Mental decline isn’t inevitable and there is a lot we can do to keep mentally fit throughout our lives. Here are 12 things you can do today..
1. Drink more water! We’ve heard it all before but remember, your brain is 80% water. Scientists suggest we should all drink the fluid oz / litre equivalent to half our body weight in water every day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds you should drink 75oz or just over 2 litres of water each day
2. Get enough sleep – at least 7-8 hours per night, and remember that quality is better than quantity. Fragmented sleep as opposed to restorative sleep can cause a lowered metabolism and increased levels of the hormone cortisol.
3. Move! And I don’t mean move house (although studies have shown that a change in environment can stimulate the brain!) Participating in sports, especially ones that require complex movements like aerobics and those that require co-ordination like table tennis can also improve your brain function. Studies show that exercise will help prevent Alzheimer’s and boost your energy, mood, metabolism, and the ability to create new brain cells.
4. Protect yourself from brain injury. Head injuries are common in sports such as cycling, cricket, basketball, skateboarding and of course extreme sport of any kind. Sadly, many sports head injuries lead to permanent brain damage or worse. So protection is key.
5. Practice GRATITUDE. Studies have shown that people who practice gratitude tend to be happier and less depressed. They showed greater neural sensitivity in the medial prefrontal cortex, the brain area associated with learning and decision making.
6. Eat a healthy breakfast and keep your blood sugar balanced. Eating a healthy breakfast can jump start your brain and help boost your productivity and focus throughout the day.
7. Maintain a healthy weight. Studies show that as your weight goes up, the size and function of your brain goes down.
8. Eliminate toxins. Eliminating toxins from the body improves brain function. So avoid processed foods. Reduce alcohol. Stop smoking. Eat more antioxidant and super-nutrient food to protect your brain from free radicals.
9. Keep leaning. Our brains are much like a muscle—the more you use it, the stronger it gets. Learn a new language, play chess, challenge yourself mentally… and keep it up!
10. Practice stress/anxiety management techniques, such as meditation and hypnotherapy. There are plenty of online brain games designed to boost emotional control and stress resilience.
11. Take a multiple vitamin and supplements that improve brain function. Certain vitamins and fatty acids have been said to slow or prevent memory loss. The long list of potential solutions includes vitamins like vitamin B-12, herbal supplements such as ginkgo biloba, and omega-3 fatty acids.
12. Remember never to forget the importance of looking after your brain! Learn more about the health of your brain and strive to improve it!
Gail Marra D.Hyp MNCH (Acc) LAPHP is a GHR registered Clinical Hypnotherapist accredited by the National Council for Hypnotherapy, Association for Professional Hypnosis and Psychotherapy, National Register of Psychotherapists and Counsellors and the Complimentary and Natural Healthcare Council
10 Harley Street, London W1G 9PF Tel: 020 7873 2051
The Chilston Clinic, Royal Tunbridge Wells TN4 8RA Tel: 01892 513535