It's only fair to share…

There are various estimates as to how much of our brainpower we actually use. Some say 10% others as much as 30%. To be honest no body really knows but we can be certain that we do not use all the capacity that is there partly because we do not even know all the capacity that there is.

One of the fascinating areas of medicine is what is called mind-body medicine. Over the last 10 years or so more research is going into this area. A number of new fields have opened up. Psyconeuroendocrinology looks at the connections between our psyche, the nervous system and our hormones. Pyschoneuroimmunology looks at the connections between the psyche the nervous system and our immune system. For example it has long been observed that we are more likely to get a virus when we are stressed and in the future we may be able to explain exactly how this happens.

It is interesting to hear doctors knock the concept of mind body medicine. A quick look at the body will show that there is a connection between the two known as the neck. Separate the two via the neck and life ceases.

Yogis and monks have long understood the power of the mind. It has been claimed that some are able to control their pulse and blood pressure via mind power. This has felt to be beyond the capacity of the rest of us. Yet at the same time we also know that slowing the breathing will slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure.

It was great to see that an American Cardiologist has developed a series of breathing exercises to lower blood pressure. This is particularly being recommended for people experiencing stress (which is a fair few of us) but is applicable to everyone.

Like me, Dr John Kennedy says we have the power to change the way we respond to stress. Learning slow and controlled breathing techniques is not difficult. It requires no equipment and no special training. Doing something as simple as taking three slow deep breaths in and out when feeling stressed makes us feel more relaxed. Doing slow breathing for 15 minutes a day will change our physiology for the better.

This starts with the power of the mind to consciously change the way we breathe. In turn this affects our nervous system and our hormone system. The health benefits from applying this to pillar one of DIY Health (air and breathing) are considerable.

Meanwhile if we are going to harness more of our brainpower we need to be looking after the brain too. Some simple things that make a difference are eating berries (components in blueberries and strawberries help the brain clear itself of toxins) and going for a regular walk. Walking, apart from exercising the body has been shown to help enhance connections in the brain. The more connections in the brain the better we function. Getting enough Omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin D also helps.

So we need to be looking after the brain and using it more for our health. This is simple to do and within the capability of just about everyone.

Set yourself a goal of doing some deep breathing every day this week and do one additional thing, which supports the brain.