You can decrease and even prevent memory decline with some healthy basic habits. Read on to discover how to keep your mind sharp here.
Have you been lagging off lately?
While you probably know that you need to do exercises to keep your body fit, you should also be aware that it’s important for you to perform exercises in order to keep your mind strong too. And during these unprecedented times of COVID-19, where it’s so easy to spend hours watching television and eating junk food, it’s become more important than ever to keep your mind sharp and focused.
Thankfully, there are a number of simple and easy activities and tasks that you can do in order to keep your brain strong and healthy. Interested in learning more? Continue reading and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know.
1. Take Care of Your Body to Take Care of Your Mind
If you want to keep your mind fit, you’re going to have to start by keeping your body fit. When you practice healthy behaviors, such as eating healthy foods and exercising daily, your brain will become less vulnerable to cognitive decline that’s related to the aging process.
In fact, exercise can make you smarter and also prevent your brain from shrinking as you get older. Exercising can also lead to an increase in the formation of new brain cells, known as neurogenesis, in the brain’s hippocampus.
2. From Memory, Draw a Map of Your Town
How well do you know your own neighborhood? Like the back of your hand? Do you think you could navigate the streets with your eyes closed?
A great way to challenge your brain is to actually draw out a map of your neighborhood or town from memory. No Google Maps allowed! Try your best to include major streets, major side streets, and any important landmarks you can think of.
After you’ve drawn your map, compare your memory map to an actual map of your town. How well did you do? Are you surprised by some of the things you forgot about?
If you find that this activity is too easy for you, try drawing the map of an area that you don’t know as well. Maybe draw a map of the United States, or of South America. Then see if you can label every state or country on the map.
While it might seem easy to make your way around town in your car, you’ll quickly notice that it’s a whole other challenge to navigate just in your mind. However, by making yourself remember where everything in your area is, as well as drawing it all out and labeling it, it will help you strengthen your mind and activate multiple areas within your brain.
3. Learn a Second Language
People who are able to understand more than one language tend to have better concentration than people who only speak one language. Also, when you learn a new language, you have more control over your executive functions. This means you’ll be better at managing, directing, and controlling your attention.
Plus, bilingual people are also better at ignoring information that is irrelevant and focusing on details that are actually important.
Learning a new language is also an extremely complex activity. You have to understand syllables, grammar, syntax, speech sounds, words, and sentences. There’s a lot going on and you end up working out various parts of the neural network.
And many of those parts overlap with areas in the brain that can show cognitive decline as adults age. As a result, learning a new language can promote healthy aging and slow these processes down.
4. Use All of Your Senses
The more senses you utilize to learn something, the more parts of your brain you’ll end up using in order to retain that memory. And if you smell something that’s pleasant or reminiscent for you, you’ll have an even better time remembering the object of your attention.
The main region of the brain that processes odors, known as the piriform cortex, becomes active when you see something that’s associated with a particular smell, even if you don’t smell anything the next time you see that object. So go ahead and try to challenge your senses the next time you try to remember something.
5. Try to Use Your Non-Dominant Hand
When you use your non-dominant hand, you’ll end up strengthening the neural connections in your brain and you can even grow new connections. It’s similar to how exercising helps you grow and strengthen muscles. And when you build new connections in your brain, then you can slow cognitive decline as other connections weaken as you get older.
Try to use your non-dominant hand whenever you can. Use your opposite hand to write, control your computer mouse, brush your teeth, and handle the tv remote. At first, you probably notice that it’s a lot more difficult to be precise with your movements.
Using your non-dominant might feel silly or awkward at first which makes sense considering that your brain is learning a new skill. By using your non-dominant hand over and over, your brain will get stronger and you’ll get better at using that hand.
Also, using your weaker hand will confuse your brain. But this is a good thing. The lack of predictability will stop your brain from being on autopilot.
And if you’re experiencing writer’s block or are looking for a creative breakthrough, you should definitely consider writing with your opposite hand. The unpredictability could be exactly what your brain needs to help it form new ideas.
Your non-dominant hand is linked to the non-dominant hemisphere of your brain. Just like when you lift weights, you want to exercise both sides of your brain so that you can optimize your strength and health.
There are many mental benefits associated with this ancient practice. One major benefit is that you can increase your ability to focus your attention.
People who meditate regularly will notice that they can stay focused on tasks for longer periods of time than those who don’t. You can also remember more details.
