The kind of lifestyle we lead affects not only the health of our bodies but our brains too.
There are good and bad habits that will determine the quality of our mental health.
Whereas you cannot turn back the hand of time to slow down the effects of age, there are ways you can improve your mental health and sharpen your mind for a better quality life.
Here is a look at 8 natural ways to improve your brain health and sharpen your mind.
1. Engage in Mental Exercises
We engage in physical exercises so that our musculoskeletal system can strengthen.
Similarly, the brain muscles, in this case, neural assemblies, can be trained to interconnect strongly through some mental exercises.
Stronger connections between neurons improve the rate at which signals into the mind are “fired” and distributed for further action.
If you are only solving common problems using well-worn paths, your brain isn’t getting the stimulation it requires to develop and expand.
This is why you need to try cognitive training exercises that can help stretch your brain.
A good mental exercise should be challenging, educative, rewarding, and involve a skill you can enhance.
2. Don’t Ignore Physical Exercise
Generally, physical exercise improves the brain’s cognitive function.
This is by increasing blood circulation in the body which ensures there is enough supply of oxygen in the brain.
Besides, exercise lowers stress levels and helps in the production of useful brain chemicals.
It also enhances the amount of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), a protein that stimulates the development of new neurons thus boosting memory, higher thinking, and learning.
3. Manage stress
There are numerous scientific studies that prove that chronic stress can harm the brain.
For instance, in 2014, researchers from the University of California, Berkeley showed that chronic stress could generate long-term damage in the brain.
This is one reason most people with stress disorders are at high risks of developing mental problems in future.
If you want to improve your mental health and sharpen your mind, adopting a lifestyle that can reduce stress levels is key.
As mentioned earlier, physical exercises can help lower production of stress hormone and increase the feel-good hormones in our bodies.
Another practice that can help decrease stress is meditation.
Try daily mindfulness meditation, spiritual rituals like prayer, and breath-focused exercises, among others to help regularize your emotions.
4. Keep off Sugar
Some foods we eat can take a toll on our brains.
For instance, diets full of sugar trigger inflammation, improper insulin regulation, and oxidation that can cause stress.
This makes it necessary to follow diet plans that help reduce inflammation and boost insulin regulation.
5. Eat Foods that Can Boost Mental Health
Besides keeping a healthy diet, you can also supplement it with foods that are specifically good for your brain’s health.
For instance, an increase in your intake of antioxidants is reasonable as these can boost your memory and help your mind stay sharp.
Foods rich in antioxidants include blueberries, red grapes, vegetables such as spinach and carrots among others.
Some drinks like coffee, red wine, dark chocolate, and green tea add to this list too.
Invest in good sources of Omega 3 fatty acids such as fish, seeds, and nuts, among others.
6. Get Enough Sleep
In this case, we are not talking about some sleep that can help you get by.
On the contrary, the focus is in restful sleep which can allow your body to relax fully and gain many sleep-related benefits including memory consolidation.
Other importance of sleep includes improved memory, critical thinking abilities, problem-solving skills, and creativity.
Strive to have a regular sleeping schedule.
Also, avoid distractions such as the blue light emitted by phones, computers, and the TV.
Keep off these for at least one hour before going to bed.
In fact, the light suppresses production of sleep-inducing hormones such as melatonin thus causing you to stay awake.
7. Treat Mental Health Problems
If at any time you feel that your memory is going down, it could be helpful to seek professional intervention.
Certain diseases are known to be associated with memory loss.
Examples of such ailments include hormonal imbalance, diabetes, cardiovascular disease or related conditions among others.
A good remedy is to seek advice from a qualified doctor.
They will examine you and find relevant treatment to reverse your situation.
Memory loss can also be triggered by certain prescriptions like sleep aids or emotional problems such as depression.
If you talk to your doctor, they will treat the main trigger of your mental problem and you will have chances of getting your memory back.
8. Keep Healthy relationships
Interacting with other people could be the only brain exercise you need to keep your mind sharp and brain healthy.
Think about it, humans are social beings who were never created to thrive in isolation.
Join a club, meet friends and family often or volunteer for some charity work where you get an opportunity to meet new friends.
Today, people have resorted to brain health supplements to boost their memory and sharpen their minds.
Unfortunately, not all these products have ingredients that can truly boost your mental cognitive functions.
Always, find information about a product beforehand, through resources like this Optimind review.
About the author
Mark Ortiz is a happily married programmer with two highly energetic children. He created ReviewingThis as a platform for reviews on household products, electronics, services, and supplements such as brain supplements.