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10 Biggest Brain Mistakes

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

The 10 Biggest Mistakes People Make For Their Brains

August 23, 2023


Content updated from previous publish date.

Blog originally created and published by Amen Clinics

Your brain controls your entire life and everything you think, say and do. It’s the most important organ in your body… but how much do you really think about it? And if you do think about it, do you really know how to take care of it? After more than 3 decades of clinical practice, psychiatrists, integrative medicine (also known as functional medicine) physicians, and brain health experts at Amen Clinics have seen many bad brain habits. Unfortunately, some of the most common brain mistakes negatively impact success at work; damage relationships; lead to issues like memory loss, cognitive decline, depression, and anxiety; and ultimately, ruin lives. How many of these brain mistakes are you making?

Some of the most common brain mistakes negatively impact success at work; damage relationships; lead to issues like memory loss, cognitive decline, depression, and anxiety; and ultimately, ruin lives.CLICK TO TWEET


Here are the top 10 biggest mistakes people make when it comes to the brain:

1. Not caring about your brain

Being oblivious about the health of your brain is one of the worst mistakes you can make. It means you don’t think about the consequences of your thoughts and actions or how they influence your brain health, cognitive performance, or mental well-being. If you want to be happy, productive, and effective in your daily life—now and years in the future—you must love and care for your brain.

2. Letting kids put their brains at risk

It only takes one head injury to change the course of a child’s or teenager’s life forever. Don’t let kids play contact sports, and don’t make the mistake of thinking helmets protect their brains. They are designed to protect against skull fractures, but they do not necessarily prevent damage to the brain, such as abnormal activity or decreased blood flow. You need to protect their developing brains.

3. Poisoning your brain

Drinking too much or using drugs (even some prescription medications), smoking (or vaping), consuming excessive caffeine, and exposure to environmental toxins all reduce brain blood flow and activity, which negatively affects cognitive abilities as well as moods. Alcohol is NOT a health food!

4. Low-fat diets

The brain is 60% fat and its 100 billion nerve cells have membranes that are lined with essential fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids support and enhance your brainpower. Low cholesterol is associated with homicide, suicidedepression, and autism.

5. No clear goals to help the brain achieve

Without specific goals to help you guide your behavior, you’re more likely to fall into negative patterns that are harmful to the brain. Setting goals and working to achieve them provides a sense of accomplishment. With goals, your life becomes more conscious, and your energy is directed in healthy ways.

6. Too much screen time

Constantly checking your email, scrolling through your social media feed, and bingeing on Netflix are activities that hijack your brain. And the research is compelling: As video game and technology usage goes up, so do obesity and depression. Limit screen/device time to no more than 30 minutes a day. This may be hard for kids and teens, but it can make a huge difference, especially if they struggle with focus and attention, or if they have ADD/ADHD.

7. No new learning

When you stop learning, your brain starts dying. And it puts you at increased risk for memory problems. Your brain is like a muscle—the more you use it, the stronger it gets! Your brain needs a constant stream of new challenges, adventures, sights, and skills to remain active over time.

8. Not seeking help for mental health issues or memory problems

Did you know that it takes an average of 11 years from the time mental health symptoms arise until a person gets treatment, according to the National Alliance on Mental Health? Untreated mental health problems can devastate your life and increase the chances of job failure, divorce, unhappiness, and even suicide. Similarly, dementia processes start in the brain decades before symptoms appear. Early detection with brain SPECT imaging gives people the opportunity to address these issues during the early stages—when treatment is likely to be most effective.

9. Believing every negative thought you have

ANTs are those pesky “automatic negative thoughts” that pop up in your brain automatically and ruin your day. Left unchallenged, they will take over your thoughts and increase the levels of stress hormones circulating through your body, which lowers your brain reserve, increases anxiety, impacts your moods, and puts you at greater risk for age-related cognitive decline.

10. Not caring for the brains of your loved ones

Did you know that the health of your family and friends is one of the strongest predictors of longevity? A friend is someone who helps their loved ones be successful, while an accomplice is someone who helps them maintain their bad habits. Be a friend to the people you love and spread the word about brain health.


When you discard the 10 bad brain habits and replace them with strategies that boost brainpower, you lay a foundation for success in all aspects of life. Learning to love and care for your brain and seeking help for any brain-based mental health issues early can turn your life around.

Depression, anxiety, aggression, suicidal thoughts, and other mental health issues can’t wait. Find out more by speaking to an Amen Clinic specialist today at 866-499-0734 or visit our contact page here.

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