I started having seizures at around the age of 5. The kind of seizures you see in the movies: fall-flat-on-the-ground-shaking-like-you're-electrocuted-eyes-rolling-to-the-top-of-your-head-seizures. These kind of seizures are now called tonic-clonic seizures but when I was a little girl, they were called "grand mal" seizures, which means "the big bad." Perhaps they changed the name because calling something "the big bad" isn't very hopeful for patients. No one is really sure why I started to have these, but it made me curious at an early age to figure out how this mushy mass inside our skull works.
I started to study neuroscience after I had an EEG (electroencephalogram) at around the age of 11. They stuck hundreds of little wires with glue-like substance onto my scalp. I looked like an alien child from the sci-fi novel Dune--but it led me to wonder: What are they measuring? Why? and How can I control these things called brain waves and electrical pulses? As you can imagine, it's scary to have one of those death-like seizures and thinking you have no control over them. That's when science became my savior. I later discovered that these seizures could possibly be controlled without mind-numbing-zombie-behavior-inducing-medication. At age 15, without my Doctor's or parent's knowledge, I stopped taking that medication and haven't been on it since.
Along the way to earming my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, participating in neuroscientific studies, and working at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute, I learned how we can all expand the capacity of our brain not only to self-heal, but also to grow in ways we never imagined were possible.
So, for you, I've gathered my 5 top habits for neurological growth. These habits have eliminated these kind of seizures for me. I still need to be careful. Good habits, if broken, will indeed have consequences, but in the last 25 years, I've only had 2 tonic-clonic seizures. For you, these habits will reduce your stress significantly, increase your brain's grey matter, tap into your unconscious mind for problem solving, and produce incredible potential.
Here are 5 Daily Habits that you can incorporate starting today:
1. Sleep to Reduce Stress. Ever wonder what happens to all of the stress we accumulate during the day? That car that almost hit you and your heart flew into your chest? Your child screaming at you? Even the unconscious stress of self-judsement? Where does it go? Our beautiful brains collect it and save it for when you dream to process away. Let me repeat: when you sleep, you process stress and trauma. So, one of the simplest and most effective things you can do is to get your full 7-9 hours of shut eye each and every day.
2. Rise With the Sun. Your brain uses a cluster of nerve cells called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, located in your hypothalamus to regulate something called “circadian rhythm.” Circadian rhythm is the “master clock” in your brain which syncs all your body’s clocks. Abnormal circadian rhythm is associated with obesity, diabetes, depression, sleep disorders, hormone disregulation, bipolar disorder and seasonal affective disorder. In other words, wake up when the sun does--no more sleeping in! If you are a parent this habit will come naturally as most kids naturally wake with the sun and are happy to be your alarm clock.
3. Take Fish Oil. Nothing beats this. My kids go for the hard-core fermented cod liver stuff and somehow we've apparently cemented this into them so well over the years that they ask for it daily although it tastes awful! They take it by the spoonful but you can also get it in capsule form, which has a pleasant lemon aftertaste.
4. Meditate AND MindFocus. Meditation taps into your subconscious mind (just below consciousness) and has innumerable neurological benefits. Want an easy way to meditate? www.headspace.com. MindFocus goes deeper into the unconscious mind to help you achieve goals subconsciously. Easy way to tap into your unconscious? www.myMindFocus.com.
5. Make Yourself Uncomfortable. Your brain needs novelty to grow. How do you know when you're doing something that's "new enough"? It feels uncomfortable, awkward, weird, strange, or it scares you. By doing things daily that are out of our comfort zone, we allow our brain to develop new branches on it's neuron tree (also called denrtidic pathways) instead of shriveling up into a sad dried out tree stump.
Truth be told, I could write a book on this and I live my entire life around this premise. There are many more habits I'd like to see you develop. After all, can you imagine how incredible it would be if we all lived to our potential? For more tips, register with me: http://bit.ly/1wSNIGf