Brain Awareness Week is a global campaign to foster public enthusiasm and support for brain science. This year, Brain Awareness Week will be observed March 15-21, but you can plan brain-related events or activities for your employees throughout the year.
Your brain is always changing. That process is called brain plasticity. As you practice habits, learn new information or just experience the world, your brain changes, grows new connections and repairs broken ones. A healthy brain is one supported by adequate blood flow. When your brain is healthy, you’re able to learn and remember, communicate, solve problems, make decisions and regulate emotions.
The American Heart Association recommends that brain health be measured against what they call Life’s Simple 7. These are health factors that were originally defined as ideal for heart health but have now been expanded to be used to support brain health. These factors are:
- Not smoking.
- Physical activity at goal levels.
- A healthy diet.
- Weight within current guidelines.
- Untreated blood pressure within current guidelines.
- Untreated total cholesterol within current guidelines.
- Fasting blood glucose level within current guidelines.
Your job can also keep your brain healthy. Jobs with social engagement help deter brain disease. Work can also provide intellectual stimulation and a sense of purpose, which helps you keep your brain healthy.
With the well-being activities you normally offer at your company, you can also offer activities that teach about or encourage brain health. Here are a few suggestions:
- Add a discussion on the brain benefits of exercise after your regularly scheduled exercise class option.
- Contact a local science museum to see if they can present exhibits, demonstrations or hands-on activities about the brain for your employees to explore.
- Contact your local hospital or university’s speakers’ bureau and invite someone who works in neuroscience, cellular biology or psychology to do a lunch and learn.
- Offer mental stimulation, such as placing puzzles, books and games in the break room, or include brain games in your company newsletter, such as word searches, crosswords or math games.
- Offer classes to teach employees new skills, such as cooking, carpentry, languages or computer coding.
- Encourage your employees to socialize. Plan virtual team lunches or happy hours.
- Offer a five- to 10-minute mindful meditation to help calm your employees’ brains and reduce anxiety.