If you are over 40, you have probably already noticed that your brain is not all it used to be. Some people even begin to notice it in their 30s. At first, it can be funny. You enter another room only to forget why you went there, you forget in the middle of a sentence what you were going to say, or you have trouble remembering what you meant to get at the store. We jokingly refer to these as “senior moments,” but they can be rather disturbing when they begin to add up.
We are all mortal, so some decline is inevitable as we move through middle age and subsequently our golden years. But fortunately, modern science and traditional science combine to give us a great variety of strategies and remedies for combating the mental decline that goes with aging. You might not be able to work all these things into your lifestyle, but if you can make habits out of a few of them, you should begin to see your mental ability improving.
Exercise your brain: The most important thing you can do to slow the decline of your brain is to exercise it every day. If all you do is go through the motions of your work and home life without ever challenging yourself, your mind will get fuzzy much more quickly. In contrast, if you keep trying new things and regularly do things that challenge your mind, you will stay sharp.
Exercise your body: Physical exercise improves circulation to the brain, and when the brain gets more oxygen and nutrients, the cells stay strong longer, and you fend off many of the negative factors that cause decline. And even when you are not exercising, having a healthy body is good for the brain. So instead of thinking of your body and brain as separate things, think of them as a unified system.
Learn new things: In addition to doing brain exercises, it is also important to continue learning new things. For example, many people achieve great results by learning a foreign language in their later years (and contrary to widespread belief, it is not impossible). You can also learn a musical instrument, study a new subject that you missed out on in school, or hone a craft of some sort.
Eat clean, natural foods: The modern diet does the brain no favors, with its unnecessary chemicals, preservatives, and throttled nutritional content. A diet full of junk food can cause mental decline as fast as anything else. If you want to give your brain a boost, make an effort to focus on clean, simple, organic foods that are mostly fresh and homemade. Emphasize balanced nutrition with daily portions from all the major food groups.
Find time to quiet your mind: When your mind is constantly going at a million miles a minute, it never gets time to replenish itself. That is why it is important to find some time to relax—if not every day then at least very often.
Get plenty of sleep: Poor sleep habits contribute to mental decline because the brain does much of its growth and self-healing while we are sleeping. Although older people generally do not need as much sleep as younger people, set your lifestyle with an emphasis on getting as much sleep as you need to feel healthy and rejuvenated every morning. Try not to think of sleep as a dispensable thing. It is a crucial part of your brain health.
By Marc Courtiol