Be Good to your Brain
Did you know that by making a few small changes and minding your brain can really improve your memory and also help prevent cognitive decline in later life?
Have a look at the points below and see how many things you may already be doing and what you may consider changing:
- Sleep – Are you getting enough quality sleep? Restorative sleep is one of the best things you can do for your brain. During our sleep, we repair physically during the first half of sleep and mentally during the second half. If any stage of your sleep in interrupted or you only get a few hours a night, your brain and body is not repairing properly which may increase your risk of physical or mental illness. Lack of quality sleep is also linked to Dementia in later life, so it really is worth having a look at your sleeping patterns and incorporating a good seven or eight hours quality sleep each night.
While you sleep, you also process any unresolved issues which may have happened during the day. This happens in the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep when you dream metaphorically. This is your brains way of trying to process the issues and clearing your head for the following day. If this is interrupted, you won’t be as fresh and again may be more susceptible to low mood and energy resulting in lack of motivation.
- Social Activities – Do you have a community? Do you get out with your friends? Do you meet up socially and have fun? We have evolved to be social beings and there are certain neurons in the brain that only connect through social activity and having fun. If you don’t have this, these neurons won’t be as active and there have been several studies which show this may contribute to cognitive decline in later life.
- Get some oxygen to those brain cells – The brain needs lots of oxygen for blood flow so the more exercise you get the better. If you are living quite the sedentary life, your brain will be a little more sluggish. There really is no excuse for this so find an exercise you enjoy and just do it.
- Give your brain the space it craves – We have thousands of thoughts every day and your brain never gets a break, only at nighttime when you go to sleep and even then, it is working to process even more information. Think of a treadmill – after running on it for a while, you start to feel tired and sore, so you press the ‘STOP’ button, take a rest, reenergize and start again. Your brain also needs this ‘STOP’ button. If you learn to meditate and be mindful, it will provide your brain with the space it needs to breath and reenergize. Even a 5-minute meditation in the morning and evening can work wonders for the brain. Memory and energy improve as your ‘thoughts’ are not taking up all the space in your brain and zapping you of your energy.
- Solitude / Privacy – One of our basic human needs is the need for privacy. The expectations of today’s society mean we are on high alert all the time and busy doing a lot of things. Privacy is needed to relax and be away from the noise in the world. Privacy provides your brain with the space it needs to flourish. Many people who devote time during the day to being on their own without distractions say that the best ideas come to them during these times as their brain has the peace it needs to think properly.