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How To Grow Your Brain And Change Your Genes

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What if there is actually a way to grow your brain, alter your genetics, and make
stress a thing of the past?
Neuroscientists in recent years have discovered something called neuroplasticity
which basically says the brain can change and grow various regions in response
to stimulus. But like a muscle, the brain is a “use it or lose it” sort of organ. The
benefit for fitness is that the brain can be trained to make the body more resilient
to stress and therefore potentially improve health and appearance.
With regards to genetics, we’ve also discovered in recent years the phenomena of
epigenetics. While you can’t change your actual genetic code, environmental
factors like diet, toxic exposure, and all the various stressors can determine
which genes “turn on and off” so to speak. That means you’re not doomed to get
a disease or suffer an ailment just because it runs in your family.
Learn about epigenetics here:
What’s most exciting is that research shows not only how we can prevent aging
and disease, but actually turn on genes associated with good health to counteract
the damaging effects of one’s environment. This tip and the following are
designed to create a beneficial change in your epigenetics.
The first technique is good old mindfulness meditation which now has numerous
scientific studies showing the benefits for reducing stress as well as altering the
brain, genes, and behavior. Note: There is another way to influence epigenetic
expression that I talk about later in this book. This is covered in the supplement
section regarding methyl donors.
The simplest meditation is a breathing mindfulness meditation where you:
Sit in a relaxed upright position with your spine straight and feet flat on the
floor. Alternatively, if you’re comfortable in a seated meditation position
you may do that.
Start to focus on your breathing in and out. No need to change your
breathing, just observe it.
If it helps you relax, you can mentally “scan” your body head to toe
relaxing each part.
Continue this for 1-15 minutes (start with just a few minutes daily), or as
long as comfortable.
As you get more proficient in being able to focus only on your breath
during meditation, you may begin to simply observe your thoughts coming
and going. Rather than “fighting” any thoughts, simply watch them occur
and pass through your awareness. It can help to think of yourself not as
“me” or “my thoughts,” but as an overall awareness of those things.
While the purpose of meditation isn’t necessarily to try to stop thoughts but
rather “observe” them, if you really want to quiet your mind, you may
mentally make the effort to “watch for” the next thought that is going to
occur. Ironically, the more you try to watch for the next thought to arise, the
less thoughts seem to come until your mind becomes quiet and still.
Even though meditation is an active process, don’t worry about “screwing it up”
and remember as long as you do it regularly, even if your mind wanders a lot at
first, you’ll start to get better.
Here are some more resources from Zen Habits on how to meditate and make it
part of your life:
As a bonus, for those interested in growing parts of the brain associated with
developing a higher IQ and other mental benefits, check out this article and free

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