Learning new information and skills across your entire lifespan helps to keep your brain strong even in the later years of life. Activities that have the highest value for brain health are those that are novel and complex to each particular person. What is easy for one person may be challenging for another, so the things that challenge you the most have the most value for your brain.
Mental Stimulation Exercise
This activity is designed to help you understand what is personally novel and complex for you, versus what is rote and passive.
- Take out a sheet of paper, and divide the paper in half.
- In the left column, list five activities that you enjoy and have fun with, and do most frequently. This list represents activities that are rote and passive. Your mind is already comfortable with these activities, which lessens the benefit it has on your brain.
- In the right column, list five activities that you find complicated, and don’t engage in frequently. This list represents activities your brain has not yet formed strong neural connections with, they are the complex and novel. These activities will likely benefit the development of new connections in your brain.
Exercise has the positive effect of enhancing successful aging. Exercise performed on a routine basis may not only reduce the risk of neurodegenerative disease, but also may help to slow the course of an existing disease, such as Alzheimer’s.
Socialize and Have Fun!
Friends provide opportunities to enable the sharing of experiences, new learning, challenges, emotions, trust, and understanding. Friendship also provides the necessary motivation towards activity and involvement.
Be Health Conscious
It is important for us to take control of our health and understand that we are in charge of managing of our bodies. Physicians work for us, and when it comes to our bodies we are the boss.
Slow Down and Appreciate the Silence
Our society is evolving at an increasing rate, leaving us with little time to relax and process our environment. Our brains require time to process information more deeply, in order to gain more benefit from our daily experiences. The implications of a fast-paced lifestyle are chronic stress and other negative effects on our health and well being.
Do Not Retire from Life
Maintaining a strong sense of purpose in life is an important contributor to longevity. Making a conscious decision to stay actively involved in your daily routine is beneficial to your lifelong health and well being. Positive attitude has been shown to play a significant role in success, as well as your ability to recover from illness.
Reduce and Eliminate Smoking
Smoking is one of the leading causes of over a dozen cancers, including lung, oral, stomach, and liver cancer. Not to mention it stains our fingers, teeth and hair, and leaves us with foul-smelling breath!
Set Financial Goals
A well developed plan for financial security is a great way to stimulate your Executive Functions (responsible for complex activity like organization, scheduling, impulse control, and more). Keeping track of your expenses, and being aware of where your money is going, helps you feel more in control of your financial situation.
Adopt a Nutrient-Rich Diet
Over-consumption of high calorie food is a major issue for modern society. Understanding why we eat and what we eat is one of the most critical influences on our health and longevity. Brain-health-promoting-food includes Omega-3 fatty acids found in foods such as fish, flax seed, and nuts.
Maintain Strong Connections
Our ability to communicate and interact with others is critical to maintaining strong connections. Isolation has been shown to reduce our overall health. Research demonstrates the importance of a social network in reducing the risk of dementia