“Get enthusiastic.  Do things you love.  Do things you’re passionate about.

Being excited and enthusiastic enhances our mental capacity enormously.  Excitement is synonymous with motivation.  When we’re excited about something, we’re naturally switched on and energised.  We’re focused and firing on all cylinders.  We don’t need to think of ways to motivate ourselves because we’re naturally motivated.

Studies have demonstrated that aspirations actually turn on our brain cells much more powerfully than needs. When people are attached to a brain scanner and then asked to think of things they aspire to do, more of their brain cells start firing than when they think of things they need to do.

Excitement and pleasure also cause the brain to secrete a cocktail of chemicals called neurotransmitters.  Two of these neurotransmitters are dopamine and acetylcholine and these chemicals play an important role in learning: they help to consolidate the changes we make in our brains whenever we learn a new skill.  So the more dopamine and acetylcholine we have in our brains when we’re trying to learn something, the more easily and effectively we learn it.

Reflect on your life for a moment.  Are there things in your day that excite you?  That you get enthusiastic about?  That you really enjoy?  Or is everything just ho hum?  For an optimally functioning brain we need to get excited about something – whether it’s paid work, running a business, child-raising, playing a sport or pursuing a hobby.

Whatever excites you is what you’ll be good at.  And the excitement you have for one aspect of your life will spill into other areas and raise your performance in those areas as well.  Making time for things we love isn’t being lazy or self-indulgent.  It’s essential for a better functioning brain.”

About the author: Dr Helena Popovic MBBS is a medical doctor, author, international speaker and leading authority on how to improve brain function and how our lifestyles impact our health and performance.

Helena’s philosophy is that education is more powerful than medication and she believes in slow ageing despite fast living.

Dr Helena Popovic

Dr Helena Popovic

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