Tips for looking after your brain

** In collaboration ** 

The brain is one of the most parts of the body since it controls everything and every function, so it’s important that we don’t overlook the importance of keeping our brains healthy, and in this post, we’re going to share with you some tips on just how to do that – the good news is, it’s a lot easier than you probably think.

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Physical exercise:

Physical exercise is not only something you should be doing to maintain overall good physical health, but it’s something that’s incredibly important for your brain since exercise and fresh air are things that are responsible for releasing dopamine – otherwise known as the happy hormone or feel good hormone. Additionally, the combination of physical movement and fresh air also play a crucial role in the alleviation of things like anxiety and depression, which are thought to be caused by chemical imbalances within the brain, so if you suffer from any of these, then you’ll find that things like your mood, your memory, your focus, and so many other things start to improve.

 

Mental exercise:

Just like physical exercise is important for the body, and also the brain, your brain is an organ that’s fed and thrives upon stimulation, and this comes from knowledge. Now, this certainly doesn’t mean you have to start reading every book in sight or drop what you’re doing and going back to college, but it’s just ensuring that your brain is staying active and engaged in things going on, which can include traveling to new places, attending shows, taking up hobbies, or reading and learning.

This is especially important as we age since an active brain is known to lessen the chances of diseases such as Alzheimers or even just mild memory decline, and since our memories are hopefully going to be special ones, then we should be in no hurry to lose them.

If you’re looking for more information on how to keep your brain active as you age, or are concerned for an aging family member, then you can always find useful resources online, whether it be blogs, medical journals, or care homes and hospitals offering information on their Dementia Services.

Eat healthy:

We all know that eating healthy is something that we should be doing more of, but not just for the usual reasons of maintaining healthy levels of blood pressure, avoiding illnesses and generally feeling good. The things we eat also impact our brain, so if you ever wonder why you suddenly feel alert after drinking a cup of coffee and then a while later you feel really tired and unable to focus, or if you find that certain foods make you feel sluggish, irritable and like you’re losing your concentration, then this is why – because you’re eating and drinking things that your brain doesn’t really like.

There are also specific foods that are known for their brain-boosting properties, such as citrus fruits, wild salmon, avocados, seeds and nuts, beans, bright fruits and vegetables, and even dark chocolate.

Whilst we’re not suggesting you start taking up fad diets, it’s important to maintain a good balance of the above foods and make a point of consuming one item from each group at least once per week to feed your brain with good nutrients.

It’s also important to not drink too much alcohol or take any mind-altering substances since overuse of these can have irreversible negative effects on your brain, and this really isn’t something you want to be dealing with.

 

Have conversations:

If you’re someone who’s somewhat introverted, then the idea of having to have random conversations with someone could be potentially your worst nightmare, but we’re definitely not suggesting this. It’s all about finding what works for you, so finding topics of conversation that interest you and then taking time to engage with people who you enjoy talking to and who you find inspiring or interesting – this is definitely going to go a long way to boosting your brain power.

 

Socialize:

 

Humans are wired to be social, and there’s a huge misconception that introverts are people who are shy and don’t enjoy socializing at all – this is not what being an introvert is. An introvert is simply someone who recharges their energy from alone-time, whereas extroverts recharge theirs from being around lots of people all the time.

Many introverts lead great social lives because they’ve gotten good at knowing which people they like being around and although they keep their circle small, it’s more about quality vs quantity for them, so they can be extremely chatty with one person and completely disengaged with someone else simply because one person will deplete them of energy and the other doesn’t.

Many studies and research have shown that an active social life can help to dramatically reduce your risk of developing things like dementia,  alzheimer’s disease and also mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression which can really have an adverse affect on someone’s life. The belief is that quality social connections help keep the connections that go between your brain cells strong.

If you’ve been struggling to find or make time for an active social life, then we’ve included some ideas to help get you started. Remember it’s not about being social for the sake of being social, but about finding the things that you genuinely enjoy doing.

Take up a hobby, such as hiking, a sport, join a gym, or take a class such as cooking or languages. Meet up with friends for lunch and coffee dates, connect with your friends over things like Skype if they live far away. Travel, join a book club, go to shows, etc.

We hope that this post has been useful for you in helping you identify some of the simple changes you can make in your life to keep your brain healthy. As you can probably see, it’s really not that difficult since these are likely things you’re already doing on a daily basis without thinking too much about it, so just making sure that you’re being conscious of the fact that your brain needs as much TLC as your body is important.

 

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