Want to stay sharp mentally? There are many simple ways to do this and, best of all, most of them involved pleasure. It’s time to book that theatre trip, turn on some music, get outside and have a belly laugh with friends…
When you sleep well, you’re making a long-term investment in your memory health,’ says Dr Erla Björnsdóttir, a psychologist and sleep specialist at sleephubs.com. ‘Research strongly suggests that high-quality sleep during middle age may help guard against age-related cognitive decline.
To calm your nervous system when trying to fall asleep, try 4-7-8 breathing: exhale through your mouth fully, making a whoosh sound. Close your mouth and inhale through your nose for a count of four. Hold the breath for a count of seven. Exhale through your mouth, making a whoosh sound, for a count of eight. Repeat 10-20 times.’
All too often, putting ourselves first is referred to as pampering or self-indulgence. In fact, self-care enables us to not only feel happier but be better partners, parents and employees, too.
As Caroline Milling ton discusses in Kind fulness (Head of Zeus), it’s not simply taking the time for a hot bath – it includes mindful acts of kindness towards ourselves, such as improving sleep/eating/exercise habits, ditching guilt and recognizing our own needs and being vocal about them when people ask too much of us.
Become a culture vulture
Galleries, museums, theatre trips and concerts are all nourishment for our minds, according to research from University College London, which found that cultural engagement reduces the risk of depression.
‘Cultural activities encourage gentle movement, reduce social isolation, and lower inflammation and stress hormones such as cortisol,’ says Dr Daisy Fancourt, the study’s lead author. ‘The arts are linked with dopamine release, which encourages cognitive flexibility, and they reduce our risk of dementia.’
The benefits of exercise for improving cognitive health are abundant, but it doesn’t have to be long, vigorous workouts – a 2018 study found that even 10 minutes of being active increases the connectivity between parts of the brain responsible for memory creation and recall.
In other studies, resistance exercise and aerobic exercise, such as cycling, were found to be good for staving off cognitive decline.
Lose yourself in a book
Reading for pleasure has been shown to boost connectivity in the adult Brain and also puts us into the state of effortless concentration and enjoyment known as ‘flow’, which leaves us feeling relaxed and happy.
Develop a positive attitude
Taking daily stressors, such as traffic jams or a long wait for an appointment, in your stride can help preserve brain health, according to a new US study. It found that older adults who were emotionally reactive to stressful situations performed worse in cognition tests.
Try re framing situations in your mind, so instead of, ‘This traffic jam is a nightmare,’ think, ‘I’ll use this unexpected free time to listen to a podcast.’
Be balanced with booze
Drinking more than 14 units a week increases the risk of dementia, according to a 2018 study in the British Medical Journal.
Interestingly, though, it found that total abstinence in mid-life also increased risk. It was an observational study, but it seems that a little of what you fancy can be of benefit. If you need to cut down but like the sense of occasion, try making cocktails with non-alcoholic spirits.
We like Seed lip Grove 42 with clementine juice and soda for a delicious mimosa!
Treat your brain to variety
Giving your brain a regular workout can help to increase the number of brain cell connections, making it more resilient should some connections be lost in later life,’ says Jackie Pool, director of memory care at Sunrise Senior Living UK and Grace well Healthcare.
‘A range of cognitive stimulation activities that give the whole brain a workout are proven to support this ability to cope. Do a Sudoku, a crossword, a creative activity, a musical activity and a physical activity that involves muscle control and balance.’
Resource Blog: https://bit.ly/2HWdJnn
Deepa is a writer and a passionate blogger. She has years of experience in writing articles, blogs and press releases after a deep research. At http://healthcaretipstoday.com she writes interesting topics on all health, beauty, fitness and healthy life. She loves exploring, researching and providing the best information to readers. In her free times, she loves to read books.
How useful was this post?
Click on a star to rate it!
Average rating / 5. Vote count: