As we move through life, we expect things like our joints and muscles to weaken, but often forget about taking care of our mind. The brain runs the show for everything we do, so make sure it gets the attention it deserves. Here are a few tips to keep your mind sharp for both the present and the future.
1. Stay Informed
It’s so important for people to stay informed. Keeping up with present events and topics can help you stay aware of the world and any new developments as they are made. This can be done through a variety of methods, from watching the news to listening to podcasts about innovative technology to viewing documentaries on current subjects that are trending.
2. Get Moving
Whether it be dancing, playing tennis, or simply taking the dog for a walk around the block, getting some form of aerobic exercise is one of the single best things you can do for your brain’s cognitive function. For one, more oxygen is able to circulate through your brain as your heart beats faster. Your body also releases dopamine, which is a “feel good” hormone directly involved in things like motivation, motor control, and your overall mood.
3. Brain Games
While it’s important to work your body physically, it’s just as vital to work out your mind. While you may think that games are simply there to bust boredom and kill time, simple games can have a positive impact. Things such as a jigsaw or crossword puzzles can help you de-stress and can even work to improve your memory. Some other great options include sudoku, solitaire, or even a class matching card game.
4. Eat Right
You’ve probably heard the saying, “you are what you eat.” But while your stomach and brain might not feel very close, they actually have a lot in common. What you eat can play a huge factor in your mind’s health. It can affect your energy levels, your moods, and even the general functioning capacity of your brain.
Specifically, vitamins and healthy fats play a key role in how well your brain will function. Leafy green vegetables like spinach have also been shown to prevent neuro-cellular damage and degeneration. On the other hand, be sure to steer clear of the foods that can end up causing your brain harm. For example, avoiding sugars, processed foods, and saturated fats is a great place to start.
5. Learn a New Language
When it comes to your brain’s inner workings, learning a new language is one of the best ways to keep the cogs turning. Using at least two languages can have a big boost of benefits for our brains. It can even help delay the onset of certain degenerative diseases. The best part? It’s now easier than ever before to pick up a few new words of a foreign language with the help of games and apps right on your phone.
6. Count Sheep
You already know that if you want to avoid an unnecessarily tough day, you need to get enough sleep the night before. But your brain needs sleep to clear toxins and process thoughts that are built up throughout the day. Sleep also plays a direct role in retaining information that you learn throughout the day. In fact, your brain uses sleep as a tool to store memory long term. Getting enough sleep can also help keep your emotions and stress levels in check.
7. Take it Easy
Stress has a direct effect on the mind: it can actually shrink your prefrontal cortex over time. This can impact your ability to learn and remember information. Do yourself a favor and set aside time to relax every single day. Your future self will thank you — and be a lot less forgetful, too!
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