17 Ways to Improve Your Brain Function and Keep You Mentally Fit

By Patrick Banks

Posted 5 months agoGROWTH

Ever wonder what you can do to keep your brain functioning at its optimal level? There are a lot of wild claims on the internet and even among scholars about what can be done to improve overall brain health. Questions arise about brain health versus IQ or how brain health actually improves the lives of people.

One thing that can’t be ignored is when people take care of their brain, it actually fires electrons at an elevated rate. This is known to improve overall cognitive ability.

Here are just a few ways to improve your brain health and protect your most important organ.

Every brain changes with age, but according to the studies from Harvard Medical School, mental decline is not inevitable. Our brain depends on specific food such as oxygen, blood sugar, vitamins and healthy fat in order to function properly.

People have more mental issues in the twenty-first century than physical issues. Today, we have a cure for almost every disease and the mortality rate is the lowest ever. While we may be physically healthy, most of us are not happy.We look like we have more luxuries than ever, and still, we feel tired and no longer enjoy things as our ancestors did.

The reason is that we are not mentally fit.We walk and talk normal and most of us are not retarded, but there are more forms of mental illness than we see. After all, over 16 million people in the United States are suffering from depression. Instead of telling you how you can maintain good physical health by eating clean, this article discusses how you can keep yourself mentally fit.

How to Make Sure You Always Remain Mentally Fit

To maintain your brain health you need not only to feed it, but also to train its tiny neurons that are responsible for all your body functions. How can you create stronger neural connections in your brain that are responsible for storing and sharing information?

Learn some tips and tricks that can keep your brain fit.

1. Physical Exercise

Exercise Every Day.

Yeah, cliché, I know, but exercise really is more important than most of us think. It’s even more important than eating healthy. You should keep moving your body and shed some sweat to keep yourself physically as well as mentally healthy.

You only need to exercise for 30 minutes every day. You don’t need to take any extra proteins or a heavy diet. Just make it a part of your routine to do exercise. Creating a plan with every exercise will make this job a little easier for you.

In addition to mental exercise, the brain also loves when you put on those sneakers and get moving. A minimum of 20 minutes of daily cardiovascular activity gets the heart rate up and pumps more oxygen to the brain. Since the brain doesn’t like when the body is sedentary, it really benefits from exercise, which helps release hormones that nurture the environment for cell growth.

Try out activities such as running or biking to grow your brain.  Cycling offers health benefits and is a brain favorite, too. Essentially, you’re building your brain. Keep in mind that exercising first thing in the morning is best because it jump starts brain activity and prepares the mind and body for the day’s challenges. When you’re limited on time, try to do an activity that combines coordination and cardio, such as Zumba or a step or dance class.

If you’re older in age, then things like pool activities, walking or using a rowing machine are great alternatives to running. You need to choose activates that challenge your mind and body without putting extra stress on your joints and ligaments. In addition to the mental boost that exercise gives you as you age, it can also prevent you from losing bone density.

Taking care of your body is one of the most important ways to improve your brain healthTreat yourself to a massage or a day at the spa. Regular exercise supplies your brain with more oxygen which is essential for great memory and thinking skills. The more oxygen your brain receives, the less you will have to rely on.

2. Quitting Stimulants

Quit stimulants. Alcohol, tobacco and other toxins that damage the cells.

Smoking is horrible for your overall health. In addition to lung cancer, heart issues, throat cancer and a host of other issues – smoking has been shown to have significantly negative effects on brain health.

In fact, a study conducted by Archives of Internal Medicine followed over 21,000 people through 40 plus years of smoking to determine those individuals were twice as likely to come down with dementia as they age.

3. Brain Foods

Include in your diet plenty of fruit and vegetables, grains, fish and proteins. Do not skip meals, but avoid or cut down on sugar, salt and fast food.

The brain benefits from nutritious foods just like the rest of our body. It sounds funny but it’s true. Not all foods are equal when it comes to cerebral function; some help the brain thrive more than others. Foods rich in antioxidants such as blueberries, otherwise known as “brainberries,” help ward off age-related diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Avocados are also a good monounsaturated fat that promote healthy cerebral blood flow and reduce the chance of hypertension, a risk factor for cognitive decline.  Another great nutritional option that will keep your brain strong is nuts.

Not all foods are created equal – especially when it comes to how they affect your brain’s performance. Just on the contrary, some foods will actually hinder the brain’s ability to function properly. Nuts are full of vitamin E and also reduce the chances of cognitive decline. Indulge in walnuts, cashews, almonds, flax seeds, peanuts, hazelnuts and even peanut butter.  Lastly, green vegetables such as spinach, kale, or romaine lettuce also help keep the brain ecstatic.

The green vegetables are full of vitamin K and A, which help battle inflammation and mental deterioration. If you’re pressed for time and really want to give your brain a super sized meal full of everything it loves, consider making a smoothie with all the ingredients listed above.

