This article is about the brain and keeping it alert, functional and healthy. There are tips here that will help in keeping the brain active and engaged.
Our society is growing older everyday and there is not much we can do about that except eat right, exercise and keep mentally active. But, there are simple things we can do that will help us remain mentally active and alert and they are easy to do and will help keep us more productive and healthier.
Let’s look at some simple things we can do each day….
Diet. We’ve all heard in the last 20 to 30 years the importance of diet but more so these last few years. We have found that foods that are high in saturated fats such as pastry, sausages, cakes, pies and biscuits can actually speed up one’s mental decline. But, foods such as green leafy vegetables, oily fish, salads that are rich with various vegetables are not only good for the brain but actually slow down the mental decline of the brain.
Exercise. For years most of have heard about the benefits of exercise when it comes to getting the weight off and helping the heart to stay healthy but many are finding that exercise also helps to increase the blood flow—which helps in circulation and helps prevent and lessen depression, anxiety, and other emotional concerns. It is also been found to help prevent certain cancers such as breast cancer. And, because walking can be done most anywhere and is free and is the best overall exercise, there is really no excuse for not getting out there and doing it!
Mental Stimulation. As we age, some don’t think that it’s necessary to keep the mind stimulated with reading, interacting with others, etc. But, mental stimulation—that of reading, trying out new hobbies, crossword puzzles, etc, can do wonders in keeping the brain young, active and involved.
There are many ways to engage in daily mental workouts such as working a puzzle or crossword puzzle, reading more, playing mind games such as chess or bridge, joining a choir group, taking a day or evening class, doing some voluntary work such as working in a nursing home and upping your exercise program by including some new and different workout.
It has been found, too, that mental stimulation can also be improved by simply turning off the TV and either reading, working puzzles or exercising. Watching too much TV numbs the mind and is way too passive.
In addition, be sure to take time to think and analyze your life. So often our lives become so complex and busy that we don’t have time to organize and plan our daily activities and keep priorities that are important to us such as family, career responsibilities, and our health. It is important to focus and understand on what is important to our lives and what is not. Spending time just by yourself helps greatly in sorting out what we value and what is not of value in our lives.
Getting enough sleep and keeping stress at a manageable level also helps to keep the brain healthy and alert. Have you noticed how much better you cope when you get a good night’s sleep? The brain is ready and more able to cope with whatever comes because it has had sufficient rest and good REM sleep. Learning how to manage stress is also vital in keeping the brain mentally active and healthy. Too much stress tires the brain and limits its ability to handle problems, anxieties and challenges that come to all of us.
Coping abilities can be enhanced by getting good sleep, eating a more balanced diet, keeping socially active, talking with someone you trust about concerns you have and of course, enrolling in life enhancement courses and of course, learning from your mistakes.
So, getting older doesn’t have to mean loss of memory, lack of stimulating activities and a dull routine. Basically, keeping an active brain is up to you. The choices are many and often free in keeping your brain active, healthy and young. And, keep in mind that your local library is full of engaging activities to keep you going—not only with books, magazines, reference materials, videos and such but with social activities that engage the mind and heart in so many ways. And, the best part is that most of their services are free!
Directgov Staying Mentally Active. Retrieved April 5, 2010 from: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Pensionsandretirementplanning/Over50HealthAndWellBeing/
Alzheimer's Association Stay Mentally Active. Retrieved April 5, 2010 from: http://www.alz.org/we_can_help_stay_mentally_active.asp