What’s this whole Ramadan month about anyway? Getting hungry and controlling hanger isn’t the only thing. Ramadan is a month to make spiritual gains, mental strength gains and off course physical gains. Ramadan for Muslims, is a month to really focus on what matters the most : ourselves and self care.
What I feel is important is to build healthy habits. And there is no better time to grow some new brain nerves than Ramadan. OK so it sounds a bit weird. What does Ramadan have to do with growing brain nerves? Is this even a thing? Is growing nerve cells even under our control? How is that gonna help us anyway?
Slow down sister, I gotchu covered! Yes the growth of brain nerves is a thing, it’s a big thing and yes it is in our control. We can grow dendrites.
UNDERSTANDING OUR BRAIN
Dendrites are roots that branch out of neurons and propagate the electrochemical stimulation received from other neural cells to the cell body. This growth of newer dendrites which allows for transmission of more “power” is essentially a sign of brain growth. So you can learn new things and keep getting smarter and store more information.
Our brain has an endless capacity to grow and store information. YES, YOU CAN STILL LEARN, STORE INFORMATION AND GET SMARTER. This is the basic physiology of our brains. If you thought your capacity to store information is limited…well then you’re making a mistake. A MAJOR MISTAKE.
Cells within the nervous system, called neurons, communicate with each other in unique ways. The neuron is the basic working unit of the brain, a specialized cell designed to transmit information to other nerve cells, muscle, or gland cells.
When you learn new things, or preform actions or even think there are impulses travelling through those dendrites. It’s like a web. Impulses travelling along the web. Habits, are impulses to. Dendrites / nerves / neurons / cells are chatty. They like to talk to each other.
They “talk” to each other, mostly using chemical messengers. Incoming signals cause a listening neuron to fire or send signals of its own. A cell fires when an electrical signal travels through it. The signal moves away from what is called the cell body, down through a long structure called an axon. When the signal reaches the end of the axon, it triggers the release of those chemical messengers. The chemicals then leap across a tiny gap. This triggers the next cell to fire. And on it goes.
As we learn something new, cells that send and receive information about the task become more and more efficient. It takes less effort for them to signal the next cell about what’s going on. In a sense, the neurons become wired together.
COURTESY OF HADLEY BERGSTROM/NIAAA
HABITS BECOME LIFESTYLES
Over time habits become easier…why? Because we (our brain) has preformed that task so many times that it is easier to do…thus that task is now easy for us. It’s memory. It’s normal behavior now. Addictions, thoughts and just about everything works the same way.
Take positive thoughts and negatives for example, thinking negatives thoughts become a habit because we tend to do it so much that impulses in the brain are now constantly travelling along those roots . But if we were to think positive thoughts then newer roots grow and become stronger with time. Thoughts become actions which become our behavior.
Doing something over and over again doesn’t just make it easier. It actually changes the brain. The brain continues to change over the course of our lives. Cells grow. They form connections with new cells. Some stop talking to others. And it’s not just nerve cells that shift and change as we learn. Other brain cells also get into the act.
New thoughts, actions, habits, lifestyle adjustments grow our brain. New habits become a lifestyle overtime and through practicing. It’s amazing to thing that what we once thought was so limited is actually that much unlimited.
So, now I ask you one very important question. What is your Ramadan Resolution? If I asked this to you in the beginning you would list me a bunch of points and one of them would be to get healthy and fit. But now that you have the inside scoop on how the brain works, do you think you can create a Ramadan Resolution which is more realistic and can stick through out the year?
RAMADAN IS A TIME TO BUILD HEALTHY HABITS … FOR EVERYONE
I don’t say this for my Muslim friends only, but we all can benefit from a month of focusing on ourselves. No matter what we believe in, fasting from unnecessary things and only doing the bare minimum brings us back down to earth. We not only learn to appreciate the smaller things in life but gratitude becomes a lifestyle.
WHAT’S WRONG WITH OUR RESOLUTION?
You are not being realistic enough. Setting a point and not a real task is the mistake we make with almost most of out goals. Our goals are not measurable, we are not able to measure it in real time using real resources. Thus we fail to achieve it. Most of us want to read and memorize more Quran, but how? And why do we stop at that? We could actually reach our goals if we made a better goal, one we could actually achieve in in the long run.
How about this : I want to memorize 3 ayats every single day.
I want to memorize more Quran.
How many verses you set to memorize is up to you according to you time. Isn’t it more reachable now that you have set a daily “to-do”
WHAT ABOUT GETTING HEALTHY
If you have read my last few posts then you know how important it is to have an active lifestyle. It can literally define how happy and satisfied with life you are. Physical fitness stretches beyond the numbers on a scale and aesthetic satisfaction. If you allow it, physical fitness has the power to bring fulfillment, empowerment, gratification and empowerment.
Set small lifestyle adjustment you can work on daily to make a lifestyle change. Shifting into a new gear takes time and effort. You can not just wake up one morning and claim to lead a healthy lifestyle. Those pop-tarts will sneak up on you. Try setting smaller goals to reach daily which will help you to set a long term plan thus having long term results. Need help with some daily healthy changes? How about these?
- I will drink water only
- I will have 1 green smoothie with raw vegetables
- I will pack my lunch and not eat out
- I will watch my salt and sugar intake
- I will make sure to eat proper protein and raw fruits and veg
These are just a few examples of habits you can fit in daily. I’m sure you can tailor make habits that suit your own lifestyle.
WHAT’S THE POINT
The point is to make those nerves grow. We want to rewire our brain and make it stronger. We want to make mental strength gains. We want to build habits that will change our attitudes and become a lifestyle. You, me and everyone one we know.
MAKE THIS RAMADAN DIFFERENT. MAKE THIS MONTH COUNT.
Let’s not let this Ramadan go by like the last one. Let’s make this Ramadan different and make healthy habits we can stick to through out the year. It’s only a matter of practicing habits until our neurons have created the impulse memory. Now isn’t that a new spin on things?
I want you to make this Ramadan about GAINS.
- Spiritual Gains
- Mental Gains
- Physical Gains