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Monday, 25 February 2019

6 Ways to Increase Grey Matter in Your Brain

As you age, the grey matter volume in your brain decreases. This results in memory problems and poor decision making.
Grey matter is a grey tissue found in your brain and spinal cord. It’s responsible for hearing, memory, seeing, emotions, impulse control, speech and executive functions. You can prevent memory loss as you age by increasing grey matter volume in your brain.
Growing older doesn’t have to mean your grey matter volume has to drop. These are some ways that you can increase grey matter in your brain as you age.

1. JUGGLING

I bet your friends will be impressed to see you juggle apples. What they may not realize is that your new skill is actually good for your brain.
Juggling improves hand-eye coordination and increases grey matter in your brain. This study found that juggling three balls for three months increased grey matter by three percent. However, when the participants stopped juggling for another three months, scans showed they lost half of the grey matter they had gained. Therefore, you have to juggle long term in order to get optimal benefits.
The best part is you don’t have to be an exceptional juggler to enjoy the benefits. Your grey matter will increase as long as you practice. 

2. PRACTICE MEDITATION

You may know that meditation causes physical changes in your brain. One of these changes is an increase in grey matter volume.
According to research, meditating for around 27 minutes a day for eight weeks can increase grey matter in parts of your brain and reduce grey matter in the amygdala, making you less prone to anxiety.
Study participants practiced mindfulness meditation, but other forms of mediation, such as transcendental meditation, can also increase grey matter in your brain.

3. TAI CHI

You’ve heard me advocate for tai chi because of its many health benefits, but I may not have mentioned that this gentle martial art increases grey matter.
A study involving older adults found that practicing tai chi and Baduanjin improved visual reproduction subscores and memory quotient, which were associated in increased grey matter volume in the hippocampus and putamen.

4. PLAY VIDEO GAMES

If you consider video games a waste of time, you may change your opinion after learning that they may increase your grey matter. When researchers compared the brains of gamers with non-gamers through MRI scans, they found that gamers had more grey matter and better brain connectivity.
Clearly, playing video games won’t harm your intelligence, like some people suggest. They can help you learn faster and improve your decision-making skills.

5. PRACTICE YOGA

Do you struggle with chronic pain? Practicing yoga can help ease the pain, since it has been shown to increase grey matter in parts of your brain involved in pain modulation. Yoga increases grey matter in other parts of the brain as well.
As you would expect, those who have practiced yoga for years have more grey matter, but don’t let that discourage you if you’re a beginner. If you’re consistent, you’ll start reaping the benefits in no time. 

6. REGULAR EXERCISE

One study found that regular aerobic exercise can increase hippocampal volume and improve cognitive function in children and adults.
It’s worth noting that there’s a correlation between total minutes of weekly exercise and grey matter volume. The more you exercise the better.

HABITS THAT REDUCE GREY MATTER IN YOUR BRAIN

Now that you know how to increase grey matter, avoid habits that may reduce it like:
  • burying your emotions
  • media multitasking
  • smoking
  • unchecked chronic stress
  • excessive screen time

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