Brain Habits for a Lifetime

We all want to age well. When asked if we’d rather have a healthy mind or body as we age, most people desire a sound mind. Assistive devices and others can help an aging body, but when our mind withers, so does our memory and the essence of who we are and once were. So how can we help our brains now and as we age? The answer is not found in one pill, formula, or action. Instead, we create brain habits for a lifetime so if degenerative brain diseases attack, our brains are in the best shape possible.

Studies on those who have lived long and aged well in body and mind show similar lifestyle habits of physical exercise, eating a brain healthy diet, plus other brain strengthening habits. It’s these ‘other habits’ that often don’t get as much attention but can have a huge impact. These include daily mental fitness, optimized sleep, consistent positive outlook, socialization, and managing stress levels. Let’s break these down into easy, practical habits.

Strengthen our Brains

Vigorous and daily mental fitness protects our brains. When we challenge ourselves mentally by doing something new, different, or outside our comfort zone we use and create new brain cells and pathways. This daily brain engagement creates cognitive reserve to protect our brains if brain degenerative diseases attack. It’s like being in good physical condition prior to a physical ailment. The more cognitive reserve we create by challenging our brains daily, the more we protect our brains to age well. For more tips, check out my Brain Boosters Book for details plus over 200 mental fitness activities to create that cognitive reserve!

Optimize Sleep

We all know how sleep (or the lack thereof) impacts our body. But sleep is just as important to our memories. When we sleep, our brains sift and sort through our day of memories. It organizes, files, and keeps what’s important in a process called memory consolidation. Optimizing our sleep quality and quantity is important to be able to process our memories daily and as we age. If we don’t sleep well or long enough, this consolidation doesn’t occur, interrupting and minimizing our memories for that day. Repeated poor sleep compounds the problem. Improving sleep not only helps our bodies, but also our memories. For additional sleep tips, see this post on elusive sleep or this one on the priority of sleep.

Be and Stay Positive

Choosing to be and stay positive everyday can be a challenge. But this choice has a major impact on how our brains age. When we choose to view life in a positive way, we then act positively. When we choose to only see the negative, we tend to only focus there, creating a downward, unhealthy spiral. Practicing positivity doesn’t mean we don’t address challenges in life. It simply means we also choose to see and act in a positive manner amid challenges. This more pliable, positive outlook helps us see more solutions then simply dwelling on the problem. It enables our brains think differently while simultaneously strengthening it. Practice positivity, surround yourself with positive people, and see how it impacts your outlook and your brain wellness!

Be Social

We were created to be social and live in community. So being social is simply a manifestation of normal living. But that isn’t as easy for some, especially as we age. For various reasons, as we age our socialization decreases, just when we need it more. When we engage with others, our brain reacts and acts differently than when we are alone. It responds to thoughts and actions that aren’t our own, connecting different brain cells and compounding the impact. Being with others isn’t simply about being sociable. It’s about keeping our brains engaged differently to age well. Everyone has a different level of comfort with socialization, but when we step outside what’s comfortable, we help our brains and may even find more friends in the process.

Manage Stress

Stress impacts our brains just as much as it impacts our bodies. The physical ramifications of stress are well known. But many are unaware of how much stress impacts our brain and memory. When stressed, our body and brain shift into emergency mode and only do what’s necessary for that moment. Extraneous or higher-level processes become less important. So, too much negative stress can literally impede our ability to make or retrieve memories. Since both positive and negative stress is part of life, managing it well is our goal. Let’s not allow stress to steal any more of our current or future moments. For stress management tips check out this post.

Aging well means different things to different people. But one thing is constant. When we create brain habits for a lifetime, we strengthen our brains now and as we age. It’s never too late to boost our brains so let’s get started!

For more details and reinforcing mental fitness activities on these brain habits for a lifetime, get your copy of Brain Boosters today!

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