What is BDNF – Technically it is brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a powerful little protein that stimulates your production of new brain cells and strengthens existing ones.
More specifically, when you release BDNF, it flips the switch on a series of genes that grow brand new brain cells and pathways.
High BDNF makes you learn faster, remember better, age slower and rewire your brain quickly.
It also increases your brain’s plasticity. When your brain cells get damaged or face a stressful situation, BDNF protects them and helps them come back stronger.
With a few daily habits, you can set your brain up to release more BDNF keeping it resilient and helping it grow stronger.
Strength Training Not effective long term. Swimming, fast-paced yoga or any sport that raises your heart rate.
DEEP SLEEP: You release BDNF during the deeper stages of sleep. Which is about ½ the night which is deep restorative sleep.
MEDITATION: Stress is toxic to BDNF. Meditation increases your BDNF specifically strengthening areas of the brain that have to do with pain, memory, emotional control and attention.
If you have never meditated, start with 5 minutes every morning. Consistency is important. Counting backwards
PSYCHEDELICS: Mushrooms, acid increase BDNF. That could explain why there are so many studies about psychedelic-assisted therapy that help with depression. The theory is that it allows your brain to rapidly rewire.
My daughter was married to a fellow from France and they came to visit.
We are sitting at the table and he wanted to smoke hash. Sure. He said do you want to try it. Now I had never done drugs so when I took a hit, it went right to my brain WHOA!
I can certainly see why that would rewire your brain. Not so sure it was positive in my case.
This is not recommended as a therapy;
HYPOXIA: Depriving your brain of oxygen instantly triggers BDNF; Breathing Wim Hof; 30 breaths mouth or nose; decreases your carbon dioxide. Not recommended; unless you are into kinky.
SUNLIGHT Sun exposure increases BDNF
WHAT BLOCKS BDNF?
Stress: Stress is the biggest BDNF inhibitor. Any stimuli that taxes your biology. Learn to manage stress.
Sugar: Eating sugar directly curbs BDNF and links to cognitive decline in humans.
Social Isolation: Lack of mental stimulation; Social isolation contributes to depression which decreases BDNF
One of my favorite is using Gratitude to rewire your brain. It literally rewires your brain.
The clinical definition of gratitude is “the appreciation of what is valuable and meaningful to oneself. Thankfulness?
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