For many of us, keeping our body fit is an easier task than our mind. What does it mean to condition our mind? A fit mind to me says I can recall names easily without reaching for the “smartphone.” What literally occurs to our brains when using a smart devices is two-fold. Sometimes it does make it lazy, and other times it makes our brain more active because we keep giving it more information. Nevertheless, keeping your mind in shape is critical to enjoying your life at the highest level. Give your brain the attention it deserves!
Try these strategies to keep your mind active and healthy.
- Do Your Exercise First Thing in the Morning. A 20-minute vigorous walk is more beneficial to setting your body’s metabolism and setting hormones than an hour-long work out at lunch or in the evening. And, drink a large glass of water first thing, also beneficial to the brain and body since we are dehydrated first thing in the morning. Incorporating a 20- minute walk in the morning not only settled my husband’s blood pressure, but it also stabilized it; no more alarming spikes.
- Pick a Book, a Real Book, not your Kindle, and Read it Each Day. Even more preferable, take a speed reading class by http://jimkwik.com/. He’s a coach for all things related to our brains. Each time I pull out his exercises for speed-reading, it amazes me how much more amazing my memory becomes.
It’s easy to get into the habit of reaching the same type of material. Challenge yourself to mix it up by reading your news from a respected source, read a classic from Mark Twain, still one of the best authors. Some people say reading the sports page does not count. I’d almost concur. But, speed reading a fun romance novel or your favorite conspiracy theorist does. Choose three different reading genres including classics like Mark Twain.
- Eat healthily and include a rainbow of colors, and you’ll have it! A healthy diet with lots of greens and blueberries will help preserve your brain function. Do a little research on the best diet for longevity a couple of my favorites are Dr. Joel Furman, Eat to Live and his new book, Eat for Life. Just a few small changes like giving up sugar will go a long way toward keeping your brain healthy.
- Meditate. Meditation is healthy for your brain and your mind. During Meditation, your body and mind release unhealthy hormones and ups the healthy hormones. Meditation is neither hard nor easy, but it’s worth cultivating a meditation practice.
- Currently, I lead weekly meditation classes, please send me a note and ask to join, we would love to see you.
- Make it a habit to learn something new. Learn something new has never been more accessible or more affordable. I encourage you to try something new, painting, speaking a new language, or dance are a few great examples. Learning something new forces your brain to create new neural pathways. Learning new things increases your brain’s neuroplasticity. Even just doing a circle eight with your non-dominant hand, increases the neuroplasticity.
- Additional notes on Meditation. Meditation cultivates an awareness; instead of your mind running around like an unruly teenager, you notice it’s busy thinking about what you are making for dinner or someone you forgot to call. Awareness begins the change in how you view the world.
- Get out and socialize. Presently, we can embrace technology and enjoy a virtual birthday party or our personal favorite, virtual happy hours with friends from around the county. Spending too much time alone has been shown to increase the likelihood of developing dementia.