What if there was one simple thing you could do today for better brain health?
What if next week or next month I told you about one more simple thing you could do for your brain, to improve your good and bad days?
What if this year you implemented four simple things, each of which would improve your brain in small ways but would add up in powerful ways?
What if you embraced this idea and implemented four new simple things each year (or six new things as you feel even better) for a decade?
Could you keep a sharp mental focus into your very advanced years?
Could you beat depression and anxiety forever?
This is exactly my goal and I bet it appeals to you too.
Good Days, Bad Days & Your “Good Day Strategies”
If you struggle with depression, stress, and anxiety “good days” and “bad days” require no introduction. We yearn for relief from the bad days capturing a “good day” here and there as we can.
If today is a “good day,” is there one simple thing you can do today to reduce your future “bad days?”
I call these “good day strategies.”
- “Good day strategies” are flexible. Choose strategies that work for you. Discard the rest.
- “Good day strategies” aren’t costly. They just require intention.
- “Good day strategies” support a healthy brain.
- Some “good day strategies” can be implemented by a caregiver.
I have struggled with depression since my first pregnancy and have worked for a decade improving my brain health.
This is my basic philosophy: We all have good days and bad days. Our long-game strategy is to leverage those good days in such a way that our good days begin to outnumber the bad and, at some point, our very bad days are few and far between.
This philosophy kept me out of the dark pit at least twice: (1) In my surprise pregnancy with my second son, when all research would suggest I would suffer from worse depression than in my first pregnancy I did far better because of the foundation provided by my strategies and (2) When that same son was quarantined for eight months and I we lived in fear that he would develop an extreme mental and physical handicap, I managed to stay out of the pit of depression.
Stresses challenge us every single day and our best preparation for them is to lay a solid foundation in our life so that when we wake up to a bad day, we have structures in place to make it “less of a bad day” than it would have been otherwise. In the process, we find a good day now and then, and then, we find more good days still.
Good day strategies can be very simple and inexpensive
- There is a plant you can keep by your entry way and train yourself to brush against as you walk by. Its fragrance provides a natural aroma therapy that research shows improves your mood. Plant the plant and create a “brushing up against it routine” on your good days. Some of your habit will transfer to bad days.
- Your indoor air is probably poor — it is for most of us. There is a simple thing you can do on a good day that costs nothing and will improve the air you are breathing should a bad day follow.
- There is a brain-building food that you can easily add to many of your favorite meals. This food is widely embraced in all dietary circles and is increasingly available fresh, ready to chop up for a salad or a casserole. On a good day, find a store that carries it and begin to add it to your recipes.
- There is an important brain-building supplement that you have probably heard of but you may not realize how much of it researchers recommend that you take. Find it on a good day and integrate it into your routine.
“Good day strategies” have been critical in maintaining my own health and I would like to share some of my thoughts with you. Subscribe here if you would like to continue the conversation. In fact, as I come up with new strategies, I’ll drop you a note.
As an aside, when we are in a deep pit of depression, we are not likely to have a good day and, in fact, we are not likely to be reading my words right here and so I write for people who do have good days on occasion. I also write for caregivers. Caregivers often feel helpless when friends and family members are struggling with depression. However, there are some powerful strategies caregivers can implement too to help shave the edge off depression and maybe help a loved one grab a good day here and there that was not otherwise coming.
Amanda Rose, Ph.D. writes with her mother and son at FreshBitesDaily.com but “Good Day Strategies” is her pet project. She has a specific interest in food and lifestyle choices for a healthy brain, including keeping an aging brain sharp. She is a social scientist by training and works with educational and health agencies in California improving their services when she is not developing new “good day strategies.”