Decluttering + Prevagen = Healthier Brain

Posted by on December 4, 2019 in Stuff with 0 Comments

Who isn’t busy? Jobs, kids, and the details of daily life can be quite demanding. Amid the chaos, stacks of mail, papers, books, clothes, and shoes get tossed aside. We scroll through social media endlessly, ordering bargain-priced items that we might never use. All of this stuff clutters our living spaces and takes a toll on the brain.

Do you struggle to remember names? Get foggy about yesterday’s meeting? React too loudly when your kids try your patience? It’s possible that the clutter in your living (and work) environment is taking a toll on your brain and your peace of mind.

Research shows that the human brain is easily distracted by a cluttered environment. Even digital clutter – social media, texts, and emails – becomes overwhelming. The brain becomes less productive and less able to focus and process your current situation.

Mental health counselors advise that the clutter is taking a toll, and it’s time to simplify. But there’s even more that you can do to boost your brain health.

A dietary supplement called Prevagen looks very promising as a brain-boosting nutritional supplement, as this oral pill has been clinically shown to help with mild memory loss associated with normal aging.*

Here’s evidence to consider:

  • In a computer-assessed, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical study, Prevagen improved certain aspects of cognitive function over a 90-day period.*
  • In a clinical trial, a subgroup of adults with mild, age-related cognitive impairment taking just one Prevagen a day over 90 days were shown to improve in measurements related to memory.*

Researchers report that Prevagen improves memory* and supports healthy brain function,* a sharper mind,* and clearer thinking.* Interestingly, Prevagen contains apoaequorin, an ingredient originally discovered in jellyfish.*

This is exciting news. It’s yet another way to help the brain function optimally. But of course, a supplement can’t do it all. You’ve got to take steps to address your clutter dilemma and get it under control.

You might ask: is it really that big a problem? Let’s look at the research first. Then outline the steps that you can take to streamline your life.

Unpacking Our Clutter Disorder

For many of us, all of the “stuff” in our lives is a beloved mess. We love our things. In fact, our love of stuff has caused the average size of our homes to explode. Whereas the average size of a new American home in 1950 was 983 square feet, by 2011, the average new home was 2,480 square feet. Also, the personal storage industry is booming – now valued at $22 billion.

But a group of UCLA researchers found that all of these goodies are taking a toll. They studied 32 middle-class Los Angeles families, finding that the mothers’ stress hormones spiked when they dealt with the clutter of their belongings. Three-quarters of the families couldn’t park their cars in their garages because they were so packed with stuff.

How Do We Accumulate All of This Clutter?

And why does stuff have such a negative effect on the body?

Think about your spending habits. An item pops up in your Facebook feed. “Hey, I might need that” or “I really need that,” your brain says. You hold onto that item, very often untouched, for months, or even years. You believe that you’ll use that thing or wear those things when the time is right. You hang on and hang on – and the time is never (or rarely) right.

Admitting that you don’t need all of these things actually hurts your brain, says a group of Yale researchers. Two areas of your brain are associated with pain. They light up when you express love for your things and when you get rid of those things.

These two regions of the brain – the anterior cingulate cortex and insula – also light up when you feel physical pain, like a cat scratch or a burnt finger. Your brain equates the loss of physical possessions with real physical pain. If you’re emotionally attached to that thing, or spent lots of money on it, your brain is more likely to feel pain at its loss.

Also, the more you’ve touched an item, the more emotionally attached you will be. A study analyzed people at an auction looking at coffee mugs. Those who spent more time holding the mugs were inclined to make higher bids on them at auction time. Take that high-priced item home, and you’ll perceive its higher value – which makes it harder to give up later on.

This psychological connection keeps us in the cycle of hoarding stuff.

How Clutter Affects Your Brain

Whether it’s your desk or your bedroom closet, excess things can affect your ability to focus and process information. That’s what neuroscientists at Princeton University found when studying people’s performance in an organized versus disorganized environment. This study showed that physical clutter competes for your attention, which increases your stress and decreases your performance.

