12 Ways to Make Your Brain a Lean Mean Fighting Machine

brainworkoutIn order to defy OCD the brain needs to be a lean mean fighting machine. There’s a lot of white matter that needs to be obliterated. The OCD brain has more than the average amount of white matter. White matter interferes with concentration and prevents the making of new memories. That’s one of the reasons the brain gets stuck. In order to get rid of white matter, you’ve got to take your brain to the neurogym.

It’s not easy to go to the neurogym every day but the pay off is undeniable.  Here’s how to obliterate white matter:

  1. Be determined to go to the neurogym every day. Remember, you don’t have to feel determined to be determined. Don’t let your feelings get in the way of going.
  2. Visualize what will happen if you go everyday. Make a collage of what you’re fighting for. Write out your cost/benefit analysis. What will you gain if you go to the neurogym and what will you lose if you don’t go.
  3. Make time for it in your busy day. You need about 20 minutes per day. (This doesn’t replace Exposure & Response Prevention. You need both!) Schedule when you are going to go to the neurogym. If you don’t schedule it, it won’t happen. When people say they don’t have time for all of this it’s not true. If you’ve got time for compulsions, you’ve got time for this! And remember, there is always someone busier than you finding the time.
  4. Stick to the plan. When you do what you say you’re going to do your quality of life improves. When you don’t meet your commitments you will think less of yourself. OCD is a big force to go up against so you need all the self worth you can muster. A simple way to stay positive about yourself is to do what you said you were going to do.
  5. When you are at the neurogym choose from any of the following 10 minute exercises:
    1. Juggle with bean bags, scarves, or any size ball. Start with one and work your way up to 3. It doesn’t matter how good you are at it. It’s the practice of it that helps. Watch YouTube videos for how-to instructions.
    2. Memorize a poem or song. Get a memory game app on your smart phone. Play memory games with your kids. Practice memorizing something.
    3. Take your trigger words and think of a neutral word that rhymes. Then think of a word that is associated with the rhyming word. Like this: germ: term: paper.
    4. Listen to a podcast or documentary and learn something new. Listen to Ted Talks.
    5. Learn to play an instrument. If you already know how to play an instrument, learn a new song. If you don’t have an instrument get the app Smule or Garbage Band.
    6. Meditate. Meditate. Meditate.
    7. Color. Get a coloring book or use an app like Colorfy.
    8. Read a Lateral Thinking puzzle book or use a Sudoku book or app.

This is day 22 of a 30 day challenge. Which of the above will you commit to doing every day to obliterate white matter and make your brain a lean mean fighting machine?

5 thoughts on “12 Ways to Make Your Brain a Lean Mean Fighting Machine”

  1. It’s very serendipitous that you posted this today, as I happened upon an article that talks about the subject of “exercising” the brain and creating new neuronal cells. An excerpt from the article: “…Studies in animal models have shown that new neurons are produced in the brain throughout the lifespan, and, so far, only one activity is known to trigger the birth of those new neurons: vigorous aerobic exercise, said Karen Postal, president of the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology. ‘That’s it,’ she said. ‘That’s the only trigger that we know about.’ The other fascinating thing here is where these new cells pop up: in the hippocampus, a region of the brain associated with learning and memory…”

    And here’s a link to the full article if anyone wants to read it: http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2016/04/how-neuroscientists-explain-the-mind-clearing-magic-of-running.html?mid=twitter-share-scienceofus

  2. I think I will listen to a podcast as one and focus while doing homework as another. If I don’t have homework I will color 🙂

  3. So meditating for 10-20 minutes each day will count as going to the neurogym? I’ve got that covered! But I can no longer run due to back issues, so I guess I won’t be making any new neurons. Seems odd that running is the only thing that will do that. It leaves out alot of people.

    1. I’m pretty sure that given your research skills you’d find running is only one of many alternatives!

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