4. Socializing To Keep Your Brain Healthy

Relationships are what make the world go around – especially our personal worls. These interpersonal interactions shape our everyday happiness which in turn can affect our mental state. Beyond this though, “transactive” memory has been shown by psychologist Daniel Wegner in 1985 to be our own personal silo of expertise within a relationship. Our partner owns their own silo of expertise so we don’t have to remember that.

Couples use this, without knowledge, to work as a team. For example, a couple could be at a party where one person is excellent at remembering faces and names but is terrible at remembering what they do for a living. The other person in the couple may have that covered so they can work as a team to have more brain power than they would have alone.

Your brain is the most powerful machine in your body and many people are not even aware of this. Most do not do much to increase their brain functions or recharge the brain cells so they can perform best. It is no wonder then that so many people suffer from depression, addiction to drugs, insomnia, and loss of memory or focus. When hard times knock you need as much support as you can get from others to feel more secure, but in the age of digital technology and virtual reality friendship, socializing have become a privilege not many of us can afford.

You can spend hours chatting with friends online, but it can never replace the feeling you get when talking in person, or when you spend time together, listen to friends, laugh and cry with them. This is exactly what your brain likes – spending quality time with others reduces the risk of dementia, helps with insomnia and interaction with people is also a unique fitness for the brain. The more you socialize the better cognitive functions you will have. Lonely people have been reported to suffer more from stress, high blood pressure, and depression.

Good friends are great therapists. Spending time with them keeps you mentally healthy and is one of the most important ways to improve brain function. You might notice that most of the time you spend with them, you keep laughing. If they instead become a reason for mental fatigue, you need to find new friends. We all could use some time in which we don’t have to pretend to be someone and watch our words. Among friends, even all your sad stories become funny stories and a source of amusement for your friends and yourself.

You will start to feel that the problems weren’t that big of a deal – after all, it’s all in your mind. An issue is only as big as you make it to be, and friends don’t let each other make a big deal out of anything, even if you were just divorced and fired from your job at the same time.

5. Thinking Positively

Putting your mind into positive vibration maybe one of the most important ways to improve brain function.

Thinking positively can mean the difference in reaching your potential and being left behind. This is known as the “Pygmalion effect.” The “Pygmalion effect” is a psychological theory that has been shown that children who are high standards set to their life will live up to them. In turn, those children who don’t will not strive on their own to achieve more. They are much more apt to give up.

This effect is a motivational phenomenon that keeps the brain firing to achieve more. The brain is shown to stay more engaged and firing at a higher level than if those high standards aren’t instilled in the child.

6. Mental Exercise

One of the leading activities in preventing brain deterioration is simply playing games. Taking time out to indulge in mental endurance games may actually help keep cerebral atrophy at bay. Brain atrophy is a decrease in connections between neurons and can be caused by diseases such as Alzheimer’s, front temporal dementia, and Pick’s disease.  The brain doesn’t like to be sedentary so activities that allow it to flex its muscle through recalling information or learning a new skill will keep it thriving. 

Games like poker keep the brain engaged and focused for long periods of time. Players are required to analyze hands for all the possible outcomes and use probability equations to determine the likelihood of winning. In addition, poker has a human element that requires players to read other players mannerisms for things like bluffs or tells.

7. Quality Sleep

Sleep is well-known to help the body restore, relax and improve. Sleep’s affect on your brain is no different. That doesn’t mean that your brain shuts off while asleep. Actually it’s the opposite. A lot of what happens while you’re asleep has to do with consolidating what you learned that day so you can recall it more easily when you need it moving forward. Dream for instance are a reflection of all the work that’s going on to organize and store all the information you collected during the day.

These are all simple changes you can adopt to ensure your brain stays as healthy as you deserve – and for many decades to come.

8. Step out of your comfort zone

Step out of your comfort zone and try something new, learn a foreign language or how to play chess. Learning and change can be your new strategies to best maintain your brain health.

9. Regular health check ups

Visit your doctor regularly as if left untreated, many diseases or conditions may affect your memory. Diabetes, high blood pressure, depression and unhealthy diet are some of them.

Various cognitive enhancers and nootropics supplements can be treated as an immediate solution to help your brain work more effectively, but long term hygienic and relaxed life are the most important factors.

10. Balance of Blood Sugar

Your brain cannot work without energy from blood sugar that should be balanced without sudden spikes or lows. Higher levels of sugar in your blood affect the brain in that your cognitive and memory skills may become slow. If the levels of blood sugar are not balanced then our brain suffers so we feel tired, unable to concentrate, we are anxious or irritable.

People eat chocolate or drink coffee to enhance their brain, but what they actually need is a healthy snack.

How to Balance Blood Sugar?

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This is best done by consuming healthy food with slow releasing sugar, for example, whole wheat bread or pasta, vegetables and fruit, seed, grains and proteins from eggs, yoghurt and fish. Breakfast should not be skipped and three meals per day should be enough.

What you need is a balanced menu – the one that keeps your blood sugar at normal levels during the day and contains proteins, fats, and carbs in moderate, healthy amounts. If you want to make sure your brain gets enough energy then yoga is the key. Regular yoga exercises help you cope better with stress that is known to cause sugar cravings.

