Here are some tips to help you improve your mental fitness and get you moving on the right track to a much happier – and healthier – brain!
1. Exercise for 30 minutes every day.
Physical exercise delivers oxygen to the brain. This can help to improve your memory, reasoning abilities and reaction times, as well as your mood, physique and confidence.
2. Read often and read widely.
Keeping an active interest in the world around you will help to exercise your brain and improve your mental fitness. I’m not talking about the negative stories all over the news and the internet. Dive into something more meaningful! If you love business, a great book that my team and I just read is called Traction by Gino Wickman, which was great. Maybe you love spirit-science or maybe you are into personal development books. Find something you are genuinely interested in and get your learn on!
3. Boost your levels of vitamin B.
Wild fish, pasture-raised eggs, free-range organic chicken and leafy greens are all great sources. Vitamin B is essential to brain health.
4. Challenge your intellect and memory.
Stretch yourself mentally by learning a new language, doing crossword puzzles or trivia. This is important for brain health and can be a really fun way to connect with your friends and make new ones!
5. Take time to relax.
Excess stress hormones like cortisol can be harmful to the brain. Schedule regular periods of relaxation each week, such as meditation, prayers, yoga, or whatever makes you feel rested and at peace in your mind, body and spirit.
6. Take up a new hobby.
Learning something new gives the ‘grey matter’ a workout and builds neural pathways in the brain. Have you always wanted to learn how to paint? Learn to speak Spanish or French? Now is the time!
7. Actively manage your health.
Conditions such as diabetes or heart disease can affect mental performance if not diagnosed and treated. Be sure to have regular check-ups with your doctor to prevent these issues. If something feels “off,” be sure to share this information in your appointment. And whatever you do, don’t be afraid to get a second, third, fourth opinion either! This is YOUR health and it matters – so do you.
8. Engage in stimulating conversations.
Talk to friends and family about a wide range of topics. This gives your brain an opportunity to explore, examine and enquire. It also allows you to connect on a deeper level with those around you. At Fitlife, we like to call this “soul food.”
9. Exercise your brain with others.
Watch, question and answer game shows and enjoy the competitive spirit. Involve the family in regular games to test their general knowledge and yours! No matter your age or experience, there is always something new to learn.
Taking 5-10 minutes first thing in the morning to write down 3 things you are grateful for is a really easy way to radically improve your life! Using your thoughts to intentionally change your emotions is often referred to as positive psychology and can have a profound affect on your mental, physical and spiritual state. There is so much we take for granted, especially the simple things we use every day. Thank your body for all that it does for you – your eyes to see; your skin to protect you; your ears to listen; your mouth to speak and nourish your cells. When you take the time to dig in, your heart can’t help but overflow and be reminded of how truly blessed we are to be alive!
11. Practice mindfulness meditation.
A study from Yale University, found that mindfulness meditation decreases activity in the default mode network (DMN), the brain network responsible for mind-wandering and self-referential thoughts – a.k.a., “monkey mind.”
12. Intermittent fasting.
This study shows that short-term fasting induces neuronal autophagy. Autophagy, or “self-eating,” is the process by which cells recycle waste material, downregulate wasteful processes and repair themselves. Brain health is highly dependent on neuronal autophagy. It also increases levels of BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor). Low levels of BDFN are linked to Alzheimer’s. Of course, this is not for everyone. Particularly, if you are a female dealing with any kind of hormonal imbalance, be sure to check with your healthcare professional before trying this for yourself.
13. Support your gut with probiotics.
14. JUICE, baby!
Vegetables are one of the best sources of nutrition, because they are chock-full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds to support brain health (along with many other systems in the body).