Healthy habits: when having an office job and juggling the never-ending to do list with taking care of your own physical and mental health, life hacks are very welcome. They are simple discoveries that make our lives easier. This blog contains four health habits by world know geniuses explained by modern scientific research.
To freeze or be frozen
Benjamin Franklin (1705-1790) an American politician en scientist liked to take open air baths. Every morning, he would sit completely naked in front of a wide-open window for 30 to 60 minutes without moving. Even with freezing outdoor temperatures. He also enjoyed cold water. And took regular plunges into the freezing Thames when living in London. Benjamin was convinced that the cold gave the brain a healthy boost. Which is scientifically proven, years later.
The ice method
A short, cold plunge or shower, gives your brain a boost. The sudden exposure to freezing cold releases substances like endorphins and noradrenalin in the brain. These substances increase alertness, which in turn improves focus and memory. Scientific studies done in 1999, 2004 and 2011 confirm that a daily cold plunge benefits the brains and influences the sympathetic nervous and immune system.
Wim Hof, a Dutch extreme athlete, got the nickname “The Iceman” by breaking a number of records related to cold exposure including 26 Guinness World Records. Wim has made it his mission to share what he’s learned with the rest of the world. And so he developed the Wim Hof Method: a combination of breathing, cold therapy and commitment that offers a range of health benefits. Experience the benefits of cold first hand with this free online mini course.
Walk of wisdom
Charles Darwin (1809-1882) a British naturalist and the mastermind behind the theory of evolution, would stroll endlessly once or twice a day in the country side. And preferably alone. It was his way of circuiting his wisdom and come up with original ideas. Professor of neuropsychology Erik Scherder states that this form of exercise is vital in keeping the brain healthy and improves brainpower.
The brainpower engine
In his book, Erik Scherder described how lengthy hikes can improve the function of the neural circuits connecting two brain regions. According to Scherder, this circuit is the basis of wisdom. He writes that exercises is important for reconsidering our emotions, self-reflections and empathy. In addition, it increases blood circulation in the brain, which improves brainpower. In this video Erik explains (in Dutch) the effects of walking on the brain.
The snooze button
Albert Einstein (1879-1955), the German-Swiss-American physicist came up with the relativity theory and a remarkable snoozing technique using an comfortable armchair, a metal plate and something that makes noise when it hits the metal plate. Like keys.
The idea is that the key hits the metal plate as soon as you reach the second phase of sleep. In this phase you lose control of your body and drop everything you’re holding, bringing you right back to consciousness. Einstein believed these powernaps improved the functionality of the brain and with that productivity.
Let me sleep on it
Several studies indicate that intellectual ability improves after napping for less than 30 minutes. It could even improve brain function in people who are well-rested. Logical reasoning, attention and memory improve. A study from 2018 demonstrates that a nap right before an exam works even better than revisiting the subject matter. The perfect nap only lasts about 20 minutes. The longer your are out, the more difficult it is to wake up without feeling sleepy. This video explains the scientific power of naps.
Founder of Apple, one of the most successful tech companies in the world, Steve Jobs (1955-2011), had a Zen meditation habit which he practiced daily. This form of mindfulness mediation, focuses on awareness of all stimuli and your automatic responses to them. Jobs was convinced that with meditation a higher insight on intrinsic motivation was gained, enabling behavioral change. Recent study show many positive effects.
Mindfulness meditation is found to improve focus, information processing speed and creativity. In recent years, much neuroscientific research has been conducted to map the effects of meditation on the brain. Regular meditation has an additional advantage, namely the development of neuroplasticity. That’s the brain’s ability to repair, renew and restructure itself so that you learn new skills faster. Experience the benefits of meditation and try this free online meditation of four minutes.
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