When you think of exercise, you probably picture yourself working out at the gym or hitting the pavement for a daily run. When it comes to good brain health, however, this type of exercise is only part of the equation. There are a wide variety of brain exercises you can do regularly to keep your mind sharp and focused, and Brain Awareness Week is a great time to get started.
Maintain a social life
If you have a family or long hours at work, you may be sacrificing the social activities you used to enjoy more frequently. Unfortunately, missing out on social relationships could raise your stress level and have you feeling in a bad mood more often. To enjoy the beneficial effects of seeing old friends and enjoying good conversation, hire a babysitter or take some vacation time and reconnect with your social self.
Manage your stress
A high-stress lifestyle can take a serious toll on your brain health. To reduce your level of stress, you might try therapeutic massage. Yoga is another great way to relax, and it will also help you burn off some extra calories. After just a single practice you may feel more focused and at ease, and the benefits will only increase over time.
Challenge your mind
Settling into a routine that does not challenge you mentally will actually cause you to lose connections between neurons over time. In order to retain your intelligence and your cognitive abilities as you age, you must engage your brain in activities such as learning a new language, playing an instrument, or completing difficult puzzles and word games.
Eliminate mindless activities
As you begin trying out new activities to strengthen your mind, you might eliminate others that can keep you complacent in a robotic routine. Looking away from your cell phone screen, for example, is a significant step in becoming more engaged with your regular activities. While smart phones and tablets can be useful, they tend to absorb a user’s attention to an extreme degree. A recent article in USA Today revealed that many parents are actually neglecting their children in social settings because they were distracted by their phones. For the sake of your brain health and your family, start putting your phone down more often.
What are you doing for your brain health this week? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and don’t forget to look back at some of our previous posts to learn the best ways to incorporate brain foods into your diet.