We all get lazy as time goes on. We stick to a routine and, over time, include less new obstacles because we don’t want the challenge or inconvenience. But when it comes to keeping your mind sharp, you should welcome new challenges and mental stimulation with open arms.
We associate old age with forgetfulness and lack of mental sharpness. Henry Ford once said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” But this isn’t about getting old. Age doesn’t cause cognitive decline. A lack of mental stimulation does because you aren’t keeping your mind sharp.
Here are a few ways you can sharpen your mind, and have fun doing it.
A Healthy Body to Sharpen Your Mind
You should aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Everyone is different, but no matter who you are, you need sleep. While you’re resting, your brain is healing, organizing, and creating new pathways. The more you do and learn during the day, the more sleep you need.
Physical stimulation improves circulation and muscle growth as well as concentration. You don’t have to become a bodybuilder, simply jogging or walking for 30 minutes is enough to get the blood flowing. Better concentration leads to improved memory, and these connections within your brain can help sharpen your mind.
Posture is equally important for mind sharpness. Better posture improves circulation and blood flow to the brain. It also lowers the amount of energy needed to move around and heightens the feeling of self-worth. Self-esteem is exponentially important for mental health, no matter what age you are.
It seems that there’s a new diet every day that claims mental health benefits. All that aside, it is important to know eating foods that are rich in antioxidants, fatty acids, and proteins are good for you. This includes most fruits, veggies, and fish. But that doesn’t mean you have to cut out everything else. A piece of cake every now and then is perfectly fine, just try not to eat one every day. A healthy diet gives your brain the materials it needs to create these new neural pathways that ward of dementia and improve mind sharpness.
Learn Something New to Keep Your Mind Sharp
One of the best ways to sharpen your mind is to learn a foreign language. According to recent research, a second or third language delays the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s. When you learn a word in a foreign language, you make new neural pathways and associations. The more you use it, the easier it is to recall.
Find a new hobby. No matter what it is, you’re learning and you’re having fun while you do it. Whether you’re the next Caravaggio or terrible at painting, the act of doing something new is exactly what your brain needs. If you enjoy it, do it. The endorphins you release from enjoying the activity is incredibly beneficial to your mental health.
Keep Your Mind Active to Sharpen Your Mind
Playing games like daily crossword puzzles or chess challenge the mind. You’re solving problems, going through the process of elimination by observing all potential outcomes before making your decision. We do this daily without realizing it, but it really helps to keep your mind sharp. Try switching up or gaming style: test your skills with a different kind of word puzzle, board game or app to create new pathways in the brain.
Even the things you already do can help your mind stay sharp. Creating a routine improves mental recall. But every now and then, those routines should be changed. It doesn’t have to be drastic. Try switching around the tasks or adding in a new, 10-minute part of the routine like feeding the birds, meditation or writing in a journal.
Keep Up Your Social Life to Keep Your Mind Sharp
Maintaining friendships, just like reading and writing, improves your communication skills. With friends, you get to debate current affairs, make jokes, resolve conflicts, and express your feelings. All of these actions keep your mind sharp, whether it’s in person or online.
Try making friends or conversing with people of various ethnic backgrounds and ages. It takes a lot of brain power to understand, organize, and respond to the new information about culture, dialect, and way of life that each person brings to the table.
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