If COVID-19 lockdowns have kept you stuck at home for days, weeks or months on end, it’s no surprise that you’re feeling forgetful and foggy-headed. Lack of stimulation, loneliness and increased stress and anxiety have created a perfect storm that is taxing our brains in ways we could never have imagined. But the good news is, you can save your memory and thinking skills from long-term harm due to the pandemic.
In this edition of the Bottom Line Advocator Podcast, Wendy Suzuki, PhD, joins Bottom Line President Sarah Hiner to talk about the unique ways our brains are being challenged in the midst of COVID-19 lockdowns…and what we can do to keep our brain cells humming. Dr. Suzuki is author of Healthy Brain, Happy Life and the forthcoming book Good Anxiety: Understanding the Most Misunderstood Emotion.
Topics covered include…
- How your brain responds to the “COVID-19 desert” (5:32 – 8:02)
- Finding new and creative ways to connect (8:02 – 10:31)
- Long-term physiological effects of ongoing stress (10:31 – 14:23)
- How the stress hormone cortisol damages the brain (14:23 – 16:43)
- The amygdala can go into overdrive with stress (16:43 – 17:50)
- Your brain’s remarkable ability to change via neuroplasticity (17:50 – 19:36)
- The amazing powers we have to “train” our brains (19:36 – 20:59)
- What your first kiss says about your memory (20:59 – 23:04)
- Why social interactions predict our longevity (23:04 – 25:17)
- Loneliness = dopamine deprivation + cortisol release (25:17 – 29:36)
- Advice on strengthening “joy memories” (29:36 – 33:48)
- The impact of mask-wearing on facial recognition (33:48 – 36:10)
- A healthy mind-set when human interaction is missing (36:10 – 38:57)
- Overcoming the lack of stimulation when at home (38:57 – 41:44)
- How to lose weight during lockdown (41:44 – 43:28)
- The one thing that “grows” your hippocampus (43:28 – 44:50)
- Other brain-strengthening activities (44:50 – 45:30)
- Benefits of IntenSati exercise (45:30 – 48:16)
- Your brain thrives on new experiences (48:16 – 49:32)
- A simple meditation that trains your prefrontal cortex (49:32 – 52:56)
- How to build brain-healthy “tiny habits” (52:56 – 54:33)
- Dr. Suzuki’s favorite brain-boosting eating habits (54:33 – 56:15)
- Finding the “silver lining” in COVID-19 lockdowns (56:15 – 58:29)
Learn more about Wendy Suzuki, PhD, and her work at WendySuzuki.com.
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