All the organ systems of your body will change over the course of your lifetime, however many years you are blessed to have. This is a theme that has been in earlier Hilltop Pharmacy & Natural Health blogs and will continue to appear. The gist is that you need to be aware of these changes and what kinds of behaviors/lifestyle activities on your part contribute to the wellness of your body systems, or to their deterioration.
Your brain is the focus in this blog. Yes, your brain ages. Yes, you don’t always remember faces, names or where you put your keys. You may not quickly recall what you ate for dinner yesterday. Is this cause for alarm? If you sit quietly for a few minutes you may surprise yourself at what you do indeed remember. On a larger scale, your brain has been hard at work doing dozens of other tasks each day with your memory ability being just one job. So don’t be too quick to panic as some people do to think that their brain is in a downward spiral towards dementia.
MENTAL FUNCTIONS OF YOUR BRAIN
Memory is just one of your brain’s functions. First of all, think “Mental Functions” and begin to appreciate what your brain has done for you so far this day:
Woke up, showered, dressed, ate breakfast, got your transport to work or drove, got off at the correct stop, answered numerous phone calls, conducted business meeting, answered your emails, went to gym, etc. You get the point.
FALTERING MENTAL FUNCTIONS?
Are you a multi-tasker? Try trimming the number of simultaneous tasks. Instead prioritize (and write them down in priority order). Studies at various brain health and function centers note decline in the ability to retain information and more scattered focus. This can translate into reduced thoroughness on tasks and less efficiency. Examine how much time you spend on your “devices nosing into other matters”. This well may be distracting you and draining your brain power.
Insufficient rest and sleep can also contribute. Your brain needs time to recharge the dozens of brain chemicals that drive its many mental functions. Inadequate rest and sleep for one or two nights many not put you down. But as a continuous lifestyle habit, you may be setting yourself up for memory impairment, inability to focus, poor judgment because of fatigue and even mood swings and depression.
Medication use over the long-term including sleep remedies shows links to memory impairment and possibly even some cases of dementia. Check out your alcohol consumption too.
Daily water consumption also plays a role in how well your brain functions.
ELEVATE YOUR MENTAL FUNCTIONS
The adage, “If you don’t use it, you lose it” , applies to your brain functions. Brain health research indicates that your brain has the ability to expand its functions and to strengthen existing capabilities starting right now, regardless of your chronological age. Here are some ideas for you to make a regular part of your life effective TODAY!
- Feed your body fresh vegetables daily. Include greens and other colorful ones, nuts, omega-3 rich foods, whole grains, beans. Limit fried foods, excessive sweets, high saturated-fat foods such red meats, cheeses and excessive omega-6 fat foods such as processed snacks like chips and cookies
- Physical activity (some of you call it exercise and others call it going-to-the-gym) and its scope of options needs to be expanded in your mind. Yoga, pilates, dancing of all kinds, strength-training with resistance bands, hula hoop, punching bag, your basic calisthenics from high school days, etc. are some examples. And the great thing is that many of these are done right in the home. Free or low cost. No need to trek out into the snow or to buy memberships. Regular physical activity several times per week increases blood circulation to your brain and thus more oxygen to your neurons. Furthermore your brain produces chemicals that help grow more and new connections among those billions of neurons.
- Develop your creative side. Play a musical instrument, write poetry, sing, etc.
The health and wellness of your mental functions is very much in your control. It just requires your thought and then action.