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What is the Hello Brain challenge?

Do one thing every day to help your brain to stay healthy. We call that one thing a ‘Brain Buff’ and there are five categories
A pink cloud with the text Hello Brain written on it.
© Trinity College Dublin

Do one thing every day to help your brain to stay healthy. We call that one thing a ‘Brain Buff’.

The challenge has been created by our brain health expert Professor Sabina Brennan. There are five ‘buff’ categories that have benefits for your brain health:

  1. Physical: Physical exercise helps to grow connections in the brain.
  2. Social: Just ten minutes of social interaction can increase your brain’s performance.
  3. Mental: Increased complex mental activity late in life has been linked to lower dementia risk.
  4. Attitude: Stress can impact negatively on brain health. Laughter relieves stress.
  5. Lifestyle: Obesity is linked with an increased risk of developing dementia.

There are three ways that you can take the Hello Brain challenge:

  • If you have a smartphone you can download the app
  • If you have a PC or laptop you can use the web version online
  • You can download and print off a paper version.

With the smartphone and web version, you can monitor your progress with the brainbow visualisation and with the paper version you can keep a visual diary.

Health benefits

The buffs are grounded in science that suggests that brain health benefits when you:

  1. Keep physically active
  2. Stay socially engaged
  3. Challenge your brain
  4. Manage stress and think positively
  5. Adapt your lifestyle, for example, maintain a healthy weight

Some sample ‘brain buffs’ include:

  • Going for a walk at lunchtime.
  • Calling a friend or a relative for a chat.
  • Memorising the stops on your bus/train journey and trying to recall them on the way home.
  • Smiling at least five times today, even or especially if you don’t feel like it.
  • Having a sugar-free day.

Remember, learning is like a powerful brain-changing drug.

Sabina Brennan is a Research Assistant Professor in Psychology at Trinity College Dublin. was funded by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme

© Trinity College Dublin
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