JOIN ME ON AN AMAZING
BRAIN MAKEOVER ADVENTURE
How I discovered
Six Neuroscience Strategies for Success
and unlocked the secret to living a Brain First life!
Did you know there are over 76 million baby boomers in America?
Did you know we are at risk for premature brain aging and the devastation Alzheimer’s?
Did you know it’s much worse for women?
I ‘m one of those 76 million baby boomers.
I’m a woman at risk.
And yet at the age 70 I ‘m also the oldest person to ever compete in the
USA Memory Championship and earn the title of Mental Athlete.
HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?
I learned that I could fight back.
I could be proactive in protecting my brain.
I became a brain warrior!
A BOOMER BRAIN CHALLENGE
I’m Dr. Kaye, a baby boomer, a grandmother, a teacher, a lifelong learner, and a passionate advocate for the prevention of Alzheimer’s. So much so, that at age seventy, I challenged myself to enter the USA Memory Championship and earn the title of Mental Athlete.
I did it to prove to myself, that my age was not a barrier to a better brain. Or to setting and achieving new goals. Or to taking risks.
It turns out I was right. Age doesn’t have to be a barrier to building up your brain. Because to my surprise, I did train my brain. I did enter the competition. I did improve my own working memory by an amazing six hundred percent.
But that’s not the whole story. The story is about how I met my own brain for the very first time. It’s about the journey we took together. It’s about how my brain became my very best friend and changed my life!
MY BIG BRAIN ADVENTURE BEGINS
For decades, my focus was on my body, never my brain.
And then something remarkable happened.
I discovered my brain and my life changed.
In just a matter of weeks, I had clarity and focus.
I made better, smarter decisions.
I dusted off old goals and reached them.
I set new goals and reached those too.
I was happier.
I slept better.
All my stress just seemed to melt away.
I even started to lose weight.
All this and more because I discovered the power of my own brain.
I NEEDED AN EDGE
When I learned that I would be competing against mental athletes who had not only been practicing memory skills for ages, but were thirty, forty, even fifty or more years younger than me I knew that I needed an edge. So I went looking for ways that I could turn back the clock on my aging brain and rejuvenate it. I needed to give my brain a makeover.
I HAD BEEN TAKING MY BRAIN FOR GRANTED FOR DECADES
Today, writing this, it seems incredible to me that I had walked around with my brain for decades and we never really met.
Of course, I got the occasional headache, so I knew it was there, but I never gave it much thought beyond feeding it an aspirin.
In fact, I gave it no thought at all.
I took it for granted.
I just expected that my brain would do its thing. That it would keep my heart and lungs pumping away. That it would help that decadent piece of cheesecake I had for a snack get digested, that it would somehow make sure that the multivitamin I took every day would get to where it needed to go.
I gave no thought to any of the miraculous cognitive functions my brain performed seamlessly every day. Backing out of my parking space. Putting one foot in front of the other. Adding a column of numbers. Reaching for exactly the right dish in exactly the right cupboard. And the list goes on, and on, and on.
When I was in high school, I noticed my brain briefly, especially when I tried to cram a semester’s worth of information into it in a single fatigue-fueled pre-test night.
But suddenly I was getting older.
More and more aging brain and dementia articles started to find their way into my news feed.
More and more of those Alzheimer self-tests started to pop up.
I decided to dig deeper.
What I unearthed scared me.
THE TERROR OF ALZHEIMER’S
I learned that the ravages of Alzheimer’s don’t care who you are.
I learned that women are at a higher risk.
I learned that I was getting dangerously close to the age where it could easy come looking for me, and I could lose everyone I ever loved and everything I ever had. And worst of all, I could lose myself – the years of experiences and memories that made me unique.
I suddenly realized that the brain I had ignored my entire life could turn on me and not only could it make it more difficult if not impossible to build up my memory, but it could also erase what memory I already had.
