How To Keep Your Mind Healthy
Phelps LaClair is always promoting physical health to our clients. We want to see you live long and healthy lives. And just as important to us is your mental health. Research has shown that it is possible to ward off memory and cognitive problems by exercising our brains in a similar manner that we exercise our bodies. Lifestyle choices can make a difference in whether we age like a fine wine, or age like milk. Here are some tips on how to keep your mind healthy and maintain good brain function as you age.
Challenge your thinking.
Learning something new is one of the best ways to increase your cognitive ability. You can learn by reading as well as by taking lessons. Google and YouTube are great assets to assist you in acquiring the necessary information to do a new task. If you only use your personal computer for email, you are missing out on the greatest invention since the library.
You might try a new hobby that requires you to work out how to do a task. Learning to play an instrument is one of the best ways to challenge both mind and body. And, there are many health benefits to music. You will develop motor skills and tap into both sides of your brain at the same time. Music requires several kinds of thinking: analytical, relational, mathematical and creative. There is a never-ending path to musical mastery. The journey is worth taking. Musicians only ever get better the longer they do it.
Problem-solving exercises are great stimulators to develop new skills in critical thinking. Strategic games like backgammon and chess, or card games that you can play with other people are excellent stimulators for critical thinking. The social aspect of these games can also promote mental health as we discuss below. Crossword puzzles and sudoku require memory and logic; they are also fun, popular and engaging.
Build memory muscles.
There are long term memory pathways that you may not have used for many years. Long-ago memories are often more accessible than last month’s. Recalling long term learning is a way to stimulate your short term memory retention. Nobody wants to live in the past, but tapping into knowledge acquired long ago can be stimulating and rewarding. How much of history class do you remember? How about chemistry or algebra? Brushing up on these stored memories can bring new associations with current events and give a greater sense of understanding to an increasingly complex world.
Or, you can take a class in a subject that really interests you. Older adults who go back to school or take classes online experience so much more satisfaction than their younger selves. The challenge of competing against people half your age will drive you to excel. You will retain more of what is helpful and useful, and you will love that the “kids” respect you in a new way. They will often want to draw on your life experiences in their own quest to make sense of the world. You can be both a student and a mentor.
Be here now.
This was a popular expression in the 60s and 70s. It means to live in the present and not in the future or the past. You can’t change the past or control the future, but you do have the present moment. How do you make the most of it?
Be social. Isolation can quickly lead to poor physical, mental, and emotional health. We, humans, are made for interaction with other people. People, and more specifically meaningful relationships, are necessary for our mental health. Without strong social connections, we regress into loneliness, hopelessness and despair. But with them, we can age successfully.
Maintain your purpose in life. Bob Dylan sang, “He not busy being born is busy dying.” There is always more to learn and discover. All of your interests somehow point to your purpose. When you continue to pursue your purpose, your life will be truly alive and enriched.
Stop multitasking. Thoroughly immerse yourself in one thing at a time. Multitasking can affect memory and it can prevent you from deeply comprehending the things you are learning. It often produces stress, and chronic stress can adversely affect both physical and mental health.
Estate Planning Firm in Scottsdale
According to Richard Rohr, there is a first-half of life that seeks to build, and a second-half that seeks to pass it on. Know which half you are in and live it as well as you can. You start by knowing how to keep your mind healthy. Estate planning is a second-half-of-life activity that uses first-half accomplishments to benefit others. Our purpose at Phelps LaClair is to help you live the best possible life with peace of mind, knowing that your wealth will be successfully passed on to succeeding generations. For information and advice on wills, living trusts and other estate planning tools, call us for a free, no-obligation consultation.