New Year’s Resolution for TBI Patients: 6 Ways to Keep the Brain Healthy After a TBI

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) cause varying effects on each patient depending on the injury’s severity. Some symptoms may be temporary, while others can be more permanent. Fortunately, recovery and symptom improvement are possible in both cases through rehabilitation and therapy. 

Most patients undergo a combination of physical and cognitive therapy to treat and manage the symptoms of TBI. However, this does not mean that you cannot proactively care for your brain’s health through simple yet helpful activities.

This new year, prioritize your brain function and mind health by setting new goals that can help your TBI. Here are some of the most common new year’s resolutions to stick to for a healthier brain.

  • Regular exercise

Most people include “exercise more” in their new year’s resolution to improve their physique and overall physical health. However, studies suggest that exercising, specifically aerobic activities, also has a significant impact on one’s cognitive function.

According to research, regular aerobic exercises have neuroprotective effects on the brain that can improve cognitive deficits associated with TBI. Additionally, engaging in such activities can stimulate the following brain-positive effects:

  • Angiogenesis
  • Neurogenesis
  • Release of neurotrophic factors, which enhances memory and learning.
  • Increased size of the hippocampus
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Release of growth factors

Furthermore, regular exercise can also indirectly improve a patient’s mental and cognitive health by improving sleep and reducing stress and anxiety.

Besides strengthening the brain, aerobic activities may also serve as rehabilitative exercises that can benefit their physical health. Some exercises to try include walking, jogging, cycling, dancing, swimming, or enrolling in an aerobics class.

  • Eat healthier foods

Another typical new year’s resolution, which can boost brain health, is eating a healthy and balanced diet. Patients with TBI should observe proper nutrition and consume foods that fuel the brain and promote recovery. Make sure to eat foods rich in vitamins, minerals, omega 3, and antioxidants, such as:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains, walnuts, pumpkin seeds
  • Fatty fish, like mackerel and salmon
  • Dark chocolate
  • Blueberries and strawberries
  • Lean meat
  • Olive oil and coconut oil

As the brain heals and recovers, it will use up more energy and nutrition than usual, so you need to stack up your storage by eating a balanced diet. Of course, it goes without saying that you should prevent consuming unhealthy foods high in saturated fat, preservatives, and added sugar. 

  • Take up a new hobby

Hobbies bring pleasure, cure boredom, and relieve the everyday stress that life can bring. However, plenty of studies also suggest that having a hobby or taking up a new one enhances overall brain function, especially in patients with TBI. 

Post acute rehabilitation facilities, like NeuLife, include learning new hobbies and skills as part of their rehab program for its plethora of health benefits. It can help patients stay active,  enhance social skills, improve their behavioral issues, and prevent cognitive decline. 

More importantly, brain-friendly hobbies can stimulate neurogenesis and neuroplasticity. This allows the creation of new neural networks and pathways that can help heal brain injuries in the long run. 

Of course, the best hobbies for TBI patients are those that accommodate their restrictions and physical limitations. For example, a recovering patient may stick with art or music rather than physical hobbies to ensure safety. On the other hand, patients with attention problems can start with something easy, such as scrapbooking, before moving on to other challenging activities. 

Remember, full skills and competency levels may or may not return but the important thing is to enjoy and find fulfillment in what you're doing.

  • Quit unhealthy habits

Nicotine from tobacco, cigarette, and e-cigarette has plenty of adverse effects on the brain and its function, such as:

  • Rapid cognitive decline and impairment, which causes memory and learning problems.
  • Loss of brain volume
  • Compromised integrity of subcortical brain regions
  • Increased risk for other neurological problems, such as dementia.
  • Mimic specific neurotransmitters that can cause addiction or withdrawal symptoms.

Like nicotine, excessive alcohol consumption can pretty much destroy the brain as well by impairing memory, shrinking its size, and disrupting normal blood flow. 

Therefore, quitting these unhealthy vices can promote faster brain injury healing and boosts recovery. Without nicotine and alcohol, your body will also be better able to avoid other neurologic conditions and cardiovascular illnesses.  

  • Maintain social ties

It is common for patients to experience social difficulties after a traumatic brain injury. It may be due to physical or cognitive limitations caused by their condition, such as hearing impairment, speech problems, and memory issues. Other factors may include a lack of motivation, feelings of isolation, and lowered self-esteem due to their illness.

However, it’s important to maintain social ties and connections as it can help sharpen thinking skills and improve other brain functions. Additionally, it can help ward off mental health problems typically experienced by TBI patients, such as anxiety and depression. 

Here are some tips on how you can improve your social skills and maintain relationships as you recover from TBI. 

  • Actively participate in your rehabilitation treatment program. It will include activities and therapies that can help enhance your social skills.
  • Working with a therapist or trusted friend to identify your social challenges. You can also practice your social skills with them and get feedback on what you need to improve.
  • Getting or accepting support and help from family and friends.
  • Joining support groups to meet other patients and families struggling with TBI.
  • Participate in your rehab facility’s group activities or courses to meet people with the same interests.


  • Manage stress

Traumatic brain injuries can cause various symptoms that manifest in one’s physical, mental, and psychological well-being. One such example is a patient’s exacerbated response to stress or stressors. 

Studies suggest that individuals with TBI tend to respond poorly to stress. Regardless of severity, patients who suffer from TBI also suffer from poor stress tolerance due to neuroendocrine dysfunction. 

Unfortunately, chronic stress only worsens traumatic brain injuries and their symptoms. Therefore, recovering patients should learn to cope with stress effectively. You can do this by practicing meditation, mindfulness, aerobic exercises, and other relaxation techniques.

Where to find a brain injury rehabilitation center in Florida?

All of these brain-friendly new year’s resolutions can help you overcome the symptoms of TBI. That’s why at NeuLife, we incorporate these activities (and more!) into our individualized rehab programs to promote recovery and improve quality of life.

NeuLife Rehabilitation is one of the best brain injury rehabilitation centers in Florida. Our highly trained team provides quality treatment services to patients with various neurologic and catastrophic injuries. Some of the programs we offer include:

Experience a superior standard of care by contacting us at 800-626-3876. You can also make a referral here


The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.


Dedicated to providing the highest caliber of care to individuals with brain injuries, NeuLife Rehabilitation is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).
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We know that choosing the next step in your recovery from a catastrophic illness or injury is complex. Together, we can help you take the next step.

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