We all know that a healthy mind is essential to living a full and vibrant life. Unfortunately, the loss of brain function is common as we age. But the good news is that in the same way our bodies can benefit from continuous exercise and upkeep, our noggins can too.
Much of our days are based on a series of fixed routines, most of which require very little mental effort. Therefore, proactively shaking things up from time to time helps us to strengthen and preserve our intellect. But it’s not just mental exercises that are needed. From eating the proper foods to the practice of being more present, here are eight simple and effective brain exercises for a healthy mind.
Try something new
If you’ve ever wanted to pick up the violin, learn to sew or become fluent in Italian, now is the time to do so (READ: any time). Whatever you do decide to take on, move on to something new once it’s been mastered (on your own terms of course). Caring for your brain is an unending process, so it’s important to make lifelong learning a top priority.
Meditation has steadily proven itself over the years to produce a number of health benefits, with the ability to boost brain energy being one of them. In addition, meditation can also help to decrease stress, elevate happiness and enhance self-awareness. A very small time commitment, this practice is really a no-brainer (pun intended).
Use your “wrong” or “opposite” hand to occasionally perform ordinary, everyday activities. These don’t have to be anything too complex. Simple tasks such as brushing your teeth or using a knife and fork with your non-dominant hand will challenge a part of your brain that otherwise isn’t often utilized.
Read aloud to yourself, listen to someone else read or alternate reading physical books with listening to audiobooks. This will engage the brain, specifically employing imagination, in a different and new way
Social deprivation can have many negative effects on cognitive abilities. While you should try to surround yourself with those who inspire you, this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to schedule nightly gatherings with friends, colleagues and family. Instead simply make more small daily efforts. Choose to go to the clerk instead of the self-checkout, strike up conversation with a stranger at the train stop, etc.
Get out of touch with the world for at least an hour or two each day. Not only is this beneficial for productivity, but taking a break also helps to improve comprehension and memory and gives the mind time to rest and rejuvenate.
Being our sharpest selves involves physical maintenance just as it does mental. There’s really no doubt that diet plays a major role in brain health. Try to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, cut back on sugar and focus on antioxidants and omega fatty acids.
Exercising and staying in shape impacts cognitive function as well. So make an effort to hit the gym as often as you can throughout each week. Even better? Get outdoors where the environment isn’t so predictable. It’s good to have the mentality that whatever is good for your heart is also good for your mind.
So what are you waiting for? Start boosting brain power today.