work through trauma can help to heal your brain over time.


8. LOVE YOUR BRAIN

Dr. Amen has shared that he first started caring about his brain when he did a scan of it and saw it for the first time. It took actually seeing his brain for him to finally start taking care of it, which is why he encourages us to as well.


We don't have the luxury of accessing our own SPECT scans, so we don't have the opportunity to see how our life challenges have impacted our brain. We the opportunity to make great lifelong lasting changes now, so why not love your brain and implement these tips into your life so they are routine?


As a consumer and professional, I am a huge advocate for supporting Integrative Medical care.

Optimal health, wellness and supporting our own mental health is more important than ever!



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Hi, thanks for stopping by!

At MILK early parenting support, I strive to be your go-to source for all your parenting needs – from pre-birth to post-birth. I'm a passionate and experienced International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). I love empowering expectant and new parents with all the knowledge and support they need to make the right decisions for their family.

Whether it’s helping you find the best feeding and sleeping strategies, or ensuring that your baby is getting the nutrition they need for optimal growth, I'm here to make sure that you and your baby get the best start in life.

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