Staying mentally active helps protect your brain as you age. Playing challenging brain games or learning a new skill generates new brain cells and helps build crucial reserve cells and connections, which helps reduce the risk of diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. But not all activities are created equal when it comes to your brain. Here are five great ways to keep your gray matter in shape.
1. Learn Something New
Mentally stimulating activities such as learning a language, starting a new hobby or enrolling in formal education can have amazing short- and long-term benefits for your brain. These activities help slow the aging process by encouraging your gray cells to regenerate.
2. Challenge Yourself with Mind Games
Sudoku puzzles, crosswords and word finds are excellent ways to challenge your brain and help improve your short-term memory. The more you practice these challenges, the better you will get at them as your brain remembers new strategy and problem-solving techniques.
3. Change the Way You Get Tasks Done
To prevent mental overload and fatigue, avoid multitasking – it constantly shifts your attention from one activity to the next, causing stress for your brain and slowing you down. By turning your attention to only one activity or chore, you’ll avoid mental tension and give your memory space to improve.
Tip: While you’re focusing on one task at a time, why not make your household-related ones easier? Tide PODS takes the measurement and mess out of doing the laundry, and the Swiffer 360 Duster Extender allows you to dust hard-to-reach places like fan blades and crown moulding without having to break out the step stool.
4. Do a Daily Digital Detox
Studies have recently revealed that setting aside as few as 30 tech-free minutes a day can help improve brain health. By putting up your smartphone, tablet or computer for a short period of time, your brain can think deeply without distraction, allowing you to complete other tasks with your full attention. A great time to do this detox is just before bed, as the blue lights from digital screens can also disrupt your sleep.
Recent research has confirmed that just five minutes of peaceful meditation each day can have drastic effects on your general wellbeing and brain health, helping to improve mental clarity, memory and state of mind. Meditation stills the brain, allowing it to rest and refocus. Just find a quiet spot, light a candle and sit still for five to ten minutes while focusing on inhaling and exhaling.
What strategies and activities do you use to sharpen your memory? Share with us in the comments section!