8 Ways To Keep Your Brain Healthy
We all know that it’s essential to keep our bodies healthy, but did you know that taking care of your brain and your mental health is just as important? The unhealthy lifestyles that many of us lead today have an immediate effect on our bodies, can also have a detrimental effect on our brains.
Luckily, when we keep our bodies in tip-top shape, our brains can heal too, and experts say that keeping active reduces the risk of us developing dementia and specifically Alzheimer’s disease. There are other ways to keep your brain healthy, though, and they should all be taken into account.
Meditation has a vast number of benefits for your mind and body. Thousands of different apps and websites will give you all the details you need to start meditating. Practicing daily is best, and you only need a few quiet minutes, to begin with. You can start by trying to meditate when you wake up in the morning before you get out of bed, or even as you’re falling asleep at night.
There are hundreds of different ways to enjoy meditation, so it’s just a matter of finding the one the works best for you. Meditation is said to improve concentration, clarity, and even emotional well-being by dealing with stress and anxiety.
Physically exercising strengthens our muscles, improves our health, and makes us feel better too. Mental stimulation does a similar thing to our brains. It improves the brain’s function and keeps it sharp. That’s why it’s important always to be learning about something new.
It might be a trip to the library to check out a book on a specific era of history, or architecture, or engineering. It could be learning a new language or how to play an instrument. You might take up a new craft hobby. You might even go back to school and get a degree. The ‘what’ isn’t important as long as you are making your brain work, and you keep at it. There are no rules on how many hobbies you can have, so once you’ve mastered something, move onto something else.
Puzzles are one of the best forms of exercise for your brain, and because they come in a variety of different forms, you can always find something that you’ll enjoy. Word searches and crosswords are great for when you want to sit quietly, or when you’re traveling.
If you want to try something more physical, as well as something that will stretch you mentally, then have you considered an activity such as the Boston Escape Room? These challenging games lock you inside a room which you can only leave after you have solved all of the clues. It’s something that the whole family can join in with, and when it comes to stimulating the brain, it does a great job.
A healthy diet is good for our bodies, and it’s also good for our brains. Although research into exactly how this works is still ongoing, it is the Mediterranean diet that seems to come out on top as the best way to keep your brain and body fit and well. This diet combines moderate amounts of poultry, oily fish, eggs, healthy fats (such as nuts and seeds), and dairy, and cuts out most of the processed foods and red meats that tend to make up the bulk of standard diets.
Scientists say that although the type of food definitely has a positive effect, it might be the way that it is eaten that makes it even better. Mediterranean food is made to be enjoyed with family and friends, at the table, not eaten in a rush in front of the TV or on a 10-minute break from work.
Be More Social
Not everyone likes to spend a lot of time with other people, but being by yourself all day every day is bad for your health, so it’s important to try to be more social. Interacting with other people and having a good support network around you boosts your feelings of well-being, and increases levels of useful hormones throughout the body. One recent study even suggests that people with strong friendship groups have longer lives. Being with people can reduce feelings of depression and anxiety too, as well as increasing memory function and cognitive skills.
Sleep is essential for a healthy life, as this is the time when our bodies can rest and repair itself ready for the day ahead. You’ll feel better after a proper night’s sleep, but did you know that it also keeps your brain active, and gives you a better memory, as well as making you feel calmer and less tense?
That’s why it’s far better to have a good night’s sleep before an exam rather than trying to stay up all night cramming. Aim for around eight hours of sleep a night, but if this is difficult then make sure the sleep you get is quality sleep (sometimes quality is better than quantity).
Improve Your Blood Pressure
Having high blood pressure for sustained periods of time can have a severely detrimental effect on your brain’s ability to function. If you stay as healthy as possible, exercise regularly, and eat well, you can lower your blood pressure and stay well.
The same is true of high cholesterol and high blood sugar – they can also both affect the brain in negative ways, and increase the risk of developing dementia later in life. If you find that a healthier lifestyle isn’t helping, then speak to a professional who may be able to suggest an alternative, which might be medication.
Talk To Someone
If you do find that you are feeling low, fatigued, anxious, stressed, depressed, or any other feelings of poor mental health then it’s vital that you speak to someone. Anyone. A friend or family member. A charity. A stranger on the end of a support telephone line. Who it doesn’t matter; it’s the act of speaking out loud that makes the difference. Experts will be able to recommend help, too, to help you feel better on a long-term basis.