Be “Brain Smart”: A Round-Up of TED Talks about Brain Health

Sure you use your brain all the time, but do you know how your brain really works? Do you know what you can do to keep your brain strong and healthy to support your concentration, creativity, and decision-making? To help you get a better idea about your brain’s health and functioning, we’ve rounded up a selection of TED Talks about neuroscience that will teach you how health-supporting activities like exercise and sleep affect your brain’s health, what happens in your brain when you think, and focus tips for protecting and improving your brain’s health and longevity!

The Brain-Changing Benefits of Exercise by Wendy Suzuki

What’s the most transformative thing that you can do for your brain today? Exercise! says neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki. Get inspired to go to the gym as Suzuki discusses the science of how working out boosts your mood and memory — and protects your brain against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

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Health Benefits of Spending Time in Nature

We all know lots of ways to boost our health – working out, getting adequate sleep, eating produce, etc. But did you know that one really easy way to positively benefit your health is getting some time outside? Many of us spend a lot of time indoors because of our work/school environments, weather, and indoor hobbies/Netflix binges. However, you can reap the benefits of spending time in nature even through as little as 20 minutes a day! We’ve rounded up some of the major benefits of spending time in nature to show you that spending time in the great outdoors is not only refreshing and fun, but can have some really wonderful mental and physical health too.

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5 Reasons to Eat Seasonally

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on 3/26/16.

As you walk through the produce aisles of your favorite grocery store, you may notice different fruits and vegetables on display sporting messages like “At Seasons Peak!” or “Now In Season!” throughout the year. If you’ve never thought about grabbing those veggies while they’re hot, maybe you should! As National Nutrition Month slowly comes to a close, take a moment to introduce yourself to the concept of Seasonal Eating, and the benefits of adopting this nutritious habit.

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The Best Apps for Better Sleep

An oldie but a goodie: This app round-up was originally published on 11/2/17.

Happy Daylight Savings Time! Although the time switch means it’s time for warmer weather and longer days, when our clocks spring forward, it often leaves us feeling groggy and tired. In general, we tend to be fairly sleep deprived – according to the CDC, more than a third of American adults are not getting at least 7 hours of sleep on a regular basis, causing chronic sleep deprivation. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommend that adults aged 18–60 years sleep at least 7 hours each night to promote optimal health and well-being. Sleeping less than seven hours per day is associated with an increased risk of developing chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and frequent mental distress. Yikes!

Luckily, aside from Daylight Savings Time, this week is also Sleep Awareness Week, giving you a prime opportunity to focus on getting better rest. There are lots of ways you can improve your sleep, including these tips from the National Sleep Foundation. To encourage you to focus on getting better sleep, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite sleep apps to help you track your sleeping habits, fall asleep faster, and sleep more soundly.

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Paving the way: A Brief History of Black Pioneers in Medicine

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on February 18th, 2016.

Pursuing a career in medicine can be a challenging experience for anyone. For many aspiring Black doctors, these challenges were often associated with discrimination and a lack of opportunities to prove their worth, particularly in the early 19th and 20th centuries. Many barriers had to be torn down and doors opened before access to a quality medical education could be achieved for people of color. To celebrate Black History Month, we’re sharing with you a brief history of how these opportunities were built.

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Health Benefits of Art and Creativity

It’s no accident that our Health Sciences library is brimming with artwork created students, faculty, and staff at the UCF College of Medicine. Creating and viewing art is not only fun and fulfilling, it also has amazing health benefits: from improved focus and concentration to reduced stress and anxiety. So whether you paint, draw, write, sing, dance, play an instrument, create pottery, color-by-numbers, or even just enjoy strolling around in a museum, you’re potentially having a big impact on your overall health and well-being.

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Organ Donation 101

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on 2/9/17.

A very special day is just around the corner: the one day a year when you can give your heart to someone new… or your liver, or a kidney. That’s right – February 14th isn’t just Valentine’s Day, it’s also National Organ Donor Day! Today on the blog, we’re celebrating by exploring how organ donation works, so that you can make an informed decision about your preference to donate!

There are currently 119,000 men, women, and children on the national transplant waiting list, and 22 people die every day waiting for a transplant. The good news is that more that 130 million people in the U.S. are registered as organ donors, and one donor can save up to 8 lives. However, only 3 in 1,000 people die in such a way that allows for organ donation.

Image copyright Catherine Lane 2015

Image copyright Catherine Lane 2015

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Book Recommendations Based on your New Year’s Resolutions

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on 1/12/17.

It’s an undeniable fact that with January comes New Year’s resolutions, and with New Year’s resolutions comes the danger of frustration, burnout, or a lack of motivation. Even if you set resolutions that you’re really passionate about (and we hope you do!), changing your behavior can be hard work. To help you all out, I’ve rounded up some book recommendations based on common New Years Resolutions! Whether your goal is to eat healthier, reduce stress, or get organized, These books are here for you. I believe that books contain a wealth of knowledge and can be one of our greatest sources of inspiration when our own is flagging – so get reading and crush those goals!

Resolution #1: Increase your motivation/find your passion

Read Drive: The Surprising truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink

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If you find yourself low on motivation and need to get yourself fired up for a new project, job, or challenge, Drive is a great reading choice. Pink draws on four decades of scientific research on motivation to reveal the three elements of true motivation: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. By understanding the science behind human motivation, this book gives you the tools to better motivate yourself and others towards achieving your goals.

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Apps to help you achieve your New Year’s resolutions!

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on 1/5/17.

Happy New Year! Ready to grab the New Year by the horns? If you’ve made a few resolutions for the new year, you’ll be thrilled to know that there are tons of apps out there that can help you on your way to success. To help you achieve your goals, we’ve rounded up apps that will support some common resolutions that people set.

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