Brain reserve is the extra brain tissue or function you have available to deal with whatever stress comes your way. Have you ever wondered why one person can walk away from a car accident and seem to have no negative effect, while another person’s life is devastated? It has to do with the health of the brain they brought into the accident.
I coined the term brain reserve to describe the extra brain tissue and function you have to deal with whatever stresses come your way. Even before you were conceived, your parents’ habits were laying the foundation for your overall physical, mental, and brain health. At conception, your brain had amazing potential for brain reserve. However, if your mom smoked, drank too much, ate junk food, or had infections during the pregnancy, she depleted your reserve even before you were born. If, on the other hand, your mom ate nutritious foods, took prenatal vitamins, and was not overly stressed, she was contributing to a boost in your reserve.
After birth and every day since, you continued to increase or decrease brain reserve by your habits, opportunities, BRIGHT MINDS risk factors, diet, and stresses.
Imagine two soldiers in the same Humvee that drives over an explosive. They both get ejected from the vehicle at the same time, same forces and angles. One walks away unharmed; the other winds up with cognitive impairment, PTSD, and anxiety. How could that be? It all depends on how much brain reserve each soldier had before the explosion. Yes, the blast hurt both of their reserves, but one soldier had more to carry him through a traumatic event than the other soldier did, who was much more at risk for serious brain health issues.
To boost your brain reserve, you need to follow three simple strategies:
- Love your brain (you have to really care about your brain).
- Avoid the things that hurt your brain.
- Do the things that help your brain.
Today’s Practice: List 3 things you do that steal your brain’s reserve and 3 things you do to build your reserve.
In Change Your Brain Every Day, psychiatrist and clinical neuroscientist Daniel Amen, MD, draws on over 40 years of clinical practice with tens of thousands of patients to give you the most effective daily habits he has seen that can help you improve your brain, master your mind, boost your memory, and make you feel happier, healthier, and more connected to those you love.
If you want to join the tens of thousands of patients at Amen Clinics who have already learned how to change their brain every day and have a better life, speak to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.