If I Only Had A Brain
Proven Formula To Keep Your Brain and Life in Tiptop Condition
As a child, the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayor epic film, The Wizard Of Oz fascinated me. You remember the Cowardly Lion, The Tin Woodsman, and the lovable Scarecrow? Each of these characters needed a miracle from the Wizard. The lion needed courage. The tin man needed a heart. And the Scarecrow… the poor fellow…why, he needed a brain.
For the Scarecrow the term, “brain health” was an oxymoron. Here are the lyrics to the song the Scarecrow sang to Dorothy:
“I could while away the hours, conferrin’ with the flowers
Consultin’ with the rain.
And my head I’d be scratchin’ while
My thoughts were busy hatchin’
If I only had a brain.
I’d unravel every riddle for any individ’le,
In trouble or in pain.
With the thoughts I’d be thinkin’
I could be another Lincoln
If I only had a brain.
Oh, I could tell you why the ocean’s near the shore.
I could think of things I never thunk before.
And then I’d sit, and think some more.
I would not be just a nuffin’ my head all full of stuffin’
My heart all full of pain.
I would dance and be merry, life would be a ding-a-derry,
If I only had a brain.”
Obviously, the Scarecrow had a brain, but he felt insecure in using it. It would literally be impossible for him to live without a brain let alone, sing, dance and carry on a conversation with his friends. Perhaps what the Scarecrow felt is what 1 in 5 Americans over the age of 18, feel every year who suffer with mental illness.
Think about it… about 43.7 million American adults, or over 18% of the total adult population in the U.S., are suffering from mental illness. And to add insult to injury, this statistic only includes those enduring conditions such as depression, bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, ADHD, OCD, and autism.
When you add neurological diseases such as, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis the statistics are staggering!!! This doesn’t even take brain conditions like PTSD and TBIs (traumatic brain injuries) into account!
Like the Scarecrow, all of these precious people just want a healthy brain.
Brain Damage from Your Medicine Cabinet
Drugs will also wreak havoc on your brain. While it is obvious that street drugs are dangerous, you may be surprised to see the devastating effects that prescription drugs and over-the-counter (OTC) medications have on brain health.
Here is some scary research that made me throw out a couple of items in my medicine cabinet! According to a recent Journal of American Medical Association Internal Medicine study, certain medications both prescribed and OTC, can increase a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
The study, conducted at the University of Seattle in Washington, looked at common drugs that have an anticholinergic effect on the brain. This means they interfere with the ability of a crucial brain chemical called acetylcholine (ACh) to attach to nerve cells. Without ACh doing its job transmitting messages between brain cells, you would become drowsy, forgetful and confused.
Some of the medicines that have anticholinergic activity and can increase the possibility of developing dementia are:
- Tricyclic antidepressants, such as doxepin
- Antihistamines like Benadryl (diphen-hydramine)
- Advil PM
- Detrol (tolterodine), which treats overactive bladder
The data was based on 3,434 participants over the age of 64 that did not suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s. After seven years of follow-up, researchers found that 797 participants who had taken the anticholineric drugs developed dementia. Of those that developed dementia, 637 participants (18.5%) eventually developed Alzheimer’s disease.
For a more complete list of which drugs have anticholinergic effects, please visit here. Do you have any of these drugs in your medicine cabinet? If so, you may want to do what I did….throw them in the garbage.
Do you remember the anti-drug ad campaign from the late 1980s that equated eggs being fried with frying one’s brain on drugs? “This is your brain. This is drugs. This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?” Turns out they were right.
Unfortunately, as you can see, a large percentage of brain damage results from drug use. This is true not only of illegal drugs, but also of prescription and OTC medication. The truth is we need to know the long term effects of what we put in our bodies. I am preaching to myself as well!
Help Your Brain by Staying Hydrated
In fact, let me tell about a recent incident in my life. What I did demonstrates that just because we “know” a lot about health and wellness, supplements, proper diet and exercise does not mean we always do everything by the book.
For a few months I have been feeling “off.” Because I wasn’t sleeping well, I started taking Advil PM to help me sleep at night. I also started taking pseudephedrine for my allergies, every night. But when I coupled those medications with a crazy schedule, working long hard hours, and training to become a certified diver, it all became a recipe for disaster!
Staying hydrated in Florida (especially in the summer heat) is one of the most important factors for staying healthy. Well, I made a critical error on my second day of scuba diving certification. I forgot to hydrate before my beach dive!
Even though you are in water when diving, the ocean’s salt and the oxygen tank’s dry air dehydrate you. So if you forget to drink water before you dive, you could have a problem. Immediately after my morning dive I felt fine, but by the middle of the night I was on my way to the emergency room!
You see, I created the perfect storm.
- For months I was burning the candle at both ends.
- I was using OTC medications on a regular basis.
- I failed to properly hydrate, especially before going outside to dive and exercise.
Boom! I put my health at risk with overexertion and the results were adrenal exhaustion and electrolyte imbalance.
Electrolytes are minerals in your blood and other body fluids that carry an electrical charge. Nerve function depends on the processes that electrolytes regulate and maintain. Without these electric transmissions, the brain could not stay in control of the body’s many functions … and I learned this the hard way.
The presence of stress in your life can cause your body to develop an electrolyte imbalance. Electrolytes are part of the most basic of life functions, including nervous system control. Too much or too little of certain electrolytes can cause anxiety leading to a panic attack. I never knew what a panic attack was until I was on my way to the ER. Let me tell you, I don’t ever want to have another one!
When you crash and burn, don’t waste time looking for a culprit. Just look in the mirror, forgive yourself, and do what you know you need to do to get well.
My first choice to remedy the panic attacks was obviously to listen to Wholetones:
- 396HZ (Open Door) is very relaxing and releases anxiety, guilt and fear
- 741HZ (Great Awakening) brings the awareness of God for deep spiritual and emotional healing
A New Mind
If you don’t take care of your brain, it can’t take care of you! Like the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz, I had a brain… I just didn’t use it. And that is the problem with a lot of us…we know what to do but often, for one reason or another, we don’t.
The apostle Paul says something quite similar in Romans 7:19, “I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.”
Imagine for a moment having two hard drives on the desktop of your computer. One is filled with good, the other, evil. And since you own the computer, you can choose which one you want to access.
“For, who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach Him? But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:16
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8
As you can plainly see, it’s up to you to decide what thoughts manifest in that wonderful brain of yours. Remember, as a man thinks, so he is! (Proverbs 23:7)
In writing an article about brain health, I would be remiss in my duty not to mention the Creator of our amazing brains…God Almighty. And since He created the brain, He knows what it takes to keep it healthy. You can eat right, exercise, take all the right supplements and still have an unhealthy brain. Stinking thinking can cripple the healthiest brain.
Here is a proven formula that will keep your brain and your life in tiptop condition. Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the pattern (schematic) of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is…His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Remember, if you ask Jesus into your life…you now have His mind. That’s right…you have two hard drives to choose from! Here’s a hint: use God’s; it’s perfectly healthy.
Your whole life could change for the better right now…if you only had a brain! For me, giving my life to Jesus to run was a “no brainer!”
I urge you to give your life to Jesus Christ and let Him begin transforming your mind to become more like His.
Think about it.