It can also reduce memory loss. One specific type of meditation, known as Kirtan Kriya, has practitioners combine repetitive motions of the fingers with a chant or mantra to focus thoughts. This can improve your ability to execute memory tasks.
Meditation can also help you control your stress and anxiety and bring about a sense of calm.
In fact, meditation might even be able to help you overcome your addictions. This is because it increases your awareness of triggers that lead to addictive behaviors as well as self-control in general.
Meditation can help you learn how to redirect your attention, control your impulses and emotions, increase your willpower, and increase your understanding of why you’re exhibiting addictive behaviors in the first place.
By using meditation to control our addictive impulses, we can not only combat addiction but also binge eating and other negative habits.
7. Eat Fatty Fish
Our brains are mostly made of fat. So it makes sense that eating healthy fats would be good for our brains. What your brain really craves are omega-3 fatty acids, which are mainly found in fatty fish like anchovies, salmon, sardines, and mackerel.
Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely important for normal brain function throughout all stages of life. These fatty acids are found in the cell membranes of brain cells and they help to preserve the health of the membranes. They also help with communication between the cells in our brains.
In older adults, low levels of omega-3 fatty acids can lead to brain shrinkage.
8. Practice Mindfulness Throughout the Day
Mindfulness is very similar to meditation. In fact, many meditation practices are forms of mindfulness. However, you should try to utilize mindfulness throughout your day.
To perform mindfulness, you simply have to focus on whatever it is that you’re doing. The aim is to slow down and observe everything associated with one singular task at a time. So if you’re washing dishes, you want to take your time and try to feel every physical and emotional sensation that comes with the experience.
You can practice mindfulness when you go on a walk, chew your food, or brush your teeth. By doing this, you’ll be able to boost your mood by appreciating your time and your senses. You’ll also be able to expand your attention span time and learn how to be better at focusing.
You’ll also get better at combating distractions and you can accomplish seemingly tedious tasks with pleasure.
9. Take Supplements
Supplements like Neuronol can help to boost your memory by using an effective and unique combination of ingredients. Neuronol itself is an advanced cognitive formula that supports and improves the functions of the brain by giving it concentrated and powerful brain food.
One of the active ingredients in Neuronol is caffeine. Caffeine is a natural stimulant that you can also find in dark chocolate, coffee, and tea.
Caffeine works by stimulating your brain and central nervous system. It’s able to make you feel more alert and less tired. In fact, when you take caffeine, you’ll feel more energized and will see improvements to your general brain functions, reaction times, and memory.
Taking too much caffeine can be counterproductive and it can cause you to have trouble sleeping and anxiety.
10. Read Slower
These days, with smartphones, e-readers, and tablets, people are reading online more than ever before. While reading has never more accessible, people aren’t reading as completely as they used to. According to a study by Slate, only 5% of readers who start reading an online article will actually finish it.
Few people even read past the first few paragraphs of an article. So while you can claim that people are reading more, they’re really just scrolling more.
While long articles aren’t necessarily better than short ones, long-form content does allow for the expansion and elaboration of ideas. When you read, you’re putting your imagination and your brain functions to work. Plus, reading slowly and deliberately will help improve your focus and can establish a sense of calm over the body.
11. Get Eight Hours of Sleep
Sleep deprivation won’t only make you groggy but it can also have serious long-term health consequences too. Not getting enough sleep can contribute to depression, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. It can also worsen symptoms of various mental conditions including bipolar disorder and anxiety.
The disruptive effects of not getting enough sleep can result in anger and irritability which will make it harder for you to deal with the stresses of everyday life. You might find yourself feeling frustrated, short-tempered, and frazzled from the slightest annoyances.
When you’re overly tired, it will be difficult for you to focus as your brain will feel cloudy.
If you feel that you have difficulty falling asleep, there are several things that you can do. First off, you should not look at any screens at least one hour before going to bed. The light from the screen can confuse your brain and make it think that it’s earlier in the day than it actually is.
You should also avoid caffeine, sugar, and carbs as these can boost your energy levels.
Keep Your Mind Sharp
Your brain is one of your most valuable assets. Because of that, it’s important that you keep your mind sharp and healthy. Hopefully, after reading the above article, you now feel that you have the tools to improve your cognitive functions and practice better mental habits.
Are you looking to read other helpful health and fitness articles? If so, check out the rest of our blog today for more!