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Ten (Mostly) New Illusions to Kick Start Your Brain This Morning

February 25, 2013

Consider this two-and-a-half minute collection of optical illusions a mental boot camp with Richard Wiseman serving as your overly-pleasant drill sergeant.

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Story at-a-glance

  • Watching this fun 2 ½-minute video featuring optical illusions is a good way to jump start your brain.
  • Studies show that regular exercise keeps both your body and your brain fit.
  • Get a jump-start on brain health with exercise―just a little effort goes a long way toward boosting brain power.
  • Dietary choices are important for brain health too. Some of the best brain foods include fresh vegetables, berries, organic eggs from pastured hens, raw milk and meat products from pastured animals, nuts, avocados, coconut oil and olive oil.

By Dr. Mercola

If you’re looking for a fun way to kick start your brain into working just a little harder today, then take a couple of minutes to watch this short video by British psychologist and professor Richard Wiseman.

I love these types of optical illusions as these are a powerful illustration to me how we can be so ABSOLUTELY certain about something we believe to be true, but the reality is that we were tricked and deceived.

Interestingly, many of the drug and biotech companies use similar deceptions to convince the masses so they will continue to purchase their products. Fortunately, most all of you reading this are too wise to fall for their traps.

The selection of these optical illusions are not only are entertaining, but they’ll leave you wondering how — and why — your brain works the way it does and hopefully make you aware that you are susceptible to deception and need to be vigilant.

In one illusion, you can puzzle over how perfectly straight lines suddenly become unquestionably crooked, or in another you can marvel at how a very long box turns out to be exactly the same size as one that looks much like a square. If you have someone nearby, you might even ask them to exercise their brain with you by trying out the finger illusions Wiseman demonstrates.

But before you get dizzy from staring at the spiraling end of this video, why not energize yourself and your brain with a few good tricks to keeping your brain kick-started every day?

More Exercise = Better Brain Power

Since it’s well-established that your brain continues to develop right into your mid- to late-forties, it only makes sense to do whatever you can to help your brain stay as young as possible.

And that’s where exercise comes into play. It’s true — not only can exercise keep your body healthy and fit, but it also can help your brain function, and even raise your IQ1. The good news is it only takes a little extra effort to achieve a whole lot of results, and there are many different types of exercise that provide benefits that extend well beyond boosting your brain, such as:

  1. High-Intensity Interval (Anaerobic) Training: This is when you alternate short bursts of high-intensity exercise with gentle recovery periods.
  2. Strength Training: Rounding out your exercise program with a 1-set strength training routine will ensure that you're really optimizing the possible health benefits of a regular exercise program.
  3. Core Exercises: Your body has 29 core muscles located mostly in your back, abdomen and pelvis that provide the foundation for movement throughout your entire body. Strengthening them can help protect and support your back, make your spine and body less prone to injury and help you gain greater balance and stability.
  4. Stretching: My favorite type of stretching is active isolated stretching developed by Aaron Mattes. With Active Isolated Stretching, you hold each stretch for only two seconds, which works with your body's natural physiological makeup to improve circulation and increase the elasticity of muscle joints.

Round It Out with Stress Reduction and Good Food Choices

Your emotional state is extremely important to all your bodily functions, including your brain. Exercise will increase endorphin levels in your brain, which in turn help relieve stress. You can also try EFT, a psychological acupuncture technique that can help you remove both negative emotions and food cravings.

Finally, don’t forget to nourish your brain by making good food choices. Make sure that you eat healthful fats from whole foods such as fresh, organic vegetables and fruits, organic eggs from pastured hens, whole raw milk from pastured cows, raw nuts, avocados, coconut oil, and olive oil. Eggs and dairy are a rich source of lecithin, choline and vitamin B12 — nutrients especially important for good brain function.

And then get plenty of sleep, so that the hormone melatonin, which has antioxidant properties that help deter aging, can do its job, leaving you fresh and ready to kick start your day every day.

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Sources and References

  • 1 Aberg MA, Pedersen NL, Toren K, et al. Cardiovascular Fitness Is Associated with Cognition in Young Adulthood. PNAS. Nov. 30, 2009.
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