The “4-4-4-4” breathing technique and 2 more tips which will make your brain work like it’s 25 years old
It’s frustratingly awkward when you meet someone you know on the street and can’t remember his name. And it seems to be somewhere on the tip of your tongue, but does not want to get out of the depths of memory.
At such moments, nothing more clever than complaining about old age comes to mind. But old age has nothing to do with it. It’s just our laziness and unwillingness to exercise our brains. And this is a scientifically proven fact.
Recently I read an amazing book “Neurofitness: A Brain Surgeon’s Secrets to Boost Performance and Unleash Creativity” by the American neurosurgeon Rahul Jandial, one of the most respected experts not only in surgery, but also in the field of restoration of brain activity after severe trauma, strokes or Alzheimer’s disease.
Throughout the entire narrative, the main thread runs through the main idea: brain function can not only be restored, but also raised to the top of activity after any disease, not to mention age-related changes, with which we are so fond of justifying our own forgetfulness.
The book describes many cases of brain function being restored using a system developed by a neurosurgeon. And today, I want to tell you about surprisingly simple (but no less effective) recommendations.
The breathing technique “4-4-4-4”
This kind of breathing is also called attentive or “rhythmic” breathing.
It is wrong to think that it was invented by Rahul Jandial. The practice has been used by yogis and Buddhist monks for over 2,500 years. Rahul participated in many studies that resulted in scientifically proven evidence of the relationship between rhythmic breathing and brain rejuvenation.
The fact is that against the background of rhythmic breathing, the work of the amygdala body, which is responsible for the body’s response to the strongest emotions, intensifies, and thus a person copes with stress more effectively. And it is known that stress is one of the main causes of rapid aging of the body.
Rhythmic breathing stimulates the growth of nerve fibers in the cerebral cortex, which not only regulates heart rate and blood pressure, is responsible for concentration, but also helps to keep the mind cool, protecting it from emotional outbursts. This means that the thought process goes faster, and it takes less time to find the right solutions.
Rhythmic breathing activates the neurons of the brain and increases the number of connections between them, consequently improving all cognitive functions of the body: speech, concentration, the ability to perceive objects to the touch and make purposeful movements. That is, all the things that suffer first in senile dementia.
Regular rhythmic breathing strengthens the connections between different parts of the brain, increasing mental activity and, at the same time, calming the nervous system. And that’s the amazing thing!
It turned out that against the background of rhythmic breathing, our so-called “sixth sense” becomes more acute. This is not what is considered intuition. It is about the ability of the brain to pick up signals from all the organs and systems and instantly react to the slightest changes in their operation, reducing anxiety and relieving panic attacks.
Reading about the incredible rejuvenating effect of rhythmic breathing, you involuntarily begin to think that this system requires certain skills and mastering it the first time will not be so easy. I thought that at first, too. 🙂 But it turned out that mastering this breathing technique is extremely easy:
- The first thing to do is to find a secluded place, turn off your phone (so it won’t suddenly bother you), take a comfortable position, and relax. Try, just for 5-10 minutes to banish from your mind the fussy thoughts. Concentrate all your attention on your breathing and don’t think about anything else;
- On the count 1-2-3-4 make a deep breath through the nose (this is important);
- Then hold your breath, counting to yourself: 1-2-3-4;
- At the count of 1-2-3-4 quietly exhale, again through the nose. And again count 1-2-3-4 before taking another breath.
You won’t believe it, but that’s all there is to it. For me, shutting my head off for those five to ten minutes is much harder. According to Jandial, it was regular rhythmic breathing that saved many of his patients from the need for surgery.
Give up breakfast twice a week
The neurosurgeon’s advice is based on the results of scientific research by neurobiologists from the famous Johns Hopkins University. In particular, the works of Mark Mattson, in which it was convincingly proved that it is intermittent fasting that triggers rejuvenation processes in the body and prolongs life.
Rahul believes that minor unloading days are beneficial first and foremost to the brain, causing all organs to wake up, hence the subsequent positive reactions. Such as:
- lowering blood sugar levels;
- best regulation of blood pressure;
- and metabolic rate increasing.
Jandial first tested this system on himself, and now not only skips breakfast twice a week, but also practices what he calls 16-hour hunger windows. When the last meal is at 5 p.m. at the latest and then only water and tea in unlimited quantities until the next breakfast.
He says that this system of eating helps him to concentrate, easier to endure many hours of stress during the most difficult operations, while maintaining mental clarity and clear coordination.
The neurosurgeon advises his patients to give up their first meal no more than 2 times a week, 3 days apart, as this is enough to stop the development of dementia and prevent diseases associated with memory loss.
Sit and lie less often, stand more often
Not long ago we wrote in one of our articles that a person gets smarter while walking, and that standing is a much faster way to remember information.
Many of us spend most of our time sitting. Let’s add 8 hours of sleep to this, and it turns out that for such a useful for the mind vertical position is nothing. And this is unnatural for human nature, because the human brain is designed for upright people.
Why? It is in an upright position that produces the maximum amount of the protein BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), which is called the nurse protein for young neurons. It not only stimulates their emergence, but also controls their development, helping them to survive.
That’s all the tips for pumping your brain. Agree, there is nothing complicated, time-consuming and unattainable about them. Especially when it comes to keeping your sanity until late old age and rejuvenating your body.