Brain Exercises to Improve Memory and Mental Health

As we get older, the importance of taking care of our bodies becomes more and more apparent. If we don’t eat right, exercise, and get proper sleep, our bodies let us know — crawling out of bed with heartburn and stiff joints is a great motivator to take care of yourself. There is, however, one form of fitness we often overlook — brain exercises.

Just like every other muscle in your body, your brain needs to be properly stimulated. It also needs an adequate amount of rest and recovery time. Here are some ways to nourish your mind and keep your memory sharp. 

Give meditation a try

It feels odd at first to carve out a portion of your schedule to simply clear your mind, but considering the endless stimulation we encounter in modern society, it’s definitely needed. 

Meditation has a variety of brain benefits, including

  • Stress relief
  • Ability to focus 
  • Mental clarity
  • Improvement in your general mood and well-being

There are many ways to meditate. You can use online apps like Headspace or Insight Timer, or do in-person meditation and breathwork classes. Journaling your thoughts and goals after a meditation session can also help to keep your mind clear and focused.

When it comes to exercises to improve memory and concentration, meditation is one of the most versatile — you can do it during work breaks, make it a part of your morning routine, or even slip outside for five minutes. 

If you love to multitask, yoga may be a great option for you. It works your mind and your body at the same time. Win-win. 

Take a break from screens 

You probably understand how scrolling on social media can affect your sleep and mental health, but the pull of our phones and devices can have a negative impact on memory, as well. 

Luckily, many phone manufacturers are acknowledging the problem and adding handy tools to smartphones that shut off notifications during working hours or let you know when you’ve reached your designated time limit for apps and screen time. Check your settings to set some boundaries for yourself.

Reducing screen time can help you focus and could lead to memory improvement. You may also notice a drop in your stress levels and a boost in serotonin. 

Break out the puzzles

Often, puzzles and word games are associated with brain exercises for seniors, but this is a hobby anyone can enjoy. Picking up a puzzle book and cozying up on the couch with your favorite pen and a hot mug of tea is a great way to unwind after a long day. Word and number puzzles are a great way to hone your cognitive skills and keep your mind sharp. 

If you’re looking for a fun family event, try picking up an old-fashioned 10,000-piece puzzle to put together. It’s a great way to reduce your children’s screen time while enjoying some togetherness. 

If you’re looking for something while on the go, check out the app store on your phone. They have a variety of brain exercise games that are designed to give both the left and right sides of your noggin a good workout. 

Add music to your tedious chores 

Next time you’re doing monotonous tasks like the dishes or cleaning, play your favorite songs that you jammed to when you were a teenager. Turns out that listening to songs from your childhood can help you retain cherished memories from the past. It also gives you a golden excuse to belt “Ice, Ice, Baby” at the top of your lungs while emptying the dishwasher. 

Let the great outdoors clear your mind

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but maybe they should change that to a walk. Instead of hopping on that indoor bike or treadmill, take a stroll through your local park or neighborhood instead. 

Getting outside and breathing in some fresh air is good for the mind, body, and soul. Make it a daily goal to slip outside for some quiet time, even if it’s just a brief sit on your porch or patio. 

Taking care of your mental health starts with reducing stress. Scripps has some great stress-relieving tips for the whole family.

Categories:
Healthy Lifestyles Managing Illness Seniors & Caregivers
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