Happy 25th Anniversary to Brain Awareness Week!
Three thoughts during these challenging weeks ahead in self-quarantine!
During this global crisis, we’re all experiencing, Brain Awareness Week, will celebrate 25 fantastic years of educating the world on the importance of brain science between March 16 – 22. Sadly, most will not be interested, many will be distracted, and the world will be in crisis and survival mode. Let’s all take a collective deep breath and try to not live in fear. Know that our brains are SO incredibly powerful that I believe we can heal the world with our collective brains and minds.
Started by the Dana Foundation, Brain Awareness Week encourages community organizations to run engaging programs that foster enthusiasm for brain-related research. It’s timely that Brain Awareness Week comes immediately after Sleep Awareness Week because brain health and sleep are intimately connected.
We often forget that our brains and sleep habits reinforce one another. When we sleep well, we allow our minds to rest, recover, and grow. During healthy sleep, our brains solidify memories and process complex problems. Cerebrospinal fluid also washes harmful proteins away that may lead to cognitive issues, like dementia and Alzheimer’s. Sleep is when our brains enter the hyper-development mode.
“The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office.” Robert Frost
On the other side of the coin, when our brains are healthy, we make better decisions during our waking hours. We’re more resilient to the emotional challenges of daily life and can handle stress with grace. We also manage our money more carefully and perform to the best of our abilities at our workplaces. As you know, when we feel in control over our lives, we sleep better!
Brain health and sleep quality form a positive feedback loop. One uplifts the other, on and on, enabling us to become the best and happiest versions of ourselves.
I want to inspire all of us to actively participate in both Brain Awareness Week and Sleep Awareness Week this year. Don’t let either slip through your fingers this time around – there are few things as important as your health.
Brain health and sleep play critical roles in promoting our overall well-being. They both help us get the most out of every day so that we can maximize joy and impact!
So, I wanted to share a few thoughts on how you can make the most out of both week-long celebrations this year.
Set your intention
As a personal energy and life transformation coach, I often remind my clients to set their intention before embarking on a journey, no matter how big or small. It’s incredibly important to determine what you’re trying to get from any experience.
Often times, we jump in and out of occasions like Brain Awareness Week without giving much thought to how it impacts us. We act as bystanders, assuming that the key lessons are meant for someone else.
Take a different approach this year. Set your intention on a particular goal related to brain health and be bold about what you are trying to accomplish:
Do you want to understand something specific about the brain?
Do you want to learn more about yourself and how you think?
Are you trying to change unhealthy thought patterns?
When you go into Brain Awareness Week with questions or goals, you are more likely to find answers. You will discover new insights, as well as internalize life-changing lessons.
See the bigger picture
It’s easy to slip into each of these week-long health celebrations without recognizing how they all fit together. For example, even though Brain Awareness Week and Sleep Awareness Week don’t overlap in their itineraries, they are related.
This March, try to see the bigger picture of how different aspects of health and lifestyle are all connected. You can’t maximize progress in one area if you are struggling in another. Your mind doesn’t work nearly as well on low sleep. Going into Brain Awareness Week sleep-deprived will only hurt your ability to pick up valuable learnings.
For those who are more ambitious, try to see what connections exist between Brain Awareness Week and other health weeks that are not explicitly discussed in this post. Consider how your brain, heart, kidneys, mental health, and other areas are all vital pieces in one ecosystem.
Bring a friend
Journeying with friends is often better than going at it alone. Although there is something to be said for independent, self-reflective adventures, education-oriented events are better when you can participate with someone else. I shared a similar idea related to getting the most out of Sleep Awareness Week.
Invite a friend to Brain Awareness Week events this year. Discuss openly, talk about what you like and don’t like, ask hard questions of one another. You’ll get so much more out of the experience if you can process with one or two other people.
If there are specific behavioural changes you want to institute in your life, ask your Brain Awareness Week buddy if he or she would be willing to act as an accountability partner for the next month. You are much more likely to achieve your goals if you do!
Follow these three tips and you’ll get more out of the experience than you ever imagined!
Want to talk specifically about the connection between brain health and sleep?