Digital clutter is another irritant that contributes to overload. All of those Twitter and Facebook notifications, as well as cell phone pings, fight for your attention.

In your brain, this is a form of multitasking – and it’s not productive. When your senses are overloaded, you feel stressed and can’t think creatively. Digital clutter has the same effect on your brain as physical clutter. You’ll find it difficult to filter the messages. It’s hard to switch from one task to another. And just try to remember all of the details.

In fact, clutter inevitably leads to procrastination. In your brain, all of these distractions are processed as tasks that require action. If no action is taken, it’s just one among the many inactions. By taking action more quickly, you get things organized, action comes more easily, and you break the “brain clog” that’s hindering productivity.

All of this distraction robs your time and money as you waste time searching through papers and other debris. One estimate shows that Americans waste nine million hours daily simply searching for items. Nearly one-quarter of Americans pay late penalties because they’ve lost the bills.

There’s even a toll on your health caused by clutter. Stress hormones are higher in your body, which can cause weight gain. You might develop eating habits that are counterproductive.

And the accumulation of objects creates a haven for dust mites and other allergens.

Here’s the Flip Side

You might be reading this thinking, “What’s the big deal about clutter?”

Some people thrive amid clutter. It’s your perception of clutter that matters, researchers say. If those extra items on your desk, your bed, or your floor don’t bother you, then it’s not a problem for you. Create a space that makes you feel comfortable. If you’re productive and creative in the midst of chaos and clutter, be grateful that it works for you.

Research shows that some people need a mess in their environment to feel inspired. For them, a clean desk is evidence of dormancy – a sign that zero progress has been made. Even Steve Jobs, the Apple visionary with the laser-focused mind, flourished in a messy home office.

But if you know that the mess is distracting you, it’s critical to take action.

What Can You Do?

Make “master clutter” your mantra. Resolve to eliminate stuff, both physical things and digital messages. Figure out how to get control so that you can focus on the important things.

Set Limits

Limit the number of people you follow on social media. You can check their newsfeeds periodically to stay in touch, but cutting back will help simplify the messages that your brain must deal with daily.

Limit the apps and books that you own. Uninstall apps if you don’t use them. Buy books only when you’re finished reading the current one. Information overload is a real thing, so it’s important to set limits. Focus on enjoying what you’ve got, then move on to the next. The “save” function is a great tool so you don’t forget.

Control Storage Spaces

Could your closet be cut to fewer hangers? Could you travel with a smaller bag? Do you really need that new [fill in the blank]? Ask yourself these sorts of questions about your life and environment. As you get storage space under control, you’ll figure out what is essential and what can be tossed.

Check Your Closet Every Season

Prepare to donate items that you’ve stopped wearing. Try them on, then put the discards in a bag. You can sell them online or donate them. If this process is overwhelming, why not cut one item per week? Narrow it all down to those favorites that you actually wear.

Organize Work Clutter

Is your desktop a mess? Do you have files, mail, and papers stacked up? Get a cabinet (or two) to gain control. When you don’t need an item, keep it out of sight. Take a few minutes every Friday to “pack up the week” and get things in order. On Monday morning, you’ll face the new week feeling much more relaxed.

Organize your computer desktop as well. Create a “This Week” folder and move docs into the folder every night. Review them as needed, and file them. Organize open web pages in a similar way, with tabs in new folders. Review them as needed, and close when done with them.

You’ll feel the progress that you make and keep the chaos contained even on a very busy week.

Your Personal Tipping Point

Clutter, whether physical or digital, can be controlled. You’ll feel more productive – and your mind will get a break from the chaos.

For extra support of your brain health, put Prevagen on your online shopping list. Feel satisfaction in ordering a dietary supplement that’s good for your brain health. You’re moving in the right direction – making choices that improve your life, rather than clutter it.

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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