Americans have become increasingly focused on their physical fitness and that’s a great thing. But how’s our brain fitness faring these days? In an age where we jump from one screen to the next, our mental well-being can often pay a price. Here are some tips for boosting our brain health and ensuring our minds are staying in good shape too!
Read a book. You may spend so much time on a computer all day that the last thing you want to do at lunch or in the evenings is read some more. However, findings show that using your mind to read a book - in particular fiction - boosts social tools like empathy and emotional intelligence, which can lower stress levels.
Increase your vocabulary. According to the Reader’s Digest article “Word Power,” research shows that building your vocabulary increases your brain’s cognitive reserve - its ability to adapt to damage like the kind caused by stroke or Alzheimer’s disease. In other words, a large vocabulary can actually delay mental decline.
Pay attention to diet. Certain foods play a key role in boosting your memory and your brain’s ability to function well. According to health.com, nuts of all kinds are full of magnesium, which is linked to improvements in short- and long-term memory. Blueberries are also a winning choice, thanks to anthocyanins, which foster neuron-to-neuron communication and may help delay memory loss.
Give your brain a workout. Contrary to what you may believe, you’re never too old to learn something new, so challenge your brain by learning to play an instrument, a new language, the tango or bridge. It must be something new and unfamiliar to get you out of your comfort zone.
Relax. Just as we stretch after exercising and get an occasional massage to soothe our muscles, it’s important to care for our brains in a similar restorative fashion. Two ways to do this are by getting enough sleep and by meditation. Both are proven to reduce stress levels and enhance cognitive and memory functions.