12 Easy Ways to Enhance Your Brain Health

12 Easy Ways to Enhance Your Brain Health

Brain health is a vital part of your existence after the age of 20. Are you facing problems remembering the name of a person you just met? Are you missing too many appointments or misplacing your car keys? If yes, then it is time you should start changing your habits and lifestyle to improve your brain health. While previously, doctors believed that brain health deteriorates with aging, recent studies state that you can improve your memory and cognitive health even when you age.

The following are 12 easy ways to enhance your brain health.

1. Brain exercise:

Just like developing muscles, you need to exercise your memory to build your brain. Challenging brain-boosting activities like the Crossword 911 answers help build focus. Solving a puzzle will help stimulate your mind to create new neurons and hence, improving cognitive skills. Choose activities that are both challenging and rewarding such as learning to play a new musical instrument. Rewards support the brain’s learning process. The activity needs to be something new and out of your comfort zone, like learning a new language. Even performing multiple activities at the same time, such as talking to a friend while combing your hair also challenges your brain to a small extent.

2. Physical exercise:

Physical exercise keeps your brain sharp. It supplies more oxygen to the brain and prevents cardiovascular diseases and diabetes that are notorious for causing memory loss. Do aerobic exercises to increase blood supply to your brain and to stimulate new neural connections. Exercising in the morning enhances the performance of your brain throughout the day. Engage in sports that require good hand-eye coordination like Table Tennis or Badminton to improve your concentration levels. Exercises like running, rock-climbing or swimming activate all your senses, increases self-awareness, and focus. Even a 15 minutes short walk can de-stress your brain and reduce mental fatigue.

3. Quality Sleep:

Sleep is essential to memory and learning. Research suggests that sleep consolidates memories, and during deep sleep, your memory enhances. Most adults need at least 7.5 hours of sleep every night to perform at their best and to avoid sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation leads to loss of memory, creativity, reasoning skills, and problem-solving abilities. Therefore, you should have a regular sleep routine with a fixed time to go to bed every night and get up at the same time every morning. Avoid all kinds of blue light-emitting devices like TV, laptops, smartphones, etc., at least one hour before bed. Blue light causes wakefulness and suppresses the sleep-inducing hormone, i.e., melatonin. Not to mention, cut down on caffeine intake for a night of quality sleep.

4. Socialize and make friends:

Many studies show that a life rich in healthy relationships, meaningful friendships, and fun benefits your cognitive abilities more than just solving a problem stressfully. Humans are social animals. Healthy relationships stimulate our brain, and friendly interactions with fellow beings provide good brain exercise. With aging, as the neurological processes decline, older people who are socially more active have better cognitive and physical health than the ones who live an isolated lifestyle. So, do not forget to hang out with friends regularly, watch movies together, and more than using social media, try socializing for real. These experiences increase your dopamine levels that boost your memory.

5. Proper Nutrition for Brain:

Good nutrition for enhanced brain health is a no-brainer. Topping the list of nutrients essential for brain health are the Omega 3 fatty acids. These are essential fatty acids consisting of compounds like EPA and DHA, which are famous in controlling dementia and improve focus, memory, and better functioning of the nervous system. Omega 3 is present in cold-water fatty fish like salmon, trout, mackerel, nuts like walnuts, almonds, and seeds like flax seeds, and pumpkin seeds. Avoid excess of saturated fats like red meat, milk, cheese, butter, and cream as these may reduce concentration and memory. Antioxidant-rich foods, like colored fruits and vegetables, grape juice, and green tea, protect your brain cells from oxidative damage. Green tea contains polyphenols that prevent free radical damage to brain cells and slow brain aging. Drinking a glass of grape juice or red wine a day provides you with flavonoids like resveratrol. It can immensely reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and improves blood flow to your brain.