NOTICING MY BRAIN BUT NOT IN A GOOD WAY
I started to notice my brain, but not in a good way. The fragility, or what I imagined was the fragility of my own brain, scared me.
I was a baby boomer.
I was a woman.
I was at risk for Alzheimer’s.
So very tentatively and somewhat reluctantly, I took my first timid peek at my own brain and its state of health.
I found that obesity was a risk factor for dementia.
I was overweight. Correction. According to all the charts I googled – I was obese.
I found that lack of sleep was a risk factor.
I hadn’t slept the required seven hours since high school. I had existed on sleep fumes for years.
I found that lack of exercise was a risk factor.
I was a confirmed couch potato. The only time I actually got up was to dust off the exercise bike sitting unused in the corner of my bedroom.
I found that poor nutrition was a risk factor.
I was a fast food junkie. Sweet. Salty. Crunchy. Greasy. I loved it all.
The list went on, seemingly endlessly. There was my environment, the way my home office looked, the fact that my stress levels were off the charts and rarely dropped below the red zone. Even my social life – or lack of one – was added to my Alzheimer’s risk factors list. They were adding up. And the sum total was not good.
And then it got worse.
I realized with a shock, that not only were all these risk factors for premature brain aging and Alzheimer’s in the long run, but they were also significant negative factors in my quest for a better memory in the short run. And the USA Memory Championship was just around the corner. I needed a way to turn those risk factors around. I needed to protect and sharpen up my brain. I needed to boost my concentration and focus. I needed to make better decisions, faster. I needed to learn more effectively, to retain what I learned, and recall it flawlessly, on demand and within seconds.
A BRAIN WARRIOR IS BORN
I started to look for ways to optimize my brain – to build it up, to strengthen it, and to turn back my the clock on my aging brain so that I could level the playing field. I was the oldest person to ever even try to compete in a memory championship. I was also the oldest woman to ever compete. And the field of competitors was crowded with stellar mental athletes in their twenties, thirties, and forties. There were even teen entrants from high schools.
Some of the competitors I was about to face at the competition had brains that were more than fifty years younger than mine!
I was determined not to give up before I had even begun. But I knew I needed more than just memory skills.
I need a whole new brain strategy.
It was no longer enough for me to improve my memory.
I had a bigger mission.
I had to rejuvenate my whole brain.
I had to become a brain warrior!
A GLIMMER OF LIGHT
I hit the books. I read everything I could get my hands on about the brain and how to boost its cognitive function. And what I read totally amazed me.
I began to understand that while there is no cure or reliable pharmaceutical intervention for Alzheimer’s there was a glimmer of hope in the books and studies I was researching. There was a faint light on the neuroscientific horizon.
Neuroscientists had begun to find that there were things we could do improve our brain and to protect it from premature aging and everything that went with it.
Neuroscience had discovered proactive strategies for aging brains.
FROM TEACHER TO STUDENT
I knew about learning. I had started my career as a classroom teacher and then moved into educational publishing. I became a writing coach. Many of my authors’ saw their books listed on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller lists. Later I served as a professor, creating leadership courses and lecturing on digital technology for non-profit organizations, educational institutions, and mega churches.
But nothing in my past prepared me for what was about to happen in my future.
THE MENTAL MAGIC BEGINS
My independent crash course of study was beginning to pay off.
I was getting glimpses of what I could do to boost my brain power, improve my cognitive functions, and most important, build up my memory.
But I wanted more.
I started to test some of the theories. I started to become more proactive. I began to implement some of the lifestyle strategies I had been reading about to rejuvenate and protect my brain.
And the lifestyle modifications began to work.
I was changing.
Not only was my memory improving, but something shifted. I moved from living a body first life, to living a brain first life.
And that’s when the magic began.
OFF TO HARVARD
You have to understand. Before I did my deep dive into neuroscience I would never have imagined attending Harvard.
