Most of us go through our lives — working, playing, eating, socializing — without giving much thought to how our actions affect our bodies. We might notice that we develop a headache after a rough day at the office, or that we put on weight after too many heavy meals, or that we tend to catch colds more often if we don’t get enough rest. But while it’s easy to make the connection between our daily habits and physical symptoms, what we often don’t realize is how our lifestyles affect our brains.
The brain is an amazing organ composed of billions of cells that send signals from head to toe. It controls everything from basic functions like breathing and heartbeat to the way we react to pleasure and pain to our ability to remember both complex mathematical equations and a simple grocery list.
To learn more about how our life habits affect the brain, The Mind Health Report consulted Larry Momaya, M.D., a board-certified psychiatrist specializing in holistic psychiatry. For the last eight years, he has been practicing at the Amen Clinics, Inc., a group of centers in three states that is dedicated to “optimizing the brain-life connection.” According to Dr. Momaya, some loss of brain size and function is normal as we age. However, many of us speed the process through self-destructive habits that affect not only our mood and health, but also the very way the brain functions.
Following is a list of some of the most common everyday habits people engage in that can cause harm to their brains: