Your brain is a biological machine, and while forgetfulness or being less mentally sharp might be seen as a natural progression of age, it doesn’t always have to be. Senior moments, like forgetting your keys or walking into a room and not remembering why you went into it might be the norm for you, but there are things that you can do to keep your brain mentally active for now and into the future.
In fact, research suggests that keeping your mind active in earlier life is beneficial for preventing problems in later life, like Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia.
We all know that if your physical health needs help, then you can add changes to diet and exercise to your life – if you want to lose weight, you might eat more salads or start jogging. The same can be said for your mental health and acuity, too.
If you are looking for ways to strengthen your mind and stay mentally active, then the tips below will help you.
Try a New Hobby
Learning something new helps to build more neural networks, and a new hobby can be a fun and interesting thing to learn.
You might want to take up playing an instrument – following a YouTube tutorial to pick up the guitar, for example. Other options include things like painting, gardening, or photography, and you will find it even more beneficial if you attend a class to learn because you will get the opportunity to meet new people and develop new friendships.
Develop and Maintain Relationships
Humans are social creatures, and the mental agility you will need to hold conversations, have debates, and put the world to rights over coffee and cake is an excellent way to keep your brain active.
Through learning a new hobby, you might meet some new people, for example, and you will get the opportunity to learn and remember facts and information about them.
Keeping your mind active can be fun, and playing games is a great option. You can choose to complete jigsaw puzzles, or pick up a crossword, sudoku, or a wordsearch.
There are also online options for games that you can play. Brain training apps exist on smartphones, and they have been clinically proven to have excellent results around the decline of mental ability. You can also play online casino games like poker for a fun and exciting way to flex your brain muscle.
Learn a Language
Being multilingual will only have excellent results for you, especially if you learn a language from a country that you want to visit.
Learning a new language helps to develop the brain in many different ways, it helps you to understand more about your home language. You can choose to learn a new language through an adult college course or even via an online app on your smartphone now – which is a great option for convenience.
Exercise is a wonderful way to stay physically healthy as well as mentally healthy, getting the fell-good hormones flowing and giving you time and space to think through different things. You can choose anything from a brisk walk to weightlifting, or maybe something completely new and interesting like taking up ballroom dancing.
While some of the headlines around ‘brain-boosting superfoods’ might come across as hyperbole, there have been studies that show certain foods really do have excellent nutritional value specifically for brain health. Focus on eating fatty fish, fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, and avoid sugar and saturated fats to give your brain the fuel it needs to be successful.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is often overlooked when it comes to health in general. While we might not have a complete picture of what the brain and the body goes through during sleep, there is lots of research that shows how getting too little (or even too much) sleep is detrimental to mental capacity.
Aim for a regular sleep schedule, going to sleep and waking up at the same time, with 6-8 hours a night.
Taking some time to think about not thinking, and instead focusing on simple things like your breath, has restorative purposes that help remove the ‘noise’ and help the brain to work more.
All you need is 5-10 minutes a day to spend in quiet reflection.
When you are starting something new and building new habits, creating a schedule is an excellent way to make sure you give enough time to whatever you are choosing to do.
When it comes to building better brain health and staying mentally active, prevention is better than cure and it is never too early to start looking after brain health, so choose the method that is most suited to you and your personality.