Healthy Habits Improve Learning AND Your Brain
You are reading this website because you want to learn faster, understand more, remember longer and make better grades.
For years, scientists gathered information about the role nutrition, exercise, attitude, lifestyle, posture and emotions play in learning. There are studies which consistently verify the role of background, beliefs and emotions in learning.
— Eric Jensen, Super Teaching p. 212
One of the first things you should do is examine your physical habits including eating, drinking, sleeping, and exercise. No, this isn’t a website on improving your health. Most students don’t understand that how you eat, drink, sleep and exercise makes real changes in your brain
Would you refuse the offer of a better brain?
If you knew you could really
- learn faster and more easily
- understand the material better
- remember it longer
- do better on tests
- make better grades
- and enjoy your years in college more
Would you actually say “No thanks. I’m not interested?”
Or would you say “That’s amazing! Why didn’t someone tell me this before? Please teach me.
Michael J. Gelb raises these questions. You will find it helpful to write your answers, perhaps in a personal learning journal.
1. What habits of mind or body do I now practice that may have a negative effect on my health in the long run?
2. What is my attitude toward health and wellness?
3. What habit or activity could I do, or stop doing, that would have the single greatest benefit for my health and well-being? (228)
Gelb has five responses to the third question: Take long walks, Enjoy a Healthy Diet, Take Long Vacations, Savor the Beauty of Nature, and Nurture Friendships. (228-232)
To reach their goals, they need to understand how important it is to have both a healthy body and a healthy mind.
Before class they will had a healthy snack and took a brisk walk to increase the amount of oxygen going to their brains.
At the same time, they will talk to their friends and have fun together. Now they are energized and ready to study.
Healthy Habits Change Your Brain
Dr. John Ratey writes in “A User’s Manual for the Brain”
It has become obvious that we can actually change our brains. By altering the external environment of our surroundings or the internal environment of our bodies, we can take better advantage of our strengths and amend our weaknesses. The possibilities for change are bounded only by our imagination, our willingness to assess our brains accurately through self-reflection, and our commitment to hard work. …
Many of the fundamental tools for the for the care and feeding of the brain are everyday matters. Physical and mental exercise, proper nutrition, and adequate sleep will help anyone gain cognitive clarity and emotional stability.
Healthy Habits can do more than help you learn. They can make actual physical changes to your Brain.