4 Ways To Stay Mentally Fit
It is easy to get caught up in the daily grind of taking care of everyone and everything else, and forget to take care of ourselves. It’s easy not to pay attention to what we eat, when we exercise or how we stimulate our brains, which is a necessity that’s almost always overlooked. How often have you looked at the clock and realized that you should have had your meal an hour or so ago?
Just like our bodies need exercise to stay fit and youthful, our brains also need a good daily workout to ensure that our brain cells remain healthy and vibrant well into our golden years. Feeling proactive about your health and taking things into your own hands can mean the difference between aging gracefully and withering away. I don't know about you, but I'd rather age gracefully than wither….
Staying mentally healthy enables us to stay attentive, efficiently manage our relationships, and deal with challenges and stress. It also helps you connect with who you are as a person and allow you to take pride in yourself and your abilities.
Read on for 4 ideas on how to keep your mind stimulated:
1. Search for knowledge
Numerous studies have been done on the correlation between the amount of knowledge you surround yourself with and the wellness of your cognitive functions.
Nowadays, information can be retrieved with the touch of a button, giving you the opportunity to immerse yourself in an ocean of books, podcasts, articles, and even mentally stimulating games, such as jigsaw puzzles, Sudoku, crossword puzzles, word searches, and a wide range of others.
When you learn something new, or engage in any sort of mental activity, you build new neural pathways in the brain, and the more connections each of our neurons has with other neurons, the more perceptive it is.
2. Form healthy habits
Even the task of writing down your goals helps keep you mentally alert. It gives you something to plan and look forward to. It also keeps you engaged in something that boosts your brain cells while giving your emotions an outlet.
Make it a point to try something new every month, like a new hobby or new exercise routine.
Challenge yourself to read a different book each week or eat at a new restaurant every now and then.
These tasks keep your mind on alert, mainly because you’re engaging in the process of learning, and, in addition, because you’re stepping out of your comfort zone. All these factors help boost concentration levels, as well as your confidence in your abilities to try new things and meet new people.
3. Exercise, preferably outdoors
Regular exercise releases ‘feel good hormones’ into your bloodstream, boosting your mood, and elevating memory and concentration levels. It also helps when you have to look after your very active grandchildren. I have the wonderful privilege of helping out with the care of 4 of my grandchildren – almost 1, 1 1/2, 3 and 5. Thank goodness I have been doing my stretching exercises since I was 40. At 72 I can still get down on the floor to play (and get up again, although that is a little harder….).
Mixing up workout styles or trying out a new jogging route helps form new patterns in your brain which means more neural pathways, and less cognitive decline. To make the most of exercising, try taking your workout to the nearest park where you can connect more with nature, breathe in some fresh air, and get a healthy dose of vitamin D.
Vitamin D is known for its ability to prevent depression. Plus, any type of physical activity helps eliminate brain fog, boost energy levels and alleviate stress. I have been taking Vitamin D for at least 10 years now since a nurse I know gave a talk on the importance of Vitamin D for staying healthy. I made sure my mother (who is 2 1/2 months short of her 101st birthday) also took Vitamin D for the past 8 years.
4. Manage stress
We all deal with stress and anxiety on a daily basis. But when cortisol (the stress hormone) levels are left unchecked, they start messing with your overall wellbeing. That’s why it’s smart to invest a few minutes each day in releasing that negative tension regularly built up by stress. You can do this through meditating, practicing mindfulness, yoga, or prayer. You could also start your day with a reading or journaling.
To staying mentally and physically fit
P.S. If you would like a self care journal, click here