As we get older, it’s easy for our brains to get rusty. That’s why we want to know how to keep them healthy and functioning at their best capacity.
So, we asked SharpBrains – an independent market research firm tracking applied brain science – to share some top tips for keeping our minds sharp and active.
1. Get clued up
Learn about your brain and how it functions. Just having a basic understanding will enable you to fully appreciate the ever-developing nature of the brain and its billions of neurons and synapses.
Some interesting facts include, the human brain is the largest brain of all vertebrates, relative to body size, Live Science states, and makes up about 2% of body weight. “The cerebrum makes up 85% of the brain’s weight. It contains about 86 billion nerve cells (neurons) — the ‘grey matter’. It contains billions of nerve fibers (axons and dendrites) — the ‘white matter’. These neurons are connected by trillions of connections or synapses.”
2. Eat healthily
Make sure you are taking in all the right nutrients. Although the brain only weighs 2% of our body mass, it consumes 20% of the oxygen and nutrients we absorb. For the brain to be sharp and active, it needs a good supply of energy from healthy food.
3. Be active
The brain is part of the body so, as such, will benefit greatly from physical activity. Exercise enhances neurogenesis and therefore sharpens your brain.
4. Practice positivity
Your mindset can have a big impact on the health of your brain. Get in the habit of having positive, action-oriented thoughts every day and this should become your default mindset.
Stress and anxiety kill neurons and even prevent the creation of new ones. Negative thoughts can have such a powerful impact on your brain health so stay positive.
5. Use your brain
This one may sound obvious but the more you challenge your brain, the healthier it becomes. Learning and mental tests are great tools in sharpening your grey matter as your brain thrives on learning and adapting to new environments. Perhaps you could sign up for an evening class?
6. Don’t stop learning
The brain always keeps developing, so you must keep learning. If you get too comfortable in one job, move to another. Or, if you have mastered one foreign language, why not learn a second? Could you even start that craft business you’ve always dreamt of?
Exploring new places and adapting to different locations is great for boosting your brain activity as it is forced to work harder in the new environment. Perhaps you could visit North Wales if you haven’t already? It was the only place in Britain to make it onto Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2017 list.
8. Make your own decisions
Deciding things for yourself is better for your brain. When you make mistakes, your brain will learn from them and train itself. Rather than being told what to do and following someone else’s orders, it’s healthy for the brain to learn through trial and error. Perhaps pick up a new hobby or try a new skill, such as learning how to use social media.
9. Keep good friendships
Developing and maintaining stimulating friendships is key for social fulfillment. Interacting socially keeps the brain sharp, so it’s a good idea to keep in contact with friends and develop your social bonds.
Try and laugh as much as possible! It’s even better if you laugh at cognitively complex humor for the health of the brain. That sounds like a good excuse to go to more stand-up comedy shows.
If you start integrating these habits into your everyday life, you’ll benefit from a sharper brain.