6. De-stress your mind:

If there is one thing you can learn that enhances brain health, that will be how to manage stress. Chronic stress damages brain cells and harms the hippocampus, which is the area of the brain responsible for forming new memories and remembering old memories. Some of the ways of managing stress are maintaining healthy work-life balance, focusing on one task at a time, setting priorities properly, communicate with friends, etc. However, the best way to de-stress your mind and body is meditation. Meditation changes the brain itself by increasing activity in the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for feelings of happiness. Meditation also improves mental sharpness and creates more connections between neurons, thus, enhancing memory too.

7. Lots of Laughter:

“Laughter serves as the best medicine” is a common saying. It is true for enhancing brain health too. Unlike other emotions, laughter stimulates multiple areas of the brain at once. If you are into stand-up comedies, listening to jokes or creating your punch lines improves cognition and creativity in your brain. If you are looking for laughter in your life, then start with the basic idea of laughing at yourself and sharing your embarrassing moments with others. Apart from self-humor, you can always join in on other people’s laughter. Seek out the company of people who are laughing and sharing good humor. Surround yourself with funny things like keeping a funny toy at your desk, having funny posters at your work area, and watching funny videos on YouTube.

8. Volunteer and Charities:

Studies show that volunteering for social welfare schemes or group activities helps lower stress levels and increases the happiness hormone dopamine. Volunteering increases a person’s self-esteem and improves mental functioning. Similarly, donating for a social cause to a charity makes you feel good and gives you a sense of purpose in life. Donations and volunteering help reduce the risks of depression and give you positive brain health.

9. Variety in physical activities:

As pointed earlier in point number 2 of this article, physical activities and exercises are crucial to a healthy body and brain. Even for physically active people, repetitions of the same workouts or physical activities every day can lead to boredom for the brain. It is therefore essential to mix up your activities from time to time. A change in the regular physical routine challenges the mind to think creatively. Do something which you have not done for a long time. For example, if you are daily working and living in cities, going for a hike or a trek once in 3 months can boost your brain health manifold.

10. Identifying health problems in advance and treating them:

Even after following a healthy exercise and diet routine, if your memory is taking a hit, then it is time to evaluate your health for any condition or disease. Identifying the condition or the disease which is causing the dip in memory helps to treat that problem in advance. Memory loss occurs due to a lot of other lifestyle issues like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Hormonal imbalances in women show a link with memory problems. Low Estrogen levels in women and low testosterone levels in men cause a decline in memory. Thyroid imbalances also cause slowed thinking and forgetfulness. Certain medications can also have side-effects on the brain. Once you have identified the problem causing memory loss, consult with your doctor to get the correct treatment.

11. Fight Depression:

Brain health is affected not just by physical health but also due to emotional difficulties. Depression often causes mental sluggishness, forgetfulness, and concentration problems. Notably, the memory of older people takes a bad hit if they are suffering from depression. Sometimes, people misunderstand depression in older adults as dementia. However, the good news is that you can treat depression through continuous emotional support and guidance from specialized counselors and therapists. For good brain health, do not ignore signs of depression and reach out to your family for help.

12. Practical habits to support learning and memory:

Develop some practices to improve your memory. To memorize anything, you need to learn about it. Learning starts by paying attention. It takes 8 seconds of undivided attention by the brain to record the information. While paying attention, involve all your senses. Observe the smell, taste, touch, image, and sound of the memory. When you come across new information, try to relate it to an existing memory. Mnemonics help a lot in this case. Mnemonics are simple ways to break a large chunk of information into small easy-to-remember words/sentences. For example, acronyms of a long sentence or idea, imagining visual images of a name or place, rhymes and alliteration to remember complex information, etc. Apart from mnemonics, rehearsing, or revising the learned data is equally important to enhance memory.

Conclusion:

To summarize, you can achieve the real quality of life if your body and mind both stay healthy. If your mind is not sharp, you will not be able to enjoy the benefits of living in the long run. Therefore, enhance your brain health by eating good food, solving challenging puzzles, and adding lots of fun in your life.