“We take our brains for granted, hoping they will stay in working order far years to come, while taking little action to encourage this to happen,” say experts. Once we’re past our mid-20s, our brains begin to shrink and depending on how we use them,function can either increase or decline. luckily, what happens is largely to do with factors within our control. Brain In their new book: Sort Your Brain Out: Boost Your Performance, Manage Stress and Achieve More, neuroscientist, Dr. Jack lewis and motivational speaker Adrian Webster, say: “If you look after your brain, it should remain fully functional and in good working order throughout your entire lifetime:’ They’ve even devised a handy set of brain-optimisation tips to help us keep our brains firing on all cylinders. Water: Our brains are 73 per cent water, so when we’re dehydrated our efficiency in sending electrical messages around our 100,000 miles of brain wires is compromised. At night, we lose water vapour through breathing, which is not replaced while we are asleep. This means we wake up with slightly dehydrated brain every day. Boost-Drink a glass of water the moment you wake each morning to dehydrate your brain and make sure you stay well-hydrated throughout the day:’ Exercise: Exercise is well known to be good for the body, but many of us over look its immense impact on the health of our brains. Not only does exercise release a torrent of hormones and chemicals that makes us feel good, but evidence suggests that people who take regular exercise enjoy better brain function far longer. It increases the rate at which new brain cells are created, and is more important than any other factor in helping us to retain our faculties well into old age. Boost -Do a minimum of 20 minutes of moderate to intense exercise every other day. Manage stress: Cortisol is an important hormone which is released into our bodies to help us cope with life’s daily stresses. It increases our metabolism so that more physical and mental energy is available to deal with our problems, and puts the brain in an uncomfortable emotional state, giving us impetus to act. Cortisol also suppresses the immune system, enabling us to postpone feeling ill until a stressful situation has passed or been resolved. It is a vital part of any happy, successful life. However, chronic stress—which leads to high cortisol levels over a long period of time can be detrimental to your health. It can make you fat, cause high-blood pressure and debilitate your immune system, leaving you vulnerable to opportunistic infections. It can also reduce your working memory capacity. Boost-Try to have a good chuckle as often as possible. Laughter reduces stress by decreasing the level of cortisol. When feeling stressed, take a couple of minutes out of your day to take a few deep breaths.