When we think of being active, most of us will immediately think of exercising and getting out and about.
Generally, we give more time and focus to looking after our bodies. We eat well, we go to the gym, and when we don’t feel well, we take time off work to recover. However, we don’t give our minds the same attention. If we’re having mental health issues, we often hope that they’ll just get better. When we’re stressed out at work, and it’s affecting our peace of mind, we try to power through and put more pressure on ourselves.
Keeping your mind young and active isn’t an easy thing. Some people will start to struggle, no matter what they do to prevent it. Dementia Australia tells us that 11.3% of all female deaths are caused by dementia and that it is the leading cause of death for women in the country. Clearly, not all of these women could do something to stop it. But, for others, taking steps to keep your mind young could make a real difference.
Learn new things
When we’re young, we’re always learning. Our brains are like sponges, soaking up all of the knowledge and new information that surrounds us. At this point, for some, learning is easy. Many people find it much easier to learn a language as a child than they do in later life. This is because when you do it all of the time, your mind is open to knowledge. Later on, it starts to get stuck in its ways. It’s not getting challenged, and so learning becomes more difficult.
If you want to keep your mind young, you need to use it. Let it stagnate, and you might start to feel a mental decline much sooner than you might have liked. Give your mind a great workout by reading, learning new things, watching documentaries, practising puzzles and learning languages. Find as many varied ways to use your brain as possible, and it might well stay healthier for a lot longer.
Give it a rest
Like your body, your mind needs balance. Yes, it needs regular and interesting workouts. But, it also needs a break. A chance to recover and repair itself, so that it's able to work at its best. We’ve all had days where we’ve forgotten things, or struggled to concentrate because we’re tired or stressed out. This happens when you don’t give your mind the rest that it needs, and long term, it can have a more detrimental effect.
Getting plenty of sleep will help. But, it’s also a good idea to avoid stressful situations or to find better ways to manage your stress levels when stress can’t be avoided. Manage your workload, take a break when you get a chance, and make sure you have plenty of fun to help you unwind.
Do things differently
We all get used to our routines, and that’s great. Having a routine makes your life easier and less stressful. But, it can also be boring, and boredom isn’t good for your mind. So, mix things up. Challenge your brain by trying to do all those boring everyday tasks slightly differently. Try using your opposite hand to write or to eat, walk a different route to work and make other small changes to your routine that will give your mind a small challenge.
Have interesting conversations
Interesting conversations make you think. They challenge your brain, make you question your own opinions and beliefs, and they keep you thinking, long after the conversation is over.
Surround yourself with people that you find interesting, and enjoy talking to, and spend time talking about varied topics, instead of just the usual things that you discuss every day. Watch the news, attend events, and talk!