Enjoying a higher level of brain fitness incorporates four key elements: healthy nutrition, a positive attitude, mental challenge and physical exercise. All of these elements are important as they work synergistically together.
Of course it is tempting just to stick at what we are good at or enjoy doing. That's why if you already follow a healthy diet or undertake regular exercise you are likely to tick off that box as "done" and feel very virtuous about it.
But what about your attitude? Are you paying sufficient attention to this element - because it matters just as much as the others?
When I wrote the book "Brain Fit" people asked, what on earth has attitude got to do with building brain fitness?
Every day I witness examples of attitude and how it influences our cognition. If you have ever worked (or lived) with someone who has a negative attitude how does that make you feel?
Geoff is a clever guy. He was dux at school, works hard in his job and looks after his health and family. But over the years he has continued to miss out on promotion or to enjoy the success, others thought would be coming his way. The problem is he doesn't believe in himself. He sees others doing better and attributes their success to luck or knowing the right people. When yet the next opportunity passes him by, he justifies it with the comment "I wasn't ready", "The other candidate was much more confident", or "I didn't think the position was a good "fit" anyway".
A closed mind can miss so much.
"It won't work", "It's hopeless", "Already tried that mate", "I can't be bothered", and "Who cares"?
If you hear these comments, are they being spoken by someone else or is it you that is uttering them?
When we learn, we use our prefrontal cortex to help us make sense of the information and determine whether to store it in our long-term memory banks. Exposure to new ideas, new concepts, new people can be threatening to our brain and status quo, but it is this that allows us to experience and develop alternative perspectives and to see the opportunities as they present to us.
When things go wrong and let's face it, they often do, your ability to deal with the challenge will greatly depend on your attitude.
It is at these times that true leadership emerges and it is these leaders that show their ability to step back and consider all the possibilities and come up with the most effective and safest solution.
To find out more about how attitude plays a role in brain health and function why not come along to a brain fitness workshop? Then you can discover how you can ensure your brain is tuned up for better cognition and memory every day.
The next public workshop on Brain Fitness is at UWA Extension on Saturday 21st September. Tickets are available now.
Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/17475693@N00/209069841/">Nebulaskin</a> via <a href="http://compfight.com">Compfight</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>