We all know how important it is to take care of our physical health. Yet, we forget the brain also needs to remain healthy too. As many people say, it is a muscle.
There are many reasons to help keep the mind active, for example. It helps reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and helps with memory and organisation. However, in this day and age, with our hectic lifestyles and busy work schedules, it can be busy trying to keep our brains healthy and active.
Today I’m going to provide you with simple ways to keep your brain active, engaged and healthy that will fit into your busy lifestyle.
1. Puzzles, Crosswords, Sudoku
As I stated earlier, the brain is a muscle. It likes to be exercised. You can’t take your brain and make it run. However, you can do puzzles before bed. Completing a game like a Soduku a crossword. Heck, even do the Gen z thing and play brain training. Trying to work out the clues and numbers stimulates the brain and helps the connections. It’s like a jog on a sunny day for the synapses, muscles and memory. You’ll find if you do this regularly, your memory and ability to recall things such as names and places shall improve.
Now just because you are exercising your brain doesn’t mean you should stop exercising physically. Even if its weights in the gym or you have to do it at home. (Read the article on some exercise’s you can do here.) It’ll be good for your brain. It will stimulate blood flow which reduces the effects of ageing on the brain. It’ll lower the decline in mental function. Many experts suggest exercising between thirty to sixty minutes every day to get the full advantages on the brain.
3. Less TV and less social media
Watching TV and going on social media are passive activities. Meaning they don’t do much to engage your brain, which can add to ageing your brain and muddle up the connections, which will make your memory and ability to recall information less effective. That doesn’t mean stop completely. (We all need to watch a trashy tv programme now and again!) It’s all about balancing the activities, so you get the best of both worlds! Doing this can improve memory, organisation and help your brains muscles get stronger.
4. Sleep is not for the weak
Many of us struggle to sleep. (I didn’t get to sleep till 1. A.M, so trust me, I know.) It is challenging you’ve if you’ve got a strict deadline or you are a university student, and you’ve got to pull an all-nighter (if you are black coffee and four sugars, it’ll help.) If possible, try to aim for seven to eight hours of sleep a night. Many experts think sleep helps to consolidate memories in the brain. Reports also show it helps with memory and will boost the health of the brain generally. If you struggle getting rested, try reading a book before bed or one of those puzzles I mentioned in tip one!
5. Read a book
Much like doing a crossword or a similar puzzle, reading a book will help stimulate the brain. It has to imagine all the action and dialogue happening. It encourages connections and helps with memory. On top of that, reading will also help you expand your vocabulary and help to improve your communication skills. You honestly can’t go wrong with this one. If you want a book recommendation, I suggest His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman or The Midnight Library by Matt Haig.
Since being stuck in a pandemic for two years now, socialising has been at the bottom of our to-do list among fighting for toilet roll and trying to stay six feet away from everyone! However, you do it. On an online message board, Twitter thread, in person or at a party. Socialise with people you care for and can trust. It reduces your loneliness and feelings of isolation, which can help lower depression, affecting your memory and increasing the brain’s age due to stress. Remain in contact with people even when it's chaotic to help your brain!
7. Keep an eye on your blood pressure
Your blood pressure is essential for your physical health. However, you might not have known it can affect your brain too! Having high blood pressure (particularly if you’re middle-aged) can decrease your cognitive function and ability to process information at old age. Keep exercising and trying to maintain a healthy diet. You’re brain and body will thank you for it eventually!
I hope these tips have helped you find ways to keep your brain engaged even when life gets chaotic and you want to go to sleep. Here’s to keeping our minds as sharp and as fit as our bodies!
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