As we age, our short term memory suffers. But keeping an active mind can help you stay sharp as the years progress. Here are a few ways to keep the thoughts rolling, and connecting in that brain of yours.
When you use your brain to learn new concepts, you’re exercising it. Neurons start firing and that can keep it healthy.
Each day spend some time learning something you didn’t know before. Some people will try to learn a new language, while others will start questioning the world around them and research the answers. Whatever you choose to learn, make it something that really makes your brain work.
Do New Things
Children are always trying new things. That’s how they grow. As we grow older, we slow down and don’t try as many new things, and that’s what slows our growth. Go ahead and spark that part of your brain by doing something you’ve never done before. Simply trying to jog or stretch in new ways can be enough to get your mind working on how to move your body differently.
This may seem odd, but it can be great for you. It’s a great way to keep your fluency because public speaking is much different than speaking to a friend sitting in front of you. Consider speaking to a group of people at your church or senior center.
Remembering the past can be quite helpful to preserving your memory. The more you think about what has happened in the past, the more likely you’ll be able to remember the next day, week, or month. It can be a good idea to make scrapbooks of all your memories or journal entries of your life experiences, and then you can go back through them to refresh your memory as you age.
Did you know being affectionate is good for your brain? Whenever you hold someone’s hand, touch someone or even gaze into a person’s eyes, you brain starts to produce oxytocin, which is a hormone. This hormone makes you feel good and the more you do it, the better you will feel.
Mindfulness is something everyone should practice, no matter how old. Mindfulness de-clutters your brain because it helps you focus on the present moment. Besides being able to free yourself from the many ideas that runs through the brain, it can also help with control. When you’re able to direct your focus, you can start to understand how to change it when you are in stressful situations or when you’re ruminating about something.
Eat Healthy Foods
Nutritious foods help your mind stay sharp. Be sure to eat plenty of vegetables and fruit on a daily basis. You will not only feel better, but your mind will start working better for you.
Reading is a great way to relax and it helps your brain stay active. The more your brain is active, the healthier it will stay. You don’t have to read for hours. A few minutes a day is all you need for your brain to benefit from it.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is when your mind relaxes and files away the day’s experiences. It’s important to get at least 7 hours of sleep, recommended by the National Sleep Foundation.
Listen to Music
It may not seem like it, but music has a lot to do with cognition and memory functioning. Try to put it on for at least an hour a day, even if it’s just in the background to help you.
Put a Puzzle Together
Puzzles are helpful because it challenges the mind. Put a large puzzle together with someone or by yourself. It’s fun and you’re benefiting your cognitive functioning.
Complete Crosswords and Other Brain Activities
Crossword puzzles and Sudoku are popular activities. They also challenge the mind and really help with memory. Get a couple of books each and make a point to do one each day.
Writing is therapeutic and a good way to use your mind. Write as much as you want each day. You can write about your days, about memories, or use prompts on websites such as Daring to Live Fully.
You now have many ways to keep your mind sharp. Go ahead and schedule them into your day. Before you know it, you’ll see the benefits come through that will make you incredibly thankful you’re taking care of your brain.
About the author: Greg Nield is the administrator of Ashford Assisted Living and Memory Care in Highland, Utah. He has a degree in administration from Utah Valley University. He can be reached at 801-610-3500 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org