”Often we do not think about the brain when we think about sleep and how we can train it to achieve our recovery goals, even our sleep goals!
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- How to maintain optimal mental performance/health through realistic healthy living
- What the mind/brain needs to maintain for proper mental fitness (without medication)
Optimal mental performance can be defined as the ability for our brain to operate at peak performance and thus allow us to perform at our best at all times. Likewise, optimal mental health is defined as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being — not just the absence of physical or mental disease. Maintaining optimal mental performance/health requires us to manage the health and stress levels on the mind and body relationship through balancing homeostatic processes that interact with the mind/brain and environment (living, social).
The term ‘homeostasis’ was originally coined to assist in the understanding of physiological responses to stress and has grown to further describe the process by which discrete systems work together under challenging conditions to re-establish stability in a managed variable such as body temperature or room temperature. Homeostatic systems are commonplace and are found wherever a variable is needed to be maintained within a narrow range, around some specific average value (set-point) for normal functioning (e.g. 98 degrees for a healthy body temp or 70 degrees for comfortable room temp).
“The term ‘homeostasis’ was originally coined to assist in the understanding of physiological responses to stress”
For proper mental performance, the brain maintains homeostatic resilient function within several interacting neural networks, such as our attentional abilities, decision making, perceptual and thinking abilities. Optimal performances (measured by IQ score for example) are achieved when the neural network system is operating in balance. Neural network functions are affected by many factors, both positively and negatively that include workload stress, diet, rest/sleep quality and general neuro-physical health. It is important to note that our general neuro-physical health is affected (in addition to the above), by drinking, substance use (both prescribed and recreational), or traumas that can include physical, emotional or injuries.
Measures of our homeostatic brain network balance are obtainable through modern brain mapping neuro-imaging methods, such as NeuroCodex® evaluations obtained through NTLgroup, Inc. (www.smartbrainsolutions.com and/or www.ntlgroupinc.com). Low scores on the cognitive evaluations indicate reduced neural network efficiencies. In general, low or average scores can be increased by allowing the brain to ‘reset’ itself to a higher and more efficient “set-point”. This can be achieved with the assignment of proper and targeted brain activities that are practiced three or more times per week for about four months. These activities are based on which network brain systems need to be optimized.
For proper mental health maintenance, the mind will ask itself the internal question “How satisfied am I with my life as a whole?” Answers to this question can be categorized into seven quality of life domains that include: standard of living, health, achievements in life, quality of relationships, safety, community-connectedness, and future security. The Subjective-WellBeing-Homeostatic Balance (SWBHB) instrument (www.smartbrainsolutions.com/SWBHB and/or www.ntlgroupinc.com/SWBHB) provides quantifiable answers to the different categories of this fundamental question and can provide a free means for us to monitor variations of our internal subjective well-being homeostatic balance scores. These scores change based on changes in our daily living and can reflect successful (or not) interactions with the body, mind, our social systems and environment based upon a personally defined “set-point” or balance points where we consider ourselves as content.
MWi would like to thank Dr. Curtis Cripe for sharing this article to support our community. To find out more about Dr. Cripe follow this link: