Your brain is your greatest asset and natural resource. Whether you are in your 20s, 40s or 80s, you cannot ignore your brain’s health another month, another day. You are the driver of your brain’s health. These few facts below should motivate you to adopt healthy brain habits to make your brain smarter and longer.
ENGAGE YOUR BRAIN SMARTLY
Staying mentally active is one of the most protective factors against age-related cognitive decline. Recent research shows that cognitive abilities can be improved, strengthened, and rebuilt by adopting and maintaining challenging mental habits.
Boost your brain performance by:
- Absorbing new information needed to update and make financial decisions
- Reasoning through different choices based on incoming data and individual beliefs
- Consciously blocking out extraneous information to focus on the task at hand
- Engaging in novel and challenging mental tasks at every stage of life
- Approaching ambiguous situations with openness to changing ideas or directions
- Synthesizing big ideas from information no matter the source—lectures, readings, emails, conversations, movies, etc.
SELECT YOUR MENTAL ACTIVITIES STRATEGICALLY
Research reveals that all mental activities are not equally beneficial for brain health. Games such as crosswords, number puzzles, or online brain training programs may make you better at those specific games, but will not likely improve your higher-order thinking skills. These activities keep the mind busy; however they may not be aid us in achieving the gains we are seeking. To be beneficial for brain health, mental tasks should improve the cognitive skills needed to support independent life purposes such as decision-making, problem-solving, planning, and higher order reasoning.
CHANGE YOUR MIND ABOUT MEMORY
Memory is not the definition of smart. Don’t stress too much about small memory glitches experienced from time to time unless these memory problems are impacting your daily life success. Instead, think of the hundreds of things your brain recalled for you each day. The most robust form of memory is one that knits to-be-remembered ideas together into generalized meanings by utilizing rich life experience and accumulated knowledge.
COMMIT TO HEALTHY HABITS
In addition to staying mentally engaged and socially involved, add other healthy lifestyle habits to enrich your brain’s health fitness.
- Make time for physically fitness: regular aerobic exercises (three times a week for 50 minutes) will improve memory function.
- Watch what you eat: what is good for the heart is good for the brain. Eating primarily vegetables, fruit, nuts, fish, legumes, olive oil with decreased intake of red meat, dairy products and sweets reduces cardiovascular disease which is a major factor that contributes to cognitive loss.
- Get a good night’s rest: Our brain needs approximately 8 hours to rest and consolidate learning of new information.
The evidence is clear. Mind your brain and take immediate action to better your brain health fitness. Without brain health, we do not have health.