Dr. J speaks with the authors of STAYING SHARP: 9 Keys for a Youthful Brain through Modern Science and Ageless Wisdom. Henry Emmons, MD & David Alter, PhD have collaborated in this astounding guide to keeping our minds fit. Each doctor has more than thirty years of experience in the fields of psychiatry and neuroscience.
Doctors Emmons and Alter unite the latest, most relevant scientific research with ageless wisdom concerning resilience, mindfulness, and stress reduction—translating the findings of brain science into an accessible collection of remedies and practices—their 9 Keys of Brain Health.
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A VIBRANT MIND - YOUTHFUL BRAIN IS...
#1 Active: Staying in motion makes the brain bigger, stronger, and faster while protecting against harmful effects of stress. Exercise and moving the body mindfully (yoga is great for this!) improves brain health, energy, and emotional resilience.
#2 Rested: Sleep is among the most powerful means to promote mood, memory, and healing. Sleep problems, although more common as we age, are preventable. The mind can be recharged through safe and natural mind-body approaches, including accessible self-hypnosis.
#3 Nourished: Nutrition has a vital impact on brain health. A brain-supporting approach to diet encompasses whole and plant-based foods, healthy fats, fiber, probiotics, and emphasizes nutritional diversity to nourish and protect the mind.
#4 Curious: Novelty, play, and wonder act as potent brain “fertilizers” that reboot the brain, keeping it fresh and vital by balancing knowledge with a desire to know more. People who remain curious and open to new experience tend to lead longer, healthier, and more fulfilling lives.
#5 Flexible: Neuroplasticity is the brain’s amazing ability to rewire in the face of new experiences. Learning to adapt and respond more flexibly to change, through meditation and other means, allows people to thrive despite the challenges faced in the second half of life.
#6 Optimistic: Higher levels of optimism lead to measurable physical and mental health benefits. Cultivating the inner quality of optimism supports greater resilience against age-related challenges and set-backs.
#7 Empathic: Our brains are wired to be compassionate and generous. Practicing empathy skills regulates one’s own mind and behavior, promotes contentment, calmness, and satisfaction—and influences the brains of those with whom we interact.
#8 Connected: It is important to connect meaningfully with others and develop a sense of belonging in the world. Mental and physical health depends on how well social connections provide meaning, purpose, and direction.
#9 Authentic: The true self may be found in all of life’s experiences—triumphs and failures. By discovering one’s true self through awareness, honesty, and discernment, we become fully embodied authentic individuals. Learn to stop “wearing other people’s faces” or living out others’ expectations to simply please them.
Filled with easy to understand theories and practical exercises, STAYING SHARP provides readers with a blueprint to live more joyfully, age more gracefully, and build more intimate relationships—regardless of age.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
HENRY EMMONS, MD, is a psychiatrist who integrates mind-body and natural therapies, mindfulness and compassion practices, into his clinical work in Minneapolis with Partners in Resilience. He is also the author of The Chemistry of Joy and The Chemistry of Calm, and is a popular workshop and retreat leader for both healthcare professionals and the general public.
DAVID ALTER, PHD, is a psychologist with thirty years’ experience in health psychology, neuropsychology, and clinical hypnosis, which he integrates in his work. He is also a sought-after speaker, teacher, and trainer offering talks, workshops, and retreats to general and professional audiences. He is a cofounder of Partners in Healing, a center for holistic health in Minneapolis, and conducts his practice there.
“Reliable information on how to minimize cognitive decline with age…I highly recommend.”
—JANE BRODY, THE NEW YORK TIMES