LWR #8

17-23 January

Make brain-care your priority for 2017 ! Instead of focusing on too many, too expensive and time-consuming new year resolutions, let’s focus on a single one, our brain health.

“1. Practice positive, action-oriented thoughts until they become your default mindset and you look forward to creating something mindful and beautiful every new day. Too much stress and anxiety–induced by external events or by your own thoughts–can kill neurons and prevent the creation of new ones.

2. Thrive on Learning. The point of having a brain is to learn and to adapt to challenging new environments. Once new neurons appear in your brain, where they migrate and how long they survive depends on how you use them. “Use It or Lose It” does not mean “do crossword puzzle number 1,234,567.” It means, “challenge your brain, and often, with novel activities.”

3. Learn more about the “It” in “Use It or Lose It.” A basic understanding will serve you well to appreciate your brain’s beauty as a living and constantly-developing dense forest with billions of neurons and synapses.

4. OK, remember that the brain is part of the body. Things that exercise your body can also help sharpen your brain: cardiovascular exercise enhances the creation of new neurons (neurogenesis), at any age!

5. Take care of your nutrition. Did you know that the brain only weighs 2% of body mass but consumes over 20% of the oxygen and nutrients we intake? As a general rule, you don’t need expensive ultra-sophisticated nutritional supplements, just make sure you don’t stuff yourself with the “bad stuff.”

6. We are, as far as we know, the only self-directed organisms in this planet. Aim high. Once you graduate from college, keep learning. Once you become too comfortable in one job, find a new one. The brain keeps developing ALWAYS, reflecting what you do with it.

7. Explore, travel. Adapting to new locations forces you to pay more attention to your environment. Make new decisions, use your brain.

8. Don’t Outsource Your Brain. Not to media personalities, not to politicians, not to your smart neighbour… Make your own decisions, and your own mistakes. That way, you are training your brain, not your neighbor’s.

9. Develop and maintain stimulating friendships. We need social interaction for resilience and mutual support.

10. Laugh. Often. Especially to complex humor, full of twists and surprises, helping keep things in perspective.”

Those are 10 ways to do it, proposed by Alvaro Fernandez. Let’s take care of our brains, and all the rest will follow 🙂 …as for me, number 1 and 2 will be the priority. Even though I really like to find myself in new situations and environments, and learn new things, I tend too often to let fear and insecurity to prevail, ending up feeling anxious and well.. like crap. It’s time to stop and enjoy every bit of what comes !

It happened. Donald Trump started his mandate as president of the United States. Politico (Annie Karni) proposes a short analysis of the five main takeaways of his inaugural speech, that took place on the 20th of January in Washinton. Speech in which he managed to accidentally cite Main, Batman evil enemy


and add a few culture-charged words to the history of presidential inaugural addresses


(credit to Francesco Costa, taken from his newsletter. That I love.)

Good vs Bad Selfishness, The Book of Life. Being labelled as selfish by the ones around us, is the one of the last things we want for ourselves. Is selfishness always that bad though?

“…we collectively fail to distinguish between good and bad versions of selfishness. The good, desirable kind involves the courage to give priority to ourselves and our concerns at particular points; the confidence to be forthright about our needs, not in order to harm or conclusively reject other people, but in order to serve them in a deeper, more sustained and committed way over the long term. Bad selfishness, on the other hand, operates with no greater end in view and with no higher motive in mind. We’re not declining to help so as to marshal our resources to offer others a greater gift down the line; we just can’t be bothered.

Unfortunately, afflicted by confusion about this distinction, we frequently fail to state our needs as clearly as we should, with disastrous results precisely for those we’re meant to serve.”

Resonating with the saying “you cannot serve from an empty vessel”*, the minds behind The School of Life invites us to be attentive to our own needs and to take space for ourselves, because even though this might be judged harshly by our loved ones, it is what ultimately lead us to be our better selves and serve them the way they deserve.

*I don’t really know from where this expression originates. By quickly googling it I found out it is attributed to writer and life-coach Eleonor Brown. But I don’t know anything more about her or the context it was written in and so on and so forth. And I am actually too bored to dig deeper :P. Though, I have heard  and read it multiple times in yogic contexts.