Our bodies go through tedious wear and tear of age, everyday stresses and lifestyle choices. If you’ve been finding yourself increasingly becoming forgetful or distracted, then you may need to redirect some of your attention to taking better care of your brain. After all, it is the most important part of our bodies that keep everything working as they should.
Help keep your mind sharper for longer and tap into your maximum intellect with these 6 keys to unlocking optimum brain power.
1. Quit smoking.
A study published in 2010 by Archives of Internal Medicine that documented smokers from 1978 to 2008, found that people who smoked more than 2 packs of cigarettes a day had twice the rate of developing dementia when they were older. Those who smoked half a pack was at 44% risk, while the lowest level of smokers already placed themselves at 37% risk. Another valid reason to put the butt in the bucket and walk away from this bad habit.
2. Foster creative relationships.
Surround yourself with people who challenge you to think creatively. A diverse group of acquaintances provide you with information you would not normally acquire on your own and they give you various perspectives on everything. These creative relationships keep your mind open and always running.
3. Think positive.
In the psychology of education, teachers unknowingly expect more of particular children, who then in turn do their best to meet those expectations. This is called the Pygmalion effect. With this theory in mind, researchers suggest that if we set the bar high for ourselves and are supported to help believe achieving them is possible – they do become possible. The opposite is also true and you ultimately miss reaching your full potential. A positive mind and attitude does count.
4. Get quality sleep.
Contrary to what many people believe, the brain does not shut off when we go to sleep. While we doze off, our brains consolidate the learnings that took place during the day. Some psychologists even say that dreams are really just reflections of how the brain tries to make sense of all the information we have been taking in but have not yet fully interpreted. With this rule of thumb, you can make sense of things by “sleeping on it.” On the contrary, not getting quality sleep may limit your ability to retain your learning experiences.
5. Engage in high levels of mental exercises.
Mental exercises are like treadmills and weights for your brain. They keep your cognitive abilities active. These mental exercises include Sudoku, crosswords, reading a map, or putting together an IKEA cabinet. These activities help stretch your spatial and reasoning abilities. Engaging in intellectual conversations with people whom you don’t necessarily agree with is also a good way to open your mind to arguments that make no sense to you and find the logic in them.
6. Do brain training.
Brain training is usually delivered in the form of fun games specially designed to stimulate important brain areas responsible for cognition. We can literally give our brains a boost with the correct brain exercises. This area of science is still packing a robust body of research work to further support and enhance the current brain training systems we have now, but it’s definitely something that will help maintain our brain health well into our 80s.
Read the full article by Psychology Today here to learn more ways to a healthier brain.
What are your favorite mental exercises? Let us know in the comments below!