Truth is, within a given day, we probably pay attention to only 60 to 70 percent of all that’s in front of us. Because the rest of our daily experience doesn’t necessarily fill or contribute to the way we see our life’s narrative, we ignore it. That means a healthy brain is one that remembers the important things, while at the same time forgets the trivial.Introduction, Page 3
In a nutshell
12 Weeks to a Sharper You is a practical guide and 12-week program aimed at reducing risk for cognitive decline. The program promises to help you feel less anxious, sleep better, improve your energy, think more clearly, and become more resilient to daily stress.
Book Club Notes
Dr Sanjay Gupta begins Part 1 by introducing the 6 pillars of your brain trust. These 6 pillars include nutrition, movement, downtime, restorative sleep, discovery, and connection – all being instrumental keys to keeping your brain sharp. In part 2, he guides you on how to implement these pillars into your life over 12 weeks.
I really enjoyed the way this book is written. It successfully presents complex ideas and research in simple, easy to digest and understand language. Although I have read a book or two on brain health, it did not feel boring or repetitive.
These ten lessons stuck with me
Performing household chores like cooking, cleaning and washing the dishes can cut the risk of dementia by 21 percent.
For each additional year you keep working, the risk of getting dementia is reduced by 3.2 percent. Work builds and sustains your cognitive reserve by making demands on your brain that keeps it thinking, strategizing, learning and solving problems.
Negative thoughts and constant worrying can promote changes in the brain that are associated with depression and anxiety. On the flip side, positivity and healthful behaviors can support optimal brain function and fortify the networks you want to keep.
The belief that older people forget things is a myth. Some cognitive skills do decline as you age but memory falters because you are not paying close attention.
Your brain is roughly 73 percent water. It takes only 2 percent dehydration to affect your attention, memory, and other cognitive skills. (Need help drinking more water? Read this)
Because the brain is exceptionally plastic, it can rewire and reshape itself in a mere 12 weeks. It’s like building any other muscle.
The brain can’t concentrate on executing two activities that demand conscious effort, thinking, comprehension, or skill. When you try to mentally multitask you slow down your thinking. The brain handles tasks sequentially but can switch attention between them so quickly that we’re given the illusion that we can perform multiple tasks simultaneously.
Saying “No” does more than help free yourself up to do the things you want to do. It helps build confidence, ease stress, lower anxiety, and give your brain more room to grow and be creative. It de-clutters your psyche and establishes the kinds of boundaries you need to take care of you.
Flossing is a good-for-brain habit. Flossing and brushing your teeth twice daily removes food residue and bacteria build up that can ultimately lead to gum disease and increase risk of stroke.
When trying to decide what to do or not do today, ask yourself: is this a memory I will want to have when I’m old and basking in the glow of my history?
You’re new to learning about brain health and want an actionable plan to apply his guidelines to your life.
Writing – 7/10
Applicability – 10/10
Timelessness – 10/10
Shareability – 9/10
The Nitty Gritty
A note on our book ratings
Readability: How easy is it to read and understand what the author is saying? Do you need a dictionary or PhD to understand it?
Writing: How well written is the book? Do you find yourself wowed by the writing or unimpressed?
Applicability: How applicable is this book to daily life? Is there enough advice and actions that are easy to start applying?
Timelessness: Is the content of the book timeless or is it something that in a few years won’t have relevance?
Shareability: How likely are you to share the book?