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4 Ways To Stay Mentally Fit

We get caught up in the daily grind of taking care of everyone and everything else, and

we forget to take care of ourselves – do you agree?

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.

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.

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.

Here I give you my 4 ideas on how you can 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.

This goes for learning a new activity too, such as a musical instrument or taking a dance

class and learning the many dance steps, etc.

Typically, if you don’t use it, you might just lose it!!

2. Form healthy habits

Even the task of writing down your goals – long and short term, 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 a new activity every month - a new exercise routine.

Challenge yourself to try outdoor activities and indoor activities. Activate your brain to

research so many activities both indoors and outdoors, but follow through by

challenging yourself to try the actual activity.

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.

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, as is moving your body. Dr.

Michael Craig Miller from Harvard University reports that low-intensity exercise

sustained over time is the kind of activity that spurs the release of proteins called

neurotrophic or growth factors, which cause nerve cells to grow and make new

connections. The improvement in brain function makes you feel better.

"In people who are depressed, neuroscientists have noticed that the hippocampus in the

brain—the region that helps regulate mood—is smaller. Exercise supports nerve cell

growth in the hippocampus, improving nerve cell connections, which helps relieve

depression” say’s Dr. Miller, so any type of physical activity helps eliminate brain fog,

boost energy levels and alleviate stress.

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,

gratitude awareness, yoga, prayer, or just going for a walk near water or within

bushland or a rainforest, will regulate your cortisol and make you feel less stressed.

Therapy is also a great way to express your emotions in a constructive, nonjudgmental

environment that allows you to set time aside for your needs. Whichever medium you

prefer, the aim is to improve your state of mind while gaining a sense of serenity and

control over your emotions and mental happiness.

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