Step into the New Year with a smile

Being happy is almost a universal goal for everyone. Why not start 2014 off on the right note – with a big smile?

Majid Fotuhi, MD, PhD and author of Boost Your Brain: The New Art and Science Behind Enhanced Brain Performance has nine brain health tips to help you be happy:

  1. Get a check up. Getting any long-standing health conditions under control can help increase your brain’s ability to bounce back from negativity.
  2. Check your medications. Often times, medications can have side affects that negatively affect your mood by giving you brain fog or mood changes. It is a good idea to review your medication list with your doctor to ensure they are not interfering with your brain function or health.
  3. Sleep. It is well known how a good night’s rest can truly help you feel more alert and ready to face a day with a smile. Give yourself the opportunity to get in a good night’s sleep every day to feel happier during your waking hours.
  4. Get moving. Exercise pumps oxygen to your brain, which can help improve your mood. Start small if you haven’t exercised before by walking for five minutes a day for four days, then add two minutes every other day until you’re walking 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
  5. Get connected. Social isolation can lead to depression, so surround yourself with positive people and activities to help increase happiness. Even a phone call or video chat with loved ones can bring a smile to your face.
  6. Eat well and take DHA. Add DHA omega-3 into your diet. It is found in fatty fish and supplements like BrainStrong and has been shown to improve brain function (MIDAS study).
  7. De-stress. Easier said than done, but try to reduce your daily stress with my 7-7-7 breathing exercise: close your eyes and breathe in while counting to seven, hold your breath and count to seven, then breathe out while counting to seven. And repeat.
  8. Get thinking. Use your brain in interesting ways by performing complex mental tasks. Start small with something as simple as memorizing your grocery list instead of brining a piece of paper to the store. Build up to something big like learning the names of all the U.S. presidents in order.

What are you going to do to put a smile on your face everyday?

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