My own educational journey up to this point included a BA, B.Ed, a Masters, and a PhD. Most of my education was hard won and happened later in my life well into my adulthood. And even though I had managed to achieve advanced degrees I had no confidence in myself.
I had always been a so-so student. Every time I remembered my early attempts at school, my memories were tainted by lots of red marks and failing grades. To even think about Harvard was such a mental leap for me. But I did think about it.
My tentative self-experiments in building my own brain were showing some promise. My confidence was increasing.
Harvard was a dream.
But I had a dream.
I had learned a little.
Now I wanted to learn more.
I started to study Mind, Brain, Health and Education with Harvard professor Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa, who was very active in the neuroscience of education and learning and the author of several of the books that first inspired me to push the boundaries of my own brain.
It was amazing.
On my own I had been rowing my brain like it was an old, leaky rowboat. Harvard gave me one of the world’s most powerful engines! My brain and I raced across the neuroscience sea and never looked back until we got a grade of 95.12% which was an A!
THE SIX SECRETS
These aren’t really secrets. But they are the six critical lifestyle areas that neuroscience research found to be effective to help offset premature brain aging and Alzheimer’s disease.
I focused on applying these six neuroscience-based lifestyle strategies to my life to optimize and rejuvenate my brain, improve my cognitive functions, and reduce my risk factors for age-related dementia.
And they worked for me.
They worked really well.
They took me and my brain all the way to the USA Memory Championship and beyond!
These six lifestyle areas were my key to protecting myself and my brain from premature brain aging and Alzheimer’s, while invigorating my neural networks, optimizing my cognitive skills, and bringing success to every area of my life!
And what about my memory? How did these lifestyle modifications affect the one thing that started this entire journey of self-discovery?
My brain fitness also improved.
In fact, it was so much better than I had ever expected. I felt it was off the charts!
I was able to memorize three, four, even five or more times the seven digits that are often cited as the norm for working memory.
I remembered names and faces. My students. The authors of books I read. The scientists whose studies I had poured over. Actors, singers, dancers I saw on television and online. But the best was when I remembered and spoke the names of all the wonderful people who eased my transit through each day – the servers, baristas, tellers, cashiers, grocery baggers, shelf restockers, receptionists, nurses, sales clerks, and dozens and dozens of others who give such amazing service and too often remain anonymous. I got such joy seeing the surprised smiles on the faces of people I met every day, when I called them by their name. I made lots of new friends!
I turned off my GPS, and let my brain do the navigating.
I never again wrote a grocery list – I never forgot a single item.
I became a memorizing whirlwind. I memorized all my passwords. My credit card numbers. Phone numbers of family and friends (no more offloading that task to a digital brain – it was now part of my ‘keep my brain young and healthy’ routine.
IN SYNC AT LAST
These six lifestyle strategies helped my brain and me really connect. Before I knew it, we were in sync for the first time. And that connection unlocked amazing potential I never even imagined I had.This great adventure had started with me simply wanted to memorize enough to improve my memory muscle and not totally embarrass myself by competing in the USA Memory Championship. But then I discovered, that the secret to improving my memory lay in improving my entire brain, in providing an atmosphere and environment in which my brain could thrive and grow.
MY JOURNAL BECOMES A BOOK
I reach out to as many people and organizations as possible to reassure them that there are neuroscience-supported lifestyle changes that can not only rejuvenate our brains, keeping them healthy and sharp, but can also help protect them from premature aging and Alzheimer’s.I have discovered success by living my life, Brain First!
You too can learn and implement the six neuroscience-based lifestyle changes that allowed me to get healthier, happier, smarter, rejuvenate my brain and help protect it from premature aging and Alzheimer’s. Simple. Fun. Fast. Get started today by downloading the book.
THE BRAIN FIRST PROJECT IS BORN!
Through the Brain First Project I help individuals and organizations optimize and rejuvenate their brains. Get healthier. Happier. Smarter. Faster.
I would love to talk to you about how I can help you live more successfully BRAIN FIRST!