Growing your brain, specifically your hippocampus, can mean big changes for your overall wellbeing. Originally thought to be in charge of memory and spacial awareness, we now know this region is also linked to complex emotional states. A smaller hippocampus has been linked to increased anxiety and depression. Having a larger hippocampus seems to correspond to greater feelings of safety and contentment.
The good news is that, if you happen to be someone with a smaller hippocampus, you are not doomed. As scientists gain a better understanding of neuroplasticity, they have recognized that specific actions and behaviors help grow new neurons in the brain and increase its size. The following are a few ways to promote neural genesis:
-Exercise: Are you surprised? Movement is medicine, and this is especially true when it comes to our brains. You don’t have to be a lifelong athlete to experience these benefits. When tested on previously sedentary individuals in their 60’s and 70’s, even a small increase in exercise was shown to have positive outcome.
-Enjoy Some Omega 3: Omega 3 fatty acids are the building blocks of brain cells. Adding flax, chia, or hemp seeds is an easy way to support brain health.
-Meditate: “Brain exercises”, such as meditation, have been shown to increase the size of the hippocampus.