Isn’t it intimidating to realise that your mental prowess is not going to remain this good for life? We all know that age brings with it a whole host of problem. While most of these, being external changes, can be accepted; some however, are bound to get you down. A decline in your mental abilities is certainly one of these.
However, just like physical exercises can help keep your body fit even as you age, certain activities can help stave off the effects of ageing and enable your mind to remain sharp and memory intact for a longer time. By keeping your mind active, your brain will not quit on you as soon as you’d expect.
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Want To Improve Your Cognitive Functioning? Try Out These Methods
Although growing older means that your brain is going to start showing signs of ageing, there are certain daily activities that you can use to slow or even, reverse your ageing brain. For those of you who are worried about your mental performance decreasing with age, here are 6 ways that will help you stay mentally sharp.
An Active Mind Equals an Active Body
As surprising as it may sound, education was seen to have a significant impact on a person’s mental capabilities. The more educated a person was, the longer he was seen to retain his memory and cognitive skills.
Similarly, people who were engaged in jobs that involved a larger use of their intellectual capacities, like – talking, negotiating and so on- had a much lower risk of memory loss.
The reason for these positive results is the fact that the brains of these people are constantly engaged in learning new things and in performing mentally challenging activities. Training your brain to learn a few song lyrics once in a way will also work to keep it occupied. At the same time, simple mathematical calculation should not rely on a calculator. Instead, let your brain figure out how to solve them.
Through intellectual enrichment, the brain works to make connections and the more the connections, the more active the brain shall remain. When the brain stays active, it functions well, even as you age.
Social Connections Do Matter
By keeping in close contact with other people and establishing new connections, one can improve their mental skills and boost their memory. Most social interactions are followed with mentally engaging activities.
At the same time, staying connected fosters social support and this is essential because it reduces the blow of stressful moments which tend to play havoc on one’s brain. Thus, staying occupied and connected to people would not just reduce your mental ageing but can even boost your memory and cognitive functioning.
Steer Clear of Brain Numbing Activities
Brain cells are not known to regenerate as a rule and here’s the bad news – some activities can actually destroy these cells leading to a drastic reduction in brain functions. Spending long hours watching television or playing video games will certainly speed up the damage to your brain.
These kinds of activities, including simply lounging on your bed for hours, are perfectly fine if enjoyed in moderation, however, if overdone, it is known to affect your memory and reduce your ability to concentrate and other cognitive functions.
Brain Foods? Yes, They Exist!
There are foods for almost anything nowadays. From foods that help gain muscle to foods for reducing pounds, your diet does play a major role in the type of person you are growing into. Thus, it should come as no surprise that there exist certain food items that can be used to boost your brain functions in the long run.
Due to the numerous health benefits they pack, they may be sometimes referred to as “super foods.” These include food items that contain healthy fats and fatty acids. Thus, eating fish like tuna and salmon, which contain Omega-3s and Omega-6s, will work wonders for your brain. Not only will such foods provide added protection to your brain, but by including the right nutrients in your diet, you may also be able to generate new brain cells.
Increasing your antioxidant intake will also benefit you in a large way. By making sure your diet includes carrot, broccoli, grapes and blueberries, you can defend yourself against the increased exposure to free radicals. Antioxidants are also helpful in preventing neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Eating salads with olive oil is good for the cognitive functioning, as this packs in the benefits of green vegetables and fruits as well as the many health benefits that are attached to olive oil.
Pursue a Hobby
While you may think you are too old to start something like this now, pursuing something that interests you will make sure your mind is actively at work. So the ‘how’ or ‘what’ of the situation doesn’t really matter, what matters is that you keep your brain engaged.
Even something as trivial as going on a trek to find birds can make a difference if you try and stimulate yourself intellectually. Just try guessing the names of the different birds you see. A hobby like writing too, can go a long way. Since writing demands a certain exactness of thought and expression, it is seen as a very in-depth mental exercise that works wonders on the brain and improves cognitive functioning.
Reduce Alcohol Consumption
While certain activities play a significant role in killing your brain cells, there is nothing worse thanalcohol. Having alcohol on a daily basis, even if it is in small quantities, will eventually have terrible effects on your memory. Not only does alcohol slow down your mental functioning, but it also impacts your cognitive abilities to a large extent. Staying away from it will help you stay mentally sharp for a longer period of time.
The Bottom Line
Given that we live in a world that is driven by competition and innovation, there is no doubt that our brain is the main resource that helps us succeed. Although complex, the quest to figure out the exact workings behind it are never going to cease. Till then, we can follow these steps to train our brain to improve its cognitive capabilities in these little ways, if we wish to have a sharp mind, even as age begins to catch up with us.