11. Stress and Memory

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When you are under stress your brain receives less blood which causes your brain arteries to shrink, the levels of cortisol and adrenaline rise and you feel tired and anxious. While almost everyone experiences stressful situations on a daily basis, stress should not be taken for granted. If left untreated you may develop chronic stress without even knowing it, but the effects will damage your brain cells and leave you feeling exhausted and forgetful.

Stress hormones are there to help people deal with difficulties, but if you are too nervous when driving in rush hours or because your computer broke down, then it is high time you do something about your health before you lose your memory and/or mind. Stress literally kills your brain, but you can prevent this from happening by choosing a healthy lifestyle with plenty of positive energy for your brain.

You can start with changing the way you see events in your life. This is where yoga or tai chi are most beneficial as they offer techniques that help you calm down.

12. Challenging Your Mind

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Retirement often means you have more free time for yourself and less stress in your everyday life, but for people who used to be extremely active in their professions this absence of duties often brings feelings of boring routine and a lack of social interactions they once enjoyed. To avoid negative thoughts and live actively you can choose a hobby, join a club to play cards or chess, or do crosswords, watch films and discuss them with friends.

You like challenges or you have always wanted to try bungee-jumping, but your children say you are too old for that. Do not hesitate anymore especially if you want to keep your brain healthy and ready for new adventures. Whenever you try something new to change the boring routine, you help your brain stay young. The same happens when you talk to your best friend or walk for a mile.

If you let your brain stuck in routines, without any new challenges, it may start to degenerate faster losing its functions which lead to decreased concentration and lack of memory. You have always wanted to learn more languages so you can communicate with other people or travel abroad. Learning a new language can be the best therapy for your brain no matter how old you are.

Start with the lifelong learning program available at most universities worldwide where senior citizens improve their skills or learn new ones, while others even start part time jobs to increase their incomes. Whatever your choice, remember to challenge your brain with new activities, be it writing with your left hand or listening to music with your eyes closed.

There are no excuses when it comes to brain health – treat your brain the same way you would a new sports car or a computer, update it, don’t overuse it, add new software in the form of various activities and do not forget to refuel or feed it when needed. You cannot stop your brain cells from dying during your lifetime, but what you CAN do is to make the whole process as slow as possible so once you are old you still remember what you did the day before.

13. Reading Instead of Watching

Watching drama seasons and movies is fun. We spend hours watching one season and don’t realize where all the time went. While no one is stopping you from following Hollywood (like anyone could), you should also develop a habit of reading. Harry Potter is no doubt the most fun movie series to watch, but have you tried its written version?

Likewise, the perfect season Game of Thrones also has a novel that pays attention to even more of the tiniest details. Spending too much time in front of the screen has a negative effect on your brain. On the other hand, reading allows you to discover a new world of imagination that also improves your mental health.

14. Days Off from Office

Work is the most common reason for stress. For some reason, no matter how qualified you are, jobs don’t let you take proper rest. Even people who are good at their jobs feel too much pressure on themselves. There are people who can’t stop thinking about work even when they are not in the office.

This is the reason you should take days off when you start to feel exhausted. If possible, go travelling to clear your mind as when you distant yourself and enjoy a new environment, it’s easier for your brain to stay mindful.

It is also an established fact that companies don’t give you off days unless they know you can’t work anyway. You can get real medical documents from bestfakedoctornotes.net to show you are unwell before you are actually pushed to those limits.

15. Don’t be An Addict of Anything

Whether it’s alcohol, sex, or weed, don’t make them an important part of your life. Everything is good as long as it is utilized in limits, and too much of anything is bad. Reliability on such things leave you mentally weak and also destroy your health.

You should go out with friends, have some drinks, find a pretty hookup, but it would be bad if you can’t go a day without doing those things. You must learn to enjoy your own company and don’t make yourself dependable on anything or anyone to stay mentally fit. If you cannot quit yourself, ask for professional psychological help to figure out why you are addicted to certain substances or behaviours.

16. New Hobby

Good hobbies are known to improve mental health. You need to adopt new hobbies and follow them with your heart. It’s not like a responsibility. You adopt things that you like to do, so you won’t feel like it’s a drag.

When you do things you like, you feel happy and refreshed. Some of the common hobbies include gardening, singing, and drawing. There are also plenty of other things, and you only need to find something you like.

17. Learning to Play Music

Learning an instrument improves your memory, reading skills, and mental health so it’s one of the most important ways to improve brain function.. There are also many other scientifically proven health benefits of learning and playing music. You have an entire life to work and you spend full days focusing only on work.

Take one hour three days a week for yourself and join a music academy. You will make many new friends and learn an instrument that will allow you to let out your feelings in a positive. Simply playing that instrument in leisure time will give you peace of mind.

About the author Patrick Banks

Patrick is a Berlin-based dating advisor, motivational speaker, a huge fitness and vegan diet enthusiast and the main editor at Wingman Magazine, specialised in men's health. His ultimate goal is to share with men around the world his passion for self-development and to help them to become the greatest version of themselves. He believes a healthy body and successful social interactions are two main keys to